The Apprentice 4 Corner Office and Mailroom Assignments, Episode 4by Gil Sery -- 10/19/2005
Excel came up with Ginny the Genie, and Capital Edge came up with Zip the Spoon-Holding-Eyeball-Thingy. Let’s take a look at who was the cream that rose to the top and who just got creamed. (OK, enough with the corny ice cream puns; I promise.)
At the beginning of the task, both teams were introduced to two branding execs — Clue #1 — from Dairy Queen — Clue #2. Jennifer M. seemed to be the only person on Capital Edge who put these two clues together, as she was the only one who thought that her team’s character should have something blatantly obvious that associates the character with Dairy Queen. After all, they were tasked with creating a new brand character. Sure, Marshawn explained that the character had a spoon that had the words Dairy Queen on it, but as Carolyn pointed out, it really wasn’t visible enough to be recognizable. Even The Donald wanted to know why there was no DQ association on Capital Edge’s character.
However, lest you think I’m playing favorites, Jen was also the one who came up with the name Zip, and if you look at some of the existing brand characters in fast food today you’ll notice that this name doesn’t gel in the same way that at least two other brand characters in the fast food industry do.
Rubio’s Fish Tacos has Pesky Pescado, a fish, as their brand mascot. “Pescado” is the Spanish word for “fish”, and since this chain was started in Mexico, the Spanish connection is appropriate. There’s also McDonalds, whose mascot is a clown named Ronald McDonald. I’m assuming the clown is because a large segment of their audience is kids (some places even have playgrounds at their restaurants), and most kids love clowns.
Now if you notice the names of these two characters, you’ll notice that they sound alike. Both words in “Pesky Pescado” share the “pesk” sound”. Likewise, with the “onald” sound in Ronald McDonald. Notice that the name is not Ron McDonald or Ronnie McDonald, but Ronald McDonald. The New York Mets have this too with the “M” alliteration of Mr. Met. Even Excel Corporation used this to their advantage when they named their character Ginny the Genie.
So Blizzard Blister, as Toral suggested, while not exactly something that rolls of the tongue, was a step in the right direction and shouldn’t have been met with so many rolled eyeballs. Zip, while being an easy name to remember, does nothing for the character or the Dairy Queen brand. Now if we were talking about a character for — oh, let’s say — Lamborghini, then Zip would be a perfect name as it captures the speed of the car, thus helping to further the brand.
Nevertheless, for being the only one to realize that a DQ character actually needs some blatantly obvious association to Dairy Queen, (not some secret, hidden-in-the-details clue like something out of an episode of Lost) Jennifer M. gets the Corner Office this week, complete with a spot as a celebrity judge in the Miss Universe pageant.
For the mailroom assignment, it’s as obvious as a DQ belt buckle that Toral should be given mailroom duty this week, but since she’s already been fired, we’re going to have to find someone else to take her place. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to award this dubious honor to Felisha. Sure, if Toral had actually had a backbone and fought to be Project Manager, things might have turned out differently, but we can’t hand out assignments based on what could have been.
Jennifer M. asked Felisha flat out who was responsible for deciding that there be no DQ logo on the character. Felisha skirted the issue, and said it was a group decision. However, leading by committee doesn’t work. We’ve already seen that several times on this show. As Project Manager, whether she wants to admit it or not, Felisha has to take responsibility for the decision not to incorporate any DQ branding. As Jennifer M. pointed out, Felisha didn’t push hard enough for any kind of obvious DQ association on Zip. That was a huge part of the reason why her team lost. So Felisha, the Mailroom is all yours this week. And don’t worry; if you make any bad judgment calls about which packages to deliver to whom, they can easily be rectified.
Several people on Excel deserve the corner office this week: Randal for writing the jingle, Adam for coming up with a way to sing the jingle, Mark for being confident enough with his sexuality to dress as a woman, and Clay for stepping up as the project manager.
Of all these nominations, Clay had the most to lose. He was disliked by his teammates and even called a bitch at one point. His attitude on this task was also risky. He only agreed to step up as project manager with the stipulation that he wasn’t going to take any guff from any of his teammates, and he didn’t. Knowing his teammates disliked him, he still ruled with an iron fist, which could have cost him dearly if Excel had lost. Fortunately, the way he handled his responsibilities, he led his team to victory.
As much as Clay’s team members moaned and complained about him, not one of them voted against giving him an exemption because he got the job done. Thus, for taking risks, pulling no punches, and leading a winning team, Clay gets the Corner Office with a floor to ceiling window overlooking Central Park.
We didn’t see as much of Excel this week as we saw of Capital Edge, and of the parts we saw, everybody on Excel seemed to get along well. Thus, nobody in Excel will be licking stamps in the Mailroom this week. Keep it up, Excel!
Week Four Tally
So we come to another week’s scoreboard and a week of firsts. It looks like the week Clay spent in the Mailroom did him a lot of good, as he becomes the first person to go from the Mailroom to the Corner Office in one week. Also, Jennifer M. becomes the first person on Capital Edge to occupy the Corner Office twice. Here’s the summary in a new, easier to read format. As always, the numbers in parentheses indicate the week in which the assignment was awarded.
Gil Sery is a freelance entertainment journalist who loves watching reality TV. You can email him at email@example.com with your suggestions on whom you would have picked for the corner office or mailroom.
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