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Over the next few weeks and whilst The Apprentice is being shown on the BBC, we will be running a second blog, concentrating on the programme and the candidates... *** Spoiler Alert*** - the following blog will reveal the results of this week's episode. 

19th June 2013 
Fast-moving? That makes ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ look like an Action Movie.” Lord Sugar, Episode 8 
 
There was carnage in the Boardroom this week; daggers were being drawn from all directions; none more scarily so than the knife that Karren has poised in Luisa’s direction right now! Yes, that’s right, having been given an almost murderous look from her during week 6 of the series, Luisa found herself on the wrong side of Karren again this week and this prompted Karren to specifically request that she be the person to follow Luisa next week… Something, I don’t ever recall seeing before… 
 
And that wasn’t the only first this week. ‘Riding on the crest of a wave’ from his success last week, Jason boldly stepped forward as the Project Manager for Evolve this week; admitting that he had been ‘Mr Cupid’ in Oxford and had been responsible for running an on-line dating service… This once again proved to be a fatal admission in the life of an Apprentice Candidate… After only one day in the role, he was ‘ousted’ by Luisa, prompting Nick to comment that ‘this was the most disgraceful display of bad manners I have ever witnessed’. Jason as ever, was quite the gentleman in the circumstances and stepped aside gracefully; refusing to bow to pressure to ‘grass’ Luisa out to Lord Sugar and admit that she had in fact ‘bullied’ him out of the role… 
 
Whilst Jason was probably never likely to have won the main prize, he didn’t quite deserve to go out in the manner that befell him this week; that particular honour should have been reserved for Luisa!!! 
Jason; from 'hero' to 'zero' in just seven days... 
At times, there is a very fine line drawn between being an 'assertive and confident business-person'; who knows what they want and will go and get it and being an 'out-an-out bully’. Luisa’s behaviour on this occasion very definitely crossed that line; I foresee many public appearances in that girls’ future… Sadly they are more likely to be at an Employment Tribunal than on television! We can but hope that she falls on the losing side next week when Karren is observing her; as I suspect that any repeat of this week’s performance will see her getting her ‘just-desserts’ and rightly so! 
 
So what of the task itself? That was pretty much carnage too… Whilst both teams grasped the concept of ‘online dating services’; neither team actually understood their target market nor developed a product that met the needs of that market. For team Evolve, their market was the over 50’s and team Endeavour went with ‘young professionals’, specifically defined as 25 – 30 year olds. 
 
Much to the bemusement of Karren, Jordan outlined his vision to the team as being a dating site that was attractive to ‘young, professional, busy females who don’t want to go into bars and wait for someone to come and talk to them, but wanted to be in control…’. They then decided to use the name ‘Cufflinks’ and in their logo, replaced the ‘I’ with an image of a ‘tie’ – a very gender-specific brand, which would quite clearly appeal to more men than women. Leah herself commented that it sounded 'more like a gentlemen’s clothing shop than a dating site' and I would tend to agree. 
 
Team Evolve didn’t fare any better with appealing to their target demographic; who according to their approach and advertising appear to have been defined by the team as ‘coffin-dodgers’! For market research, they seemed to use a ‘safe’ group of individuals, perhaps at the higher end of the age spectrum (60/65 +?) and who dismissed the initial idea given by Jason of ‘fun and vibrant’ and replaced this with ‘Friendship & Flowers’, which then became their brand… 
 
The team’s attitude to this particular demographic was at best ‘childish’ and reminded me of a child’s perception of ‘age’; you know, if 'you are in your twenties, you must be really, really OLD'!! As I type this now, one of my colleagues, who is in his early fifties is heading out to climb Kilimanjaro on a charity trek – does this sound like someone who would be interested in a dating site called ‘Friendship & Flowers’!!!! 
 
