After what seemed like a lifetime, but was actually only 11 weeks, Lordsugarsiralan hired his apprentice. But first we had to watch as Bianca (tights) and Mark (not a clue, soz Mark) launched their business plans, “helped” by former candidates all trying desperately to hide their bitterness and jealousy with varying degrees of success.
The show began with Sirlordalansugar announcing: “Arm lookin’ fer big bucks.” Had he been replaced in the boardroom by Sir Mix-A-Lot? The door opened and instead of a rapper we saw the familiar, furious Shar-Pei face. An opportunity missed, in my opinion.
Mark and Bianca were given three days to come up with a complete launch plan for their proposed businesses, which would include a presentation and promotional video. But first they had to pick teams from the former contestants, and of course Sarah was chosen last. This is what happens when your business nous comprises nothing more than advising your female companions to wear shorter skirts and more lippy.
It seemed that Mark’s business idea was something to do with digital marketing. Sorry, that’s as good as I can get. It was called Climb Online, which to me sounded like a trapeze act school, but what would I know? Meanwhile Bianca’s tights business was called True Skin, each shade named after an individual woman. Silence of the Lambs was based on a not entirely dissimilar premise.
Bianca consulted various hosiery experts and all of them told her her chosen £35 price point was a no-no. Of course it was. At that price, who would she sell to, apart from possibly Elton John and a couple of Kardashians? She thought about it a lot (she said) and refused to go below £20 per pair, even though her chosen packaging made these hugely expensive items look like something Poundland would reject as a bit cheap. Meanwhile Mark filmed his promotional video next to a climbing wall (geddit???) and Sanjay made an excellent job of editing it. “He’ll never know how grateful I am,” said Mark, all faux-humble. But he could know, Mark. You could, you know, tell him.
So, the day of the presentations dawned. Bianca’s was slick, professional and well-rehearsed. Her first questioner asked why she was wanting to create a luxury product out of the reach of most of her customers. Bianca made it clear she wasn’t interested in people without plenty of disposable income. Which is nice.
Mark’s pitch involved men dressed in all-over orange condoms and a video that looked like something the more earnest sixth formers come up with for the class project. Alansirlordsugar put his head in his hands. The pitch ended with Mark saying “Let me be your front door.” I think his business plan had something to do with Google page rankings. Or doorbells. One or the other anyway. His feedback from the marketing experts, however, was excellent.
My opinion was that what Mark had come up with was being done, better, by hundreds of other companies, and what Bianca had come up with was exciting, new and definitely has a ready-made market. Her price point was tricky though and the range would necessitate 720 variations, something Alansirlordsugar pointed out. Who would he choose to go into business with?
Nick made an eloquent case for Bianca and Karren less so for Mark. “His USP is himself. All he needs in a telephone.” Pfft. We remember his role-playing telephone call with Ricky Martin (no, not that Ricky Martin) last week, when Ricky hung up on him, don’t we? But Mark banged on and on and ON about his focus and his drive and his marketing internet doo-dah whatsits. Bianca, to her infinite credit, did not interrupt him.
Mark was hired. A mistake, I felt, but then I’m not Siralanlordsugar. Thankfully.