From the return of fan favourite Kurran to some cringe-worthy tube adverts and Lord Sugar declaring Sian Gabbidon his new business partner, The Apprentice 2018 final was everything we wanted and more.
But did you notice something very odd about the final task the candidates were set?
At the start of the episode, Lord Sugar instructed both Sian and fellow finalist Camilla Ainsworth to launch their new businesses – the ones based on the plans we saw in the interview stage – with a major pitch to industry experts at the London Assembly.
Yet, although both finalists’ business plans were based on expanding their current companies, each had to create an entirely new brand.
Instead of Camilla presenting her company MYLKPLUS to viewers, we saw her pitch MLK IT. Similarly, Sian presented swim brand SYO instead of her established business Sian Marie Fashion.
Why did candidates waste time creating a new business from scratch instead of relying on their tried and tested branding? The simple answer, at least according to Camilla, is that they weren’t allowed to.
“It was really bizarre,” Camilla told RadioTimes.com. “I was like, ‘I feel a bit disconnected because even though it’s my business, it’s not my business,’ if that makes sense. It’s obviously different branding and we couldn’t have had any of the same names – nothing!
She added: “I think that was a challenge that Lord Sugar wanted us to do, to see how well we would cope with having to rebrand. I think that was done on purpose to really test us.”
Camilla also claimed that she wasn’t even allowed to use pink – the main colour of her MYLKPLUS brand – on her packaging for the task, instead having to make do with the orange from the limited pallet she was allowed.
“You’re presented with choices and you have to choose certain things,” she said. “You don’t have free rein on the colours [in the final]. Obviously, I wanted pink and that wasn’t an option, so I was quite restricted. The restrictions are challenging but sent to test you. So when people are watching and saying, ‘Why have they done that?’ it’s sometimes because it’s out of our hands.”
“I pushed for [pink] so hard because I think it’s quite important to have a colour that really stands out that nobody’s doing,” Camilla explained. “It’s so difficult because I knew how good how my existing brand was in causing a stir and in getting people to talk about it.”
Camilla added: “It is a bit frustrating because people are going to be commenting on the branding and stuff like that and it’s difficult. I just want to scream at the top of a building, ‘This isn’t my brand! This is my brand!’.
“I just hope when people are watching it that they take a step back and say ‘oh, it’s a just a challenge’. I hope they see the big picture.”
A spokesperson for The Apprentice told RadioTimes.com: “During the final, the candidates are asked to present their business plan and come up with a hypothetical brand name to show their skills in branding. The intention is not necessarily to trade with this name. The final decision of the branding of the new business will be made by the candidate and Lord Sugar, and at this point all necessary trademark checks will be made.”