In the triumph of arrogance and mediocrity over common sense and creativity that is The Apprentice, there really are only two words you need to know this week.

Cod shit.

That is the wonderfully descriptive way that everyone’s favourite village idiot James McQuillan chose to sum up his own team’s efforts to rebrand the faded seaside resort of Margate.

To be honest, it could have applied to the rival team’s campaign too.

The slightly less crap defeated the utterly hopeless again this week. But what of Margate?

It is still looking for a new image and will have gained few, if any, pointers to which direction they should head from the efforts of Briatin’s brightest business prospects (sic) as they jostle for the £100,000-a-year prize next to Sir Alan Sugar.

What Margate required was some imagination, innovation and inspiration.

What it actually got was a load of old… 

saucy postcard

The team led by Debra failed as soon as she bullied the rather wimpish Howard into withdrawing his attempt to become project leader.

Focusing on the pink pound was certainly different, but their campaign was…well, it is difficult to describe because I’m not really sure what their campaign was about.

“Margate Makes You Gay” would have been slightly more preferable to the drivel they produced – only slightly, mind you. Instead Debra talked a lot, didn’t listen at all and the result was shameful.

Step forward James. The man with all the best lines in this year’s series found himself in the firing line but Debra missed a trick by not making him responsible for the campaign slogan.

jamesmcquillanI’m not suggesting “Visit Margate – its cod shit” would have been the finest slice of marketing and rebranding ever, but James has proved he has a way with words and descriptive powers way beyond those of his fellow competitors.

This is the man who fessed up to doing a little wee in his pants in the boardroom. The man who convinced himself that the Invisible Man (aka Noorul) was some sort of zombie flesh eater.

This is the Apprentice wannabe who was so happy with himself during one of the previous tasks that he said he felt like a “monkey with a new tool”.

What more did Debra need than James McQuillan, wordsmith and village idiot?

Instead she relied on the wet lettuce that is Howard, who provided a limp pitch on top of yet another largely ineffectual performance.

As a result, the other team romped to an unlikely and undeserved victory. Well, more stumbled to a win than romped.

Yasmina’s team seemed to miss the point about the exercise. They decided to rebrand the one-time family favourite resort on the Kent coast as a family favourite on the Kent coast.

But they did manage to produce something vaguely like a promotional poster and they did actually finish their tourism leaflet. They also had bright, bubbly Kate Walsh doing their pitch.

katewalshAs long as people don’t look into her eyes – its not so much their hypnotic quality as the fact they show there’s very little going on behind them – then the flashing smile will always come up trumps.

So it proved. Kate was perky in a Blue Peter presenter way and dazzled all before her with her ability to say nothing of any substance whatsoever, but say it with a lovely toothy smile.

Her team managed to make Margate look even more faded and uninteresting, but they still managed to win.

So what does that say about the quality of the other team? More to the point, what does it say about the quality of all the candidates?

Debra saved Howard from the boardroom fight to the finish. She brought back in the star wordsmith she stupidly ignored and Mona Lewis – who had moaned her way through last night’s task from the moment it was decided Margate should go gay.

Her only real contribution was an excruciating “interview” with one of the regulars in Margate’s gay bar. It was a bit like a minor royal trying to rap nonchalantly with a load of hoodies, Mona couldn’t have looked or sounded more uncomfortable.

Mona had stood up to be counted in the first couple of weeks, but since she’s retreated into the background. As there really isn’t any place to hide these days - we have already waved bye-bye to seven candidates – then she was always going to be favourite to be fired.

We didn’t get the boardroom fireworks of previous weeks. It all fell a bit flat, mainly because Debra managed to keep her poisonous tongue in check and James wasn’t given a chance to say anything nonsensical or wildly inappropriate.

So it was with regret that Sir Alan fired Mona and that was just about that for another week.

monalewis

On the Apprentice website she tells us: “I knew I would be selected, not to sound big-headed… I’ve succeeded in the companies I’ve worked for because I work hard and I’m honest.”

Maybe if she had sounded a bit more big-headed and honest – and less moany and insipid – she might have succeeded on The Apprentice too.

One response »

  1. Ursula says:

    Paul, as usual your write-up on The Apprentice constitutes the so very much appreciated “added-value” element.

    As the number of participants reduces it’s much easier to get to know the remainders of the original bunch (do study their eyebrows – it’s all you need to know about any of them). To give them their due, whilst an interesting task, I’d have hated to rebrand any city/town/village – and I DO live beside the seaside.

    Gays? What on earth were they thinking of? As a demographic group – how many of them are there wishing to take a holiday at any one time – gays most certainly have money to spend but would they wish to do so in Margate? How cool is that? Kids and what to do with them when it’s raining is as much an incentive to visit Margate as shooting yourself in a sandy foot. Might as well stay at home, and feed the local economy.

    One word of warning, Paul: Next week’s instalment will be the nadir.

    U

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