The Apprentice 2023, Episode 5: Sadly-not-cowboy-boots

I love randomised Sims.

I hope you know what an onomatopoeia is.

Winning the Phone Wars this week was Simba who was far too lively for 4am

the candidates were to meet Lord Sugar at the Imperial College London which Victoria had a unique impression of and I can only imagine she was awoken in the middle of a recurring nightmare in which she is Tess Daly

as much as I think ballroom dancing should be the unofficial 5th science, they were obviously not having to put on an interpretive dance showcase or flog sequins in Covent Garden Market and this week they would be creating an advertising package for a new electric bike as a nod to the efforts of scientists against climate change

is anyone else a little bit surprised to find out that Alan Sugar isn’t a climate change denier? Because we’ve all seen his Twitter account.

Auf Wiedersehen, Petrol

As always, the first task was to elect a Project Manager with Sohail and Mark coming forward because Sohail owns an electric car and Mark’s business uses electric cars – the former getting one vote from Megan and the latter getting completely merked by everyone

the winner of the vote being Marnie, with backing from Reece and Victoria because she had a vision.

Marnie immediately decided that the target demographic shouldn’t be new riders and they should instead try to convert the pre-existing “petrolhead market” (great band name) by playing into the sex appeal of motorbikes and only falling narrowly short of putting the motorbike in a wig and red lipstick like Bugs Bunny trying to seduce Elmer Fudd

as ever the team was split in two – Marnie helming the Branding Team which included Mark and Sohail – leaving Megan and Victoria to work as runners while Reece got to live out his Spielberg fantasy.

First up for the branding team was the name and logo – immediately deciding on the word “Soldier” and surprising everyone by spelling it correctly

they also went with the tagline “Ride Dirty. Drive Clean” which on paper is quite good, but apparently saying a motorcyclist “drives a motorbike” is like telling a film production student they’re doing media studies and thus offending the CEO of the ENTIRE motorcycle industry?

Was there a vote? Is the Motorcycle Industry a monarchy? I have more questions for Tony Campbell than he had about the Soldier Bike.

The logo for Soldier: The Dirtiest Little Bike You’ll Never Hear Cumming Coming ended up looking a little uninspired

am I wrong for thinking Marnie’s initial idea with the one wheel-esque shape at the back was actually kind of good?

But Mark and Sohail weren’t quite so convinced and thus began the worst and most tedious game of Pictionary you’ll ever see outside of Christmas evening

and while they went about creating the logo, Megan and Reece were over on the advert team writing a 15 chapter romance novel which might have just been Wild West Romeo and Juliet

Yeehaw! What laahyt through yonder window breaks?

Victoria was keen to reign Megan and Reece’s plans for romance on the tarmac in before we ended up with the sort of E.L. James nightmare on our hands

and because they needed two actors for their tale of Lust and Rust and couldn’t afford two actors, Megan had to play the role of Obvious Self-insert which mostly involved her stalking around the man and his motorbike like a lioness eyeing up the limpest antelope

and then because she couldn’t legally ride the motorbike, the whole advert just ends with Megan precariously perched on it wearing her sadly-not-cowboy-boots

the whole “Soldier” branding is completely lost on what the industry professionals rightly pointed out looked like an advert for a dating agency. You’re trying to talk to the sort of men that love tactical gear that has “FOR MEN!” written on in the in that one very specific font in shades of gunmetal grey. BUT, at least someone actually rode the bike…

The TV advert wasn’t the only piece of advertising material, as The Branding Team had to make a Digital Billboard of their own, once again really wanting to hammer home the sex appeal angle by having Mark dress up like a Top Gun strippergram

and Marnie whipping her French braid around like a deadly weapon

by this point Mark had been granted his Tom Cruise fantasy and was relegated to wind machine technician

I’m obsessed with the fact this looks like a Terry Richardson photograph.

the biggest debate about the online billboard was where to place the font – Marnie wanted it to just be on the final slide, which I think would have been a mistake, so they opted to have it at the top

the problem being that Sugar thought it looked like an army recruitment advert, which isn’t true because there’s not nearly enough emotional manipulation going on.
The problem that arose from their market research was that everyone seemed to think it was for something to help you clean your motorbike and nothing about it really got across the fact it was an electric, greener alternative. I’m not really sure how they were meant to do that short of having a pair of them dress up as Greta Thunberg and a Polar Bear and riding into the sunset on the back of it.

And with all their branding material made, they were finally ready to pitch to The King of Every Motorcycle and his cronies – Marnie choosing to do so in an outfit that was as close as she could get to biker leathers but did very much look like a last minute End of Grease Sandy costume

it’s a pretty cute look, especially when you consider one of them could have come in waddling with an inflatable motorcycle clenched between their thighs

Avi’s crotch monkey still haunts my dreams.

Their pitch wasn’t diabolically awful and if anything I loved Victoria’s visceral reaction to Marnie saying the word “masculinity”

Same, babe.
The issue was mostly the branding and how a lot of it wasn’t particularly cohesive, congruent or sexy

cowboy boots however…

I do think effective “sexy” marketing is quite hard and an absolute minefield and considering that I think they did better than I would have thought anyone on The Apprentice could within those parameters – it wasn’t a saxophone solo with someone caressing the body of a motorbike in a dark room, so maybe we chalk this up as something of a success.

