Vana’s View: The Apprentice finalist on week two – “Jessica is energetic and funny but she needs to take responsibility”

But the former candidate remembers the ad task from last year: "the time pressure is REALLY tough. Two days is NOT enough"

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I loved the product creation task last year when I was on the show, so I was super excited about this episode! We were making shampoo which was not as fun. Jeans made from Japanese denim sound awesome. So fun and SO cool. 

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The teams have two days to create brands, shoot ads and a screen that public can interact with. It may look easy, but they have so many things to get done that the time pressure is REALLY tough. Two days is NOT enough. Now for the other hard part: ad executives will be reporting back to Lord Sugar. That means that the pressure is on to nail the pitch.

Right from the start Big K was back with his ridiculous comments. My favorite one was, “I don’t want to be like everybody else, everybody else wants to be like me.” Um… Are you sure about that, Big K?

On the girl’s side, the feistiness started pretty early on. There was a bit of an argument about who was taking the Project Manager role. Rebecca vs. Jessica. Jessica wins. She seemed pretty confused but totally should have stood up for herself! Lord Sugar likes people who are assertive.

Now, for the brand names. Leading the men’s team is “Marketing man Mukai”. First off – love your bowtie. Second thing – Day after yesterday. Love this. D.A.Y. SO catchy. The girls’ team, on the other hand, not so sure about your name. “Unclaimed” is weird. Don’t fully get it. I want to get it. But I just don’t.

I think that this week, the girls did a better job with the pitch, but the boys did a better job with the product. In terms of management, Jessica was flustered from the start of the task. The first issue arose when Jessica’s team left the jeans behind. Instead of holding the team together and behaving like a leader, she broke down into tears. Trishna to the rescue! She and Aleksandra tried their best to get things pulled together. I have a really good feeling about Trishna. She’s on it.

Something I noticed – which really stood out to me as a former candidate – is that only 10 minutes into this episode, Jessica is already claiming she’s worried about Rebecca being sub team leader because she doesn’t have a strong enough character. I always hated when people tried to plant their blame early on. It’s a cheap way to get out of the boardroom and it’s not legit. We should all see right through it!

In my opinion, Rebecca is great. I love her tagline “claim your fit.” I really like her initiative. She understands the strap line and what it needs to be. Natalie is confused about what a strap line is. So funny. Yet, also a bit scary! Aren’t we here for a business competition?! I could see her impending doom from that moment… Natalie was definitely in hot water…

On the male team, I still think Paul is really good. I stand by his assertiveness and level headed demeanor. He thinks of the ad campaign and always seems to be on point. Dillon, the art director – I also like him. He says, “Vibrant yellow is unisex.” So true. Love the logo and think he has a clear vision for the brand. Dillon also holds it down very politely and asks Big K to stop interrupting him. I like that he stands his ground!

When I saw the bus adverts, I actually preferred the D.A.Y. creative! In terms of the advertisement for TV, “Shake it off” is a great Taylor Swift song but WHY was that the choice for the girls’ advert?! Horrible!

The good thing about this type of task is that the pitch can save you. The pitch on the girl’s side was great. Pitch on the guy’s side, however, was a TOTAL disaster. Everyone was lost. Mukai was having a bit of an issue because he was nervous. I really sympathise but he should have prepped more and memorised his speech. JD had a tough time too. One of my favorite moments in the episode is after the pitch, Courtney says “Everyone is unbelievable!” Did he mean “unbelievably horrible!?” 

So, I always like to think about Project Managers and how I see them faring in the long term of the competition. For the girls team, I think Jessica has to change her attitude if she wants to make it to the end… She blames people too much and Lord Sugar hates that. At one point she says, “People keep chipping in at me and clouding my vision.” This is not the right approach! Just get on with it, girl. You are energetic and funny but you need to pull it together and take responsibility for things. In the cafe, Jessica tells Rebecca to “Shut up”. Not the best tactic for a business situation. (Again, Trishna reigns it in and tells everyone to stop acting like “School girls.” I’m on your team, Trishna. Spot on.) Mukai, on the guys’ team, didn’t do such a great job today and I’m not sure how far he can make it in this process. 

Now, last but not least, for the best part – the boardroom! Karthik throws Dillon under the bus but Lord Sugar puts him in place! If you’re not an expert, it’s better to just shut up, he says. So true. I don’t think Dillon should be fired. Even though he messed up with the time keeping. And Big K, he’s grown on me by the end of the episode. I have had a change of heart. I don’t think he should go.

I’m also a fan of JD. When they failed at the bus advert, JD tried to stay positive. He is a good team player. When they’re all arguing in the boardroom and throwing the Project Manager under the bus, JD keeps it diplomatic, by saying “it’s a team issue.” That’s the attitude of a true leader.

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According to Lord Sugar, both campaigns were “useless.” “Never mind mad men, more like demented dimwits!” BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT. Can’t wait for next week.