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The Apprentice 5, Episode 1: What’s the Big Deal?Page 2
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Theresa is in charge of coming up with slogans or taglines for the blimp. She decides that the store already has a strong logo and tagline, so why mess with success? She has the blimp read, “Sam’s Club. Come see the big deal. 7:00-3:30. Sam’s Club.” Well, that’s simple, albeit uninspiring.
Meanwhile, Synergy agrees that the blimp will be eye-catching, but they want something else to drive customers into the stores. Brent suggests a karaoke machine out front. Allie nixes that idea- she can’t see suburban moms or small business owners stopping to sing on their way to buy giant palettes of toilet paper. In an interview, Allie says that she questions many of Brent’s ideas, but does like his energy. “He’s full of it… full of energy,” she says with a smile.
Brent’s next idea is free makeovers. He says that women love to get their hair done. We women, always wantin’ to get purty. Andrea agrees, but suggests that she’d rather get her hair done in a nice salon, not a big warehouse. Good point. Tammy suggests massages, and over Brent’s claim that he gives good ones, Allie says she likes the idea. When she praises Tammy for coming up with it, Brent looks very unhappy. In an interview, Brent wonders why she ignores his ideas. Is she threatened by him, he wonders. Yes, I’m sure that’s it. The team quickly lands on the idea of a mini-spa set-up. They’ll give out quick massages, polish changes, and will sell the upgraded memberships. “Heck, I’d come,” Allie says.
Over at Gold Rush, Summer is in charge of calling restaurant owners to sell them on memberships. She says that she wants to call them before the dinner rush, which makes sense. Tarek put her in charge of this task since she herself is a restaurant owner. Summer makes one phone call and really doesn’t get anywhere with the woman who answers the phone. This woman clearly just wants to hang up. Summer complains that she really doesn’t have any kind of hook to offer them, so it doesn’t make sense to call. There’s nothing going on. So, because of that, she gives up and stops making calls. Charmaine looks on and is amazed at Summer’s inability to make any kind of connection with these prospective customers.
And now it’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week: “Change the team.” Trump says that successful people know when to pull bad people off their teams. I guess that means it’s also time for the Betsy Lesson of the Week. This week’s Betsy Lesson is this: Don’t tell people what your IQ is. As soon as Tarek told everyone he was a MENSA member, he was setting himself up for a fall. Now any time he screws up, the other people in the boardroom will point at him and say, “I thought you were a member of MENSA.” He should have just shut up about it and been content to play chess with Geena Davis.
Brent is not happy at all that the rest of Synergy has put him in the blimp. He scoffs that it is a waste of his talents. But, he says, he’s not a trouble maker, so he’s not going to complain. He’d like to add, though, that he was the one who got them on the topic of makeovers in the first place, so for the record, this was kind of his idea. He’s going to keep his mouth shut and hope they win because he is a team player. Yeah, the kind of team player who complains about his team as soon as he gets a chance. Brent is a bit of a blow-hard, isn’t he?
Inside the store, Sean uses his sex-say accent to make announcements about their promotions. Michael, Allie says, is a total go-getter. He does a great job of selling to the customers. Sean, of course, works well with the women. Jenn and I aren’t the only ones who love him. George stops by and says that he likes their strategy. They have two areas at the very front of the store that will attract attention, and that the team is giving the customers friendly service.
Tarek calls Lenny, who is on the Gold Rush blimp. He asks him to have the blimp go across route 18 to attract more customers. Lenny’s partner in the blimp is Summer. Tarek says he chose Lenny to go in the blimp because he knew the area, but Summer because he has no confidence in her given the lousy job she did with the phone calls.
Gold Rush is giving out free Sam’s Club tote bags to the first 485 people who walk in the door. As customers come in, they get their tote bags and hear about the benefits of upgraded membership. Tarek thinks it will generate excitement. Carolyn is a bit confused by the plan at first- are the bags for people who get the upgraded membership? Tarek says no, everyone gets one. Then Carolyn thinks it’s a gift bag, meaning there are gifts in it. Again, no. The bag itself is the gift.
It’s not a terrible idea, but what happens when they run out of bags? Then they’ll literally have nothing. Lee is concerned as well. He says there is no big idea there. That said, he thinks the team will sell well enough to make up for it. Theresa agrees, and in an interview, says that she, Leslie, and Lee are selling especially well. Leslie connects well with the customers. She brings up the excitement level. And Lee, wearing a suit instead of a Sam’s polo shirt, is “doing some business consulting.” Because of what he’s wearing, he commands a bit more respect. “We are,” Theresa says, “a force to be reckoned with.”
With that, it’s time for the Boardroom. Trump asks Lee why he’s dressed differently. Lee explains that he was there to give business analysis and advice. The rest of the team was fine with the plan. It was also a good idea because Lee looks- and is- very young. Putting him in a suit instead of a polo shirt got him a lot more respect. Allie thinks her team did a fantastic job and would be surprised if they lost. Tarek feels the same way and says that his team performed well. Summer, on the other hand, says she would have changed a few things. Tarek does not look pleased.
Carolyn says that Gold Rush did quite well. They used the existing Sam’s Club slogan and simple marketing techniques to bring in 40 new memberships. George reports that Synergy took a different approach, offering free massages and manicures. They sold 43 memberships. Synergy wins and will have lunch with Trump at the Wharton Club.
At this point in the show, I said “Wow” so loudly that my husband came downstairs to find out what was going on. I am truly impressed at how well Lee, Theresa, and Leslie must have been selling that they lost by such a narrow margin. Synergy put a whole lot more work into their promotion and probably spent a lot more of their seed money to do it. If this were a real business challenge, and not a TV show, I think that Gold Rush’s effort was actually more successful. They probably spent less money getting each of those memberships and got nearly the same result. That is impressive, much more so than Synergy’s victory.
Back at the suite, most of Gold Rush is on the balcony talking about who should be fired. Who didn’t give 110%? The consensus is, overwhelmingly, Summer. Theresa feels like she already threw them under the bus for saying she would have changed some things. She was “negative, ineffective, and didn’t follow through.” Had she made more phone calls, they would have won. That may be true. Since the margin of victory was so slim, just a little more foot traffic might have made the difference.<--Previous 1 2 3 Next-->
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