Apprentice 10: TV sells

Today’s task is choosing and presenting products on live TV. It’s the task which has the most potential for hilarity, 2007’s winner Simon Ambrose famously embarrassed himself while setting up ‘the bouncer‘. It’s also the task that has the least to do with business – sales are highly dependent on the presenter’s skills so it’s a task typically handled by specialist companies. But the candidates jump right in.

There are just two key success factors; choose products with wide appeal, present them in a sincere but entertaining way.

Ignite consists of Howard leading Kate and Lorraine; Empire is led by Yasmina with Debra and James. It was tough to pick a winner ahead of time, Debra and Yasmina are in conflict, and if James presents he’s likely to come out with a Jamesism that is offensive. Howard doesn’t overflow with leadership skills but Kate will support him – but Lorraine is also likely to shoot her mouth of on live tv. TV sales channels monitor the direct sales and can correlate changes in sales rates to the word.

Ignite chose

  • fugly jacket (but it’d sell on daytime TV)
  • a low fat chip pan (good pick)
  • a craft toy sequin cat thing (horrendous)
  • an airguitar (I want one)

Empire chose

  • a garden tool leaf pick up thing (not a bad choice)
  • polo poncho scarf warm up thing (hideous)
  • a remote control toy car (cool)
  • a hairgrip thing (fugly)

Picture 5The results were pretty close, but it was clear that Empire had presented better, and when the sales figures came through that showed in the sales. Sir Alan complimented Debra on her presentation skills, apparently the studio said she was close to the same level as a professional in terms of sales. With a total sales of £940 she’s well in the lead on this.

Empire won despite having a worse set of products, they’d chosen low cost, low risk problems, but luckily sold volume.

Picture 6Ignite’s chip pan and jacket should have got more sales on the shopping channel, apparently they’re the top selling items for the tv channel (who knew?). The air guitar only got about 10% of sales expected by the production company, it was an OK choice – could be a fun impulse buy. The last choice was a craft thing, where you stick sequins on a polystyrene cat or dog, it might appeal to a niche market of bored 9-year-olds.

The winning team got to fly with acrobatic flying team, serious fun! The losing team was back into the board room.

Sir Alan was not impressed with any of the team, but it looked like Nick saved Lorraine’s bacon by pointing out that she goes by instinct and her instinct is often right. Sir Alan tried to fake out the viewers by pointing the finger at Kate – but she’s got “final” written all over her. Eventually he decided Howard was just too ordinary and said “you’re fired”

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