Marketing Fail On The Apprentice

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.


  1. It was very funny - a classic case of all talk and no action!

  2. In the spirit of balance I would like to put forward my argument for why I thought Wake Up Call (featuring Pants Man) was better that treasure bollocks.
    You see that's the first problem, I don't remember the name of the product or the stupid parrot. It was lame, like, er, almost every other cereal character that already exists.

    Their insight, that the cereal look like treasure, is weak. Which kid is going to be fooled by that? They'd open the box and be more disappointed than Tiny Tim discovering someone nicked his walking stick.

    Their pants idea worked with the name of their brand, wake up call. This cereal wakes you up and gets you focused so you don't put your pants on outside. Now, it was a mistake to make him a superhero (he should've been just a dumb guy) but still, I remember the ad, I remember the brand.

    Yeah sure Alan Sugar doesn't like it but he's a boring conservative client. His views on advertising are pretty well known.

    Whatever like, everyone's got an opinion.

  3. Fuck balance.
    No seriously, they were both a bit shit weren't they?
    But then that's not the point, I'm not expecting them to be fantastic.
    The point is that a so-called marketing consultant managed to fuck it up so badly. There's a lot of people knocking around saying they are experts on marketing, who wouldn't know how to sell water to a man on fire.


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