Lessons from last night’s Apprentice

Last night, the teams were tasked with producing a ‘freemium’ (free premium) magazine, and selling advertising in it.

Top tip from the experts at Shortlist Media at the beginning of the show: “Understand your readers and their needs.”

So, did they?

The focus group for the lads’ mag team asked them to raise the tone. They called it ‘Covered’ but included articles such as ‘How to blow your load’. They won, even though one advertising agency said it would alienate 80% of their client base.

The other team called their mag for over-60s, ‘Hip Replacement’, a name that’s sooooo bad, I can’t even find the words to explain why!

And how deliciously they squabbled in the boardroom!

Susan was the only team-member who spoke up against the name. She does seem to talk a lot of sense, but the others overrule her because she’s young. Jim called her a ‘mouse’, claimed her feedback was a ‘whisper in the night’, and said they were ‘all trying to shoot Bambi’.

Oh Jim. At one point, I thought you’d be the winner, but your Machiavellian tendencies are working against you. And I couldn’t believe your inflexibility about negotiating on the first rate card. I thought everybody knew you negotiate on the rate card! (Susan did.)

Although Jim tries to get agreement from everybody to deflect negative attention from himself, Lord Sugar called him a ‘control freak’ and Karren said he’s ‘passive aggressive’. Lord Sugar also said: “What I’ve forgotten about bullshit you ain’t even learnt yet.” It was the best line in the show.

Like Edna last week, who over-stressed her qualifications, Glen “I’m social secretary at a football club” was fired. Maybe because Jim and Susan make far better telly!

With goodies, baddies and bickering, The Apprentice is still a show that understands the TV audience and their needs. And, as business-owners, that’s what we all need to do for our clients.

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