Over the course of The Apprentice’s history, there has been no shortage of cringe-worthy moments. However, none have been as awkward as those produced by some of the more unique tasks presented by Alan Sugar – such as creating a new flavour of ice cream.
Here we present six fun challenges that went horribly wrong.
(1) The episode where only one person didn’t need to rely on the guide book
In season ten, Sugar tested the candidates by giving them a task that focussed heavily on teamwork, preparation and management throughout the day – all of which are factors that entrepreneurs need a firm grasp on. The goal was to set up and run a coach tour, taking Londoners out to two tourist sites. This was rather different to the product pitches that they had done since the start of the season.
Team Summit, headed by senior banking manager Sanjay Sood-Smith, created a historically themed trip around castles in Kent, while Tenacity, led by pub quiz planner Daniel Lassman, settled on an “English experience” in Oxfordshire.
Once on the coach, it only took James Hill five minutes to don a plastic crown, demand everyone call him “King James”, and lead a chorus of One Man Went To Mow that had The Apprentice advisor Karren Brady staring at the emergency exit.
Apart from Hill’s added rendition of The Wheels on the Bus, Sood-Smith managed to get lost and only arrived at the destination at closing time.
And who could forget Mark Wright explaining that the packed lunches they provided “could kill a brown dog”, and that operations manager Jemma Bird was unable to offer basic facts about Anne Boleyn – she pointed out a “photo” of Henry VIII, who died nearly 300 years before photography was invented.
Below you can find a sample of what led to her demise in the episode.
Solicitor Lauren Riley was praised for her exceptional tour of Blenheim Palace, which seemed to surprise even her team mates. She didn’t rely on any notes – or the guide book – and answered all tourist questions to the best of her ability without emphasising/mentioning that she wasn’t the expert.
(2) Octi-Kleen and the show’s most sexist ad campaign
In series six’s advertising task, the emphasis lay on creating a campaign for a brand of kitchen cleaner. It sounds simple given that it involves the basics of creating a successful business. This would require much research, branding a product and finding a target audience.
What made this advertising challenge stand out, however, was that it involved cleaning products – arguably one of the hardest items to advertise as it is easy to fall on stereotypes.
This was highlighted by the fact that neither teams truly understood their market audiences.
Team Synergy created a multipurpose cleaning product called Octi-Kleen, backed up by a spectacularly sexist TV advert. Jamie Lester’s pitch to the ad agency was also a cringe-worthy performance.
Apollo’s campaign, despite having a better advert and a cleaner pitch presented by Sandeesh Samra, was felt to be a total failure in getting across the key features of the product, as well as having an unattractive bottle and carrying what was considered an even more inappropriate message – such as children using cleaning chemicals! As a result, team Synergy were named the winners.
(3) Organising corporate bonding events was a recipe for disaster
One of the most bewildering episodes in The Apprentice history was when Sugar tasked them to organise a corporate “away day” for regional managers from Barclays Bank and lastminute.com that included events aimed at improving “motivational and communication skills”.
“This is not some jolly,” he warned. “This is a business task.”
Of course, the point of the exercise may be simple and fun in comparison to most tasks set out on the show, but much like the advertising challenge, left many in confusion.
Evolve went for a “Back to School” theme, and although their event ran reasonably smoothly, they had activities that had little to do with school or business – including wine tasting and cupcake decorating. Even Sugar wondered in vain where the business message was.
The majority of Endeavour also wanted a school theme, but Leah Totton went against the team and decided on a history theme – before changing it to an army theme after meeting with the client. Of course, Totton was afterwards criticised for ignoring everyone else.
And in an attempt to demonstrate how conflict can get out of control, the team decided to embed sumo wrestling into the day. Her teammates dressed up in sumo suits and barrelled into one another – something Sugar wasn’t too keen on seeing.
Read on to find out more about the board game meant to make you a relationship guru – but maintains that all women only eat chicken salads and hate rock music.
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