The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 11

Is Adam outside of his comfort zone again

There is a race between Jade and Ricky Martin to answer the phone (oh the tension!), which Jade wins and learns that they will be going to Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly. Ricky Martin describes that it is weird being the last and only member of Sterling and ponders whether it will just be him alone (a “winning combination” in his own words) versus Phoenix. It would be interesting to see, although unlikely that it will happen. Adam remarks “hopefully he’ll stick Jade with you”. No love lost there then.

Insert own caption here.

Burlington Arcade is renowned for its luxury retail shops (so it is related pretty well to the task). Sugar has brought the final 5 here to tell them that task is to create an affordable luxury product range and present it to industry experts and himself. He sends Tom to join a “stranded” Ricky Martin on Sterling and makes Adam PM of Phoenix.

Ricky Martin wants to be PM, hoping it will be 3rd time lucky. Tom proposes the idea of creating male grooming products, which he noticed is popular with male candidates in the series. Even Michael…the sweaty forgotten candidate? Nick Hewer says that Ricky Martin and Tom are perfectly suited to the intended market on account of their age and that their “hair-gelled quiffs” clearly show that they are big fans of male grooming products.

Nick suggests sweets, which Adam takes to mean hot chocolate. Nick has a coffee company, which isn’t really dwelt upon here. He suggests having one clear brand but Adam says, “I like a bit of everything”. He sends Jade to make the chocolates (an easy job in Adam’s opinion) whilst he and Nick sort out the branding. On the other team, Ricky Martin goes to work on the product and Tom works on the business side of things.

Tom and Ricky Martin brainstorm name ideas. It’s times like this when I wonder what genius (!) Stephen would have come up with…Tom likes the word “dapper”, as does Ricky Martin. Ricky Martin suggests “Men’s Choice”, which Tom says sounds like an adult magazine, and “New Tradition”. Name ideas on Phoenix leave a lot to be desired. Adam is churning out such ideas such as “Chocolike” and “Chocoloco”. Nick senses that these aren’t high-end enough – it needs to be LUXURY!!! Like “Choco-cho” or “Cho Cho Cho” (Hmm x2 – can Nick not think of any other syllables?). Adam says it sounds like a train and Nick hastily adds “a chocolate train”. Adam then suggests “Chocolate Bar”, bcos it is chocolate served at a bar and it is  a pun you see. Wow mind blowing! (Not.) Jade suggests “Sweet Thing…it’s like Wild Thing!”. Adam sneers at this, but to be honest, his ideas were no better.

Research time as Tom goes to a luxury grooming salon to grill them about their  business, and Adam and Nick go to a luxury chocolate shop to eat chocolate. They do find out that jellies are selling well, especially Pate de Fruits – a thicker and fuller taste of jelly, but that’s about all really, to the disgust of Karren.

Next, they design a dummy shop to present their product range. In the middle of their consultation with an interior designer, Phoenix argue about jellies. Can you imagine the discomfort of the interior designer right now? Adam loves jellies – “the next big thing” but the others are less enthusiastic. Nick says that jellies are “not necessarily bad but they detract from the focus of the task” or in 2 words – NO JELLIES! Adam presents jellies as an alternative to chocolate – in a chocolate shop. Why would you go to a chocolate shop if you didn’t want to buy chocolate? Adam is Chocoloco personified.

Nick Hewer and Ricky Martin get to grips with male grooming

In the factories, Jade and Ricky Martin create their new range. Both are enjoying it tremendously: Jade is burning a slab of marshmallow, probably imagining that it is Adam’s face, and Ricky Martin is in heaven making his own product line, which is cohesive (unlike Phoenix’s) and form part of a male grooming routine, and experimenting with the different creams and so forth. Sterling still haven’t come up with a name yet and Tom suggests “gentry”, which would be fine – if it was 100 years ago! He tells Ricky Martin that he thinks “New Tradition” is “not very creative” and puts forward as-creative-as-a-twig “Modern Gentleman”.

Phoenix have opted for Sweet Thing but they seem to have muddled their concept – are they a chocolate shop still? Jade has fanciful notions for “Drunken Jellies”, fruit jellies with alcohol. Adam hates the name but can’t think of anything between so he approves it. Nick isn’t happy (with anything really) and Jade thinks she is the only one doing all the work, and discovers that her sample of pear and cider are a no-no.

Tom is concerned about the branding – is it too “boring”? (Yes) Nick Hewer notes that Ricky Martin really should have been here as it is risky sending Tom to do it.

Opening of Dummy Shop

Tom has paint on his hands! Apparently he has never painted before. He leaves Ricky Martin to do all the hard work, painting the walls, whilst he paints the little shelving units, with the biggest look of pain on his face.

Karren quizzes Phoenix about their pricing strategy. Adam states £2.99 and Nick contradicts him by quoting £4.99 but saying that he agrees with Adam, contradicting himself in the process. What a confusing man. Karren asks which is the true price, to which Nick unhelpfully answers “Exactly”.

Sterling have hired a live male grooming professional to promote Modern Gentleman, who gives Tom a free shave which Ricky Martin approves of, as he strokes Tom’s face. Phoenix have booked a live cocktail expert, although what it has to do with chocolate I am unsure of.

Adam and Nick present their Sweet Thing

Phoenix’s dummy run goes well – all the pretend customers are happy, everything is fun and bright and everyone loves the branding, friendliness and colour of Sweet Thing. It’s the complete opposite to Sterling’s efforts – things are slow, tedious and boring. Nick Hewer notes that whilst Ricky Martin and Tom are good at analytical things, when it comes to creativity, they are “more pedestrian” and mocks the minimalistic look as resembling a “closing down sale”. It looks miserable.

Looks like a business meeting rather than retail

Not even an unsuspecting man getting groomed by Ricky Martin with Tom narrating in the background can help matters as they receive a scathing review in which Modern Gentleman is described as “boring, dull” and the branding doesn’t stand out.

Afterwards, Ricky Martin confesses that he is counting on the pitch and not keen on the packaging. If they lose, you just know that it will draw the familiar questions of “WHY DIDN’T YOU DO IT YOURSELF?!” like the exercise video and the wine video. The next morning, Ricky Martin confides in Tom in a walk-in closet that he couldn’t sleep as Tom finishes getting dressed. This isn’t weird at all. Phoenix are spread out: Adam is brushing his teeth in the bathroom, Jade is eating alone in the kitchen and Nick is looking desolately through the window of his weird globe seat thing in the garden he is sat in – he is worried about the brand and prepared for difficult questions. So he says.


Will Phoenix’s pitch prove as sweet as Sweet Thing?

Sterling: Ricky Martin starts off his pitch saying that he and Tom love to look good but don’t talk with their friends and family about grooming, like a lot of men. I never knew that this was such a problem, but what do I know? How Modern Gentleman changes all that is unclear, but Ricky Martin says that he wants to make it big in Europe. Tom says that everyone who had a full shaving on the dummy run left satisfied and that they are aiming to open a boutique store and shaving business in Year One. Tom and Ricky Martin work well as a team (Team T-Ricky, or Tricky) and demonstrate a good business plan and they pitch clearly, concisely and informatively. The brand is attacked again and Ricky Martin suggests rectifying this