The champagne is burned.
This recap is 50% potato.
This week the candidates were meeting Lord Sugar at the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – and while Marnie and Dani got all giggly about potentially meeting cute puppies
Simba was applying his cologne all on his own
You have to smell nice for the retired search and rescue dogs.
Their challenge this week was to create a new brand of dog food complete with packaging, a poster and a “signature dish” – this did obviously mean an abundance of very cute dogs
but to balance the scales, it also came with far too much footage of women eating dog food
it just feels a little bit like really niche Only Fans content.
Victoria and Marnie found themselves competing for the role of Project Manager – Victoria vying for it on the grounds she was the perfect Venn Diagram for the task as she owns a dog and runs a food company. Marnie however had been doing mental gymnastics and already had a fully formed brand idea ready to go
Rochelle however put her backing behind Victoria – not that this ended up mattering that much as Marnie psyop’d her “idea “dog-led brand” on Victoria anyway – with the two of them taking on the branding and sending Rochelle to make dog food because she tends to cook the meals for the candidates
I would find it hard not to take “So you cook our food, you’d be perfect at making dog food!” personally but Rochelle was happy to try and create her very own dog-friendly Lamb Tagine but because she mixed up the words “minimum” and “maximum” when the canine nutritionist explained the minimum amount of protein a dog needs is 20g, she created more of a Not-so-Lamb Tagine
but don’t worry, she had delicately seasoned it with sage and rosehips
and because your dog could potentially, maybe, very unlikely find a chunk of lamb in its food, it wasn’t really matching up with Victoria and Marnie’s attempts at creating a Gourmet Product. Although I’m not sure Marnie and Victoria dressing up a ClipArt Basset Hound as Keith Floyd was quite matching their gourmet brand
this branding is so funny to me because the “Chef” does not in fact refer to the dog’s occupation, it is just a case of nominative determinism
so he’s Mr. Chef Barking on his bank cards.
Then of course there was the poster starring a beagle that has the same energy as Olenna Tyrell telling Jamie Lannister to tell Cersei it was she who poisoned Joffrey – I think it’s all down to the nice glass of red in the foreground
and if you’re thinking “That doesn’t look like a chef’s toque?” – you’re right, because it’s just a napkin that Marnie precariously perched on the dog’s head
the entire dog-centric branding approach did cause a bit of trouble for them when it came to pitching to The Fates of Waitrose
mostly because they’d gone for the tagline “Made by dogs, approved by You” (there’s never been more of a self-own on this show) and while it would be fine to make a humorous advert showing Mr. Barking making the food, a tagline does tend to have to be a statement of fact or intent
that “supposedly” cuts real deep, but the tagline had also confused their consumer feedback group
I am still mildly convinced that that woman is actually holding a cat, so she might just be confused as to why she’s there anyway. But Marnie was taking nothing from the Waitrose pitch on board, declaring that they had been nit picking so-and-sos, and opted to just invoke divine intervention in the chew toy aisle of Pets At Home instead
it didn’t not work.
Put Your Paws Up
Megan had no challenges in becoming Project Manager, all it took was to drop that she owns a pomeranian husky – a breed of dog that sounds like a logistical impossibility to me. She was keen to champion insects as a key ingredient in their dog food and given that she had very specific guidelines about the brand not being all about the insects, the health benefits or the sustainability factor, she probably should have been on the branding team, yet she decided it was best for her to go off on her own to make the dog food and it definitely had nothing to do with trying to cover her arse
because how hard could it be to mess up making dog food?
it remained a complete mystery to Megan as to why her dog food look like some sort of farmyard slurry despite the fact she’d only put in 18g of mealworms and then bulked out the rest with nutritionally defunct gravy and potatoes
so while Megan created completely unseasoned Chips and Gravy for the Wiltshire Farm Foods easy to eat menu for retired greyhounds, Dani and Simba were under the impression they were creating a protein bar for underground dog fighters
it was a rare misstep for Dani in a design challenge because with the lack of a brief she was just grabbing at anything and everything that caught her attention like me trying to make breakfast after forgetting my meds for a couple of days, so the packaging was very dull and a little bit of an iconographic nightmare
and it was a bit unfortunate that their entire brand name “Pro-Paw” hinged entirely on the dog food being packed with protein, meanwhile Megan was on a one woman mission to give every dog in Britain kwashiorkor.
Simba had floated the idea of Kofi’s Kitchen as a brand name, but Dani had reservations about the realism of a dog owning a kitchen
EXCUSE ME, Mr. Chef Barking would like a word with you
could you imagine if both of the teams showed up to the Waitrose pitch with brands based entirely around a dog making the food, and the long lost Able Sister relentlessly dinging them about it like CinemaSins spotting flaws in the reality of Ratatouille?
instead she got very hung up on the identity of the cartoon worm that Dani had put on the packaging during her snatch-and-grab approach to design
ok, calm down Miss Entomologist 2023, but there are also a few semiotic issues with featuring an image of a worm on a product for dogs – so I can also understand why Megan decided to blitz the dog food to high heaven
I also dread to think what impact feeding your dog a diet of Mash and Gravy paté for a week would do to their digestive system.
I will say, as much as the entire product was a disaster, I did quite like the idea behind the poster and the fact they whisked a bichon frise off to the nearest PureGym in a less convincing show of physical prowess than me swinging my 12kg kettlebell around every morning (I barely lift, bro)
there’s a good poster in there somewhere, it just wasn’t ever fully realised because Dani wasn’t very collaborative so nothing ever got concisified making for a very busy, almost illegible poster (they did fix the “ien” typo in “Rich ien protein” before the pitch
I know they only have like 45 minutes to make these in, but I am sure you could making something that looks mildly less like something a year 8 makes during their first time opening Microsoft Illustrator – the light green on orange is peak high school graphic design aesthetics.
It wasn’t a great final task by any means with Chef Barking being the only team to make any sales, as Waitrose took pity on them and bought 1000 units, meaning they got to go and slug back wine in the hopes of washing away the lingering taste of dog-friendly gravy
this obviously leaving Megan, Dani and Simba in the boardroom desperately trying to lay the most blame on someone else. I do think Megan was responsible for the fundamental failure of the task given the confusing messaging about not capitalising on their USP and then making a dog food that didn’t meet the daily nutritional requirements of the average chihuahua. But it was pretty obviously going to be a Dani or Simba firing from the moment they came into the boardroom still bickering about the whole packaging design process before they’d even found out the results – but I did enjoy this look between Victoria and Rochelle whilst Dani and Simba were going at one another’s throats
I like it when you can spot the exact moment a team realises they’ve won.
By Week 10, they’re also heavily considering track record – all three of them have actually had really solid runs, this being the first time Megan has been in the boardroom while Dani and Simba both boast challenge wins and very few calamitous moments. But between Dani and Simba, apparently Simba’s crimes for letting Dani bulldoze him during the branding phase was the bigger sin and he was fired
it’s honestly probably better to peace out now, you’ve built up 10 week of online Grind Life Instagram clout and now you don’t have to have Linda Plant unearthing that embarrassing thing you did in high school that still keeps you up night because she found your old LiveJournal account that you don’t know how to delete.
And so, we’re Gaslighting. Gatekeeping. Girlbossing our way to the interview round:
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