Whilst I appreciate that they are not given access to the internet during these tasks, you would expect as budding entrepreneurs, they would have a reasonable handle on ‘the bigger picture’ and what is happening in the world or even just in this country. Even ‘pop culture’ provides us with some clues; groups from the 80’s and 90’s reforming and playing to packed crowds; not of new fans, but of those same fans from the first time around and who are now in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. You don’t have to be a statistician to understand what is going on with demographics; the information is readily available through all forms of the media: newspapers, television, internet etc; so it should be reasonable to expect that the candidates in a process such as this would come into it with some knowledge and understanding. 
 
But no; perhaps that would be too much to expect from this particular group of individuals!!!! 
 
With all the shenanigans going on in Team Evolve, much of the attention was focused on them this week, leaving Team Endeavour to their own devices. Alex was identified as a ‘date from hell’ for the purposes of their video and fitted remarkably well into this role… Their video was directed in a tongue-in-cheek style, using humour to get their point across and they achieved this, but were not consistent across their branding. So although they managed to win the task, it was more of a Pyrrhic victory and in Lord Sugar’s own words; was down to him giving them the ‘benefit of the doubt’. Lets’ hope they take these sombre words and use them to improve their performance in the next task... 
Alex dressed as a 'date from hell' this week, but somehow ended up looking like a really bad clown!!! What is it about him and 'dressing up'??? 
Francesca, who this week appeared to morph further into the form of a ‘favourite’ (...not!) former Apprentice Candidate, seemed completely oblivious to the audience reaction to their advert. An advert which she proudly boasted was all down to her and which was filmed with the intention of conveying a serious message; yet drew more laughter from the audience than that which had been achieved by the other team, who had used ‘comedy’ as their theme!! Presumably, the laughter was based on embarrassment at the ‘cheesiness’ of the advert and that ‘wink’ – just what was she thinking?? 
 
Against this backdrop, Francesca was ‘fuming’ at having been identified by Jason as the person who should return to the Boardroom. However, she had taken the lead on her sub-team and was therefore responsible for both the dreadful advert and the extremely poor market research, which had taken them along the wrong path in the first place; so to my mind, she was exactly the right person to be back in the Boardroom on this occasion.  
 
Luisa on the other hand, felt that it was Neil who should have been in there. I suspect that this is more tactical on her part than anything else; Neil is a reasonably strong (albeit annoying) candidate who has yet to appear back in the Boardroom and who I suspect she views more as competition for her than Francesca. However, I would imagine that following their performance in the Boardroom this week, neither Luisa nor Francesca will be in the process for very much longer! 
 
That said, Jason was the candidate to be fired this week and for the first time this series (I believe), Lord Sugar used the term ‘regrettably’ as he fired him!! I suspect that Lord Sugar really wanted to fire one of the two girls, but in truth it was probably right for Jason to leave the process at this time. Whilst he grasped the importance of getting the image and branding right, this was at the expense of adhering to extremely tight deadlines and having arrived at the Web-developer’s office 2-hours late, they were left with only 1.5 hours to produce a website, which was never going to happen! This then left them unable to pitch a finished product; one of the key requirements of the task.  
 
Still Jason can at least take some comfort from Marian Keyes, who described him as “the human equivalent to a scented candle, you may not be entirely useful, but you make everything feel lovely!” Aww bless! 
The number of boys fired is slowly catching up with the girls, but who will be next...??? 
Next week the teams venture into the world of ready meals... With their demonstrable lack of understanding of the market, it will be interesting to see what they come up with for this task; a meal laden with fat, salt and sugar for kids no doubt!!!! 
 
And finally, the ironic moment of the week came with Luisa and Jason conducting a full-scale row, oblivious to being in a working office and disturbing the peace in the offices of ‘Karmarama’!!! I suspect it took them weeks to restore their peaceful ch’i... 
There wasn't much 'love and peace' between Jason and Luisa this week; I wonder if the management at Karmarama will be quite so keen to participate in the next series of The Apprentice??? 
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