The Apprentice: Lord Sugar banned me on Twitter!

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The Apprentice: Lord Sugar banned me on Twitter!

One of Lord Sugar's former boardroom victims delivers her verdict on episode nine of the latest series of The Apprentice

Becoming the first ever Apprentice candidate to be blocked by Lord Sugar on social media is a pretty hefty feat in my opinion. Some people just can’t handle the truth – and Lord Sugar is one of them, apparently.

During the airing of Week 9’s episode, I was tweeting along with the show as I always do, but it seems Alan wasn’t pleased that when I pointed out that although none of his candidates were able to successfully sell to or impress the Boots buyers during the task, his previously fired candidate (me) already has her beauty brand (Hollywood Browzer Beauty) stocked at Boots across the UK and Ireland.  Not that I’m one to brag.

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and led to my banishment from Lord Sugar’s Twitter feed. Perhaps he shouldn’t have fired me in Week 6 before allowing me to be Project Manager (which I pleaded for before being fired) – and right now he could have a business partner who actually has a fully functioning and successful business.  But blockings and pettiness aside, here’s my rundown of Week 9.

This week, the remaining candidates were tasked with producing a men’s skincare product that needs to stand out in a very crowded market. The teams would need to come up with a brand name, design the packaging, pitch to beauty buyers and secure orders – and the team with the most orders would win.

Brad was insistent that he be the Project Manager of Team Affinity. He wanted to call his brand ‘Anti Venom’, appealing to 30 – 40-year-old men. The idea, based on a snake shedding its skin, was that it would be a scrub to exfoliate the skin. He was insistent on the scrub having a colour (green or yellow), which is unusual for skincare. Cut to the product then staining the skin, another awkward moment most likely orchestrated by the powers that be. In addition, the consistency was gooey, and the packaging and bottle looked more like that of a children’s bubble bath.

A few unfair things to point out here from a behind-the-scenes perspective. First of all, a lab producing skin care products would never stock an ingredient that would stain the skin, so it was unfair that the production included a staining dye as an option to be used in the formulation. Setting them up to fail of course. Secondly, in terms of the bottle, we don’t know what Brad and his team actually designed and what was then presented to them by the production team.

In my series, during Week 2, something similar took place where I was responsible for the design and branding of a children’s electric toothbrush. I had a five-year-old son at the time, who loved comic books – so I asked the designer during the task to add black outlines around the space-themed objects on the toothbrush including stars, the moon, a rocket ship, and an astronaut to make it have the same look as a comic book. This design was saved as such when we left the design studio, but unsurprisingly didn’t end up on the final version we were presented with the next day. I was then told by the experts that the design didn’t suit the demographic, being seen as babyish and appealing to nursery school aged kids rather than children 6-8 years old. Why did they change my work, which was spot on, to something that wasn’t? You can see the black outlines in the design and then the final product below.

Now you see it…
Now you don’t

Meanwhile Dani put herself up as Project Manager for Team Apex. Her idea was to go for the 50+ demographic, although what she chose in terms of packaging (a star-shaped tub) and the overall branding would never appeal to men that age. The look of the skincare was bland and would definitely not stand out; it didn’t meet the brief.

Brad’s snake-themed packaging and his slimy, green exfoliator was over-the-top for the target market while Dani’s white formula and blue, basic box looked bland and basic. Her star-shaped container was called “excessive” and not very practical.  Brad’s ‘Anti-Venom’ packaging and branding was deemed childish and definitely would not appeal to his target demographic.  Basically, both teams were terrible once again.

The two teams pitched their products to big industry players, who were less than impressed. No-one was interested in Brad’s product as it dyed the skin green – unsurprisingly, no orders were placed. Dani’s ‘Start’ apparently had more luck, supposedly convincing some of the retailers to place orders for 11,350 units, which I very much doubt happened. Having met one of the buyers I pitched to during my series months after production wrapped, she actually told me she was told by production not to buy any units from me. So, I truly believe that the ‘orders’ are decided on by the production based on which team they want to win the task.

It also suits the show’s narrative which candidates secure orders. When I was pitching to buyers and did not receive any orders, Lord Sugar questioned my selling ability in the boardroom: “You claim you’re such a good salesperson, but you sold nothing! The worst salesperson here!” In real life, I have sold millions of units to buyers as well as consumers for my business, so his comment was laughable, but also could have been damaging to my reputation in business.  Luckily it wasn’t as those who work with me saw right through it.

The same scenario happened this week, where Simba sold no units and Lord Sugar said the same thing to him in the boardroom despite his great track record in sales in the real world.

Avi and Brad were fired

On this stint, his third as Project Manager, Brad was fired. Lord Sugar fired him on the spot, insisting that he never wanted to see Bradley’s face in the boardroom again, calling him a disgrace.  Very harsh and unnecessary comments verging on bullying. It was hard to watch. And in a not-so-surprising double firing, Lord Sugar also gave Avi his P45 for desperately begging retailers to place orders, calling him pathetic – a word I would use to perfectly summarise this entire series.






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