I don't normally watch The Apprentice. Spending my free time watching the kind of twattish people that I normally avoid like the plague does not appeal, somehow. But I saw it last night. And as luck would have it, it was the advertising episode. That's the one where the hopefuls are split into two teams, and then have to come up with a brand name, package design and a thirty second TV commercial, this time for a kids' breakfast cereal. There was something quite enjoyably weird about watching it all unfold, like watching a train crash on one of those new one thousand frames-per-second cameras.
The team leader of one of teams was Kimberly Davis, a Marketing Consultant from New York. Now, individually the terms marketing and consultant are two of my most feared on a business card, but together they create an almost perfect storm of bullshittiness. So you might imagine that her team would stroll away with this task as she brought her grand marketing experience to the table? Incorrect.
What in fact happenned was the whole business of marketing, branding and advertising in microcosm.
The second team, with some smart people, started with the product and worked out a pretty good idea based on how it looked and the ingredients. OK, it was no piece of advertising genius, but it held together well, and made sense. And was based on the product.
However, the team led by the marketing consultant managed to create a daft idea that had absolutely fuck all to do with the product. It was quite lidderally pants (if you watched it, you'll know what I mean). It was as if the instant the task began, they forgot the product existed.
And there it was right there in front of you on the telly. This advertising and selling business is not hard, it's not complicated. It's not a science. It takes common sense, smarts and a dash of inspiration. But it's been made overcomplicated and oblique by people with silly job titles.
People who think they've learned how to do it on some course with an equally silly title.
It was a very public, and quite enjoyable, Marketing Fail.
See Kimberley get fired here.