Keep Your Mouth Zipped

Apparently nobody in this team owned an electric car and Avi has never been within 50 meters of one so couldn’t put himself forward this time so Bradley, a self-confessed petrolhead was leading the way. Kind of. His big idea was to play on the fact the design of the bike was visibly reminiscent of a “café racer”

so he wanted to call it a “Caf-E Racer” – which was actually a good idea, his mistake was not putting himself on the Branding Team, instead putting Simba, Joseph and Avi under the supervision of Shazia who was wielding her media studies degree like Marnie wielding a French braid

and the moment she was out of earshot of Bradley decided to launch a mutiny guided only by Avi just making noises

so they settled on calling it Zip Zap and proceeded to brand Zip Zap despite Bradley going so far as to draw up a plan for their logo on a napkin like an author who just had a big idea for their latest novel

Little boy lives in a cupboard. The snake is a Korean lady.

While team Soulja Bike ended up with a sterilized logo because they kept nixing ideas, Shazia’s approach to logo design was to apparently never think an idea was bad and simply incorporate everything that came into her head when she thought of an electric motorbike resulting in a logo that looked like a bootleg version of Motocross Maniacs for the Gameboy Advance that you could only find in a Malaysian flea market in 2003

and as Shazia threw more and more iconographic spaghetti at the wall to see what stuck, Simba just lost his mind

and Joseph had a bad case of The Sads and was contemplating pulling a Shannon

other than the fact the logo looks like it was designed by an 8 year old writing curse words in Wingdings – the stylised Ps were causing quite a few problems, leading people to believe the product was called Zif Zaf or Zi Za – all could have been excellent names for a cartoon giraffe.
Needless to say, Bradley was not best pleased when he found out that Shazia had apparently killed his darling in order to avenge Yogita the Giraffe whose name he openly laughed at and I think that’s fair (the avenging that is, not the casual racism of laughing at a non-British name) but my God did his face crack make me HOWL when he finally saw the logo

but wait Bradley, THERE’S MORE! For you see, the aim was to market these bikes to the Gen Z crowd and their Save The Turtle scrunchies and Y2K revivalism (ok grandma, time for bed.) It’s a fair market and for some reason they weren’t going with the eco-friendliness of the electric vehicle despite that being a pretty big concern for younger generations. But no, they really wanted to do Sexy, Sexy Motorbikes as well. And this

I cannot parse the digital billboard – I’m not sure anyone can, it was meant to be Joseph’s baby and then Shazia became possessed by the ghost of a high school drama teacher and took over the show

my favourite thing about the adverts on The Apprentice is how often the men just won’t take off their suits.

but back to the Sexy, Sexy Motorbikes where Bradley’s vision was to stage a bit of a meet cute at a motorbike café which is a very funny turn of phrase. Let’s take a look at the female lead in this tale of romance

Bronwyn! Young, pretty and completely unable to ride a motorbike, thus ruining Rochelle’s plan to have her reveal herself as a woman that rides a motorbike like she was Éowyn on the Battle of the Pelennor Fields

but with a few very quick rewrites, the meet cute was saved! But in order for a meet cute to happen, there has to be someone for Bronwyn to meet…

OH NO. Not to age gap discourse but…. this looks illegal

the thing with Bradley being in the advert is that he couldn’t ride the bike either, so he just had to sort of sadly wheel it in to the Rainforest Café for Bike Enthusiasts which looked like a mechanic’s workshop so really it just looked like his bike was, like spirit, a bit broken

luckily most of Bradley’s dialogue got axed because despite his joy at seeing his starring role

Dani had a very different impression

and promptly Roger Ebert’d him into oblivion

the whole thing being replaced by a voiceover done by Dani herself making Bradley the first man in history to be mutinied twice. [citation needed.] My favourite part of the entire advert though was Bronwyn having to comment on how quiet the completely stationary and not turned on bike was

This team was well and truly flopping in the trenches.

So with their advertising packages cobbled together out of whatever they could find behind the sofa, it was time to take the pitch to the industry professionals where Avi was conducting a year 6 english class

this entire pitch is an all time hall of famer, not least of all because of Shazia and Rochelle cringing while Simba by this point was astral projecting himself back to Antigua

after he’d eventually coaxed one of the people they were pitching to into answering they could get on with the Q+A portion where Will Stirrup (a joke name, surely?) wanted them to know that the name Zip Zap was tacky and he hated it

wait until you see the other names… (the ultimate shade being that Caf-E Racer wasn’t even written down)

Pangea Pursuit for Drag Race season 16!

Avi’s reasoning behind the Zip Zap was that “it gets stuck in your head, whether you like it or not” – so it’s a bit like a tomahawk or the chorus of Rihanna’s umbrella. Bradley however, still simmering over Shazia’s betrayal, then began to explain the now deceased Caf-E Racer idea to the board while the entire team fractured into civil war

the funniest part being that the people pitching could see their teammates losing their minds over how bad this was

I love that last year the trend was to just promise anyone you pitched to that they could change as much as they wanted about the product, just please for the love of God buy 1000 units! And this year it’s just making up a different product entirely in the middle of a pitch.
At least Dani was aware of how it went

I’m hanging her portrait in the Hun Hall of Fame, she’s earned it.

The Boardroom Blitz

There was no selling in this task so once again the industry professionals got to decide who won and given that Soldier felt like at least somewhat of a salvageable idea – Marnie and team won

and Bradley wasted no time in bringing Shazia and Avi back into The Boardroom with him.

There wasn’t that much suspense as to how this was going to end up going with Shazia looking like she wanted the floor to eat up before they’d even announced who won

her main defence was Bradley bringing up Caf-E Racer in the pitch and then as for why she didn’t go with the Caf-E Racer idea, claimed Bradley hadn’t explained Cafe Racers enough to her as though that was a harder to grasp concept than “Pangea Pursuit”. Ultimately, for her crimes against branding, Shazia was fired

some say she’s still jet lagged from Antigua.

And so, 12 candidates remain…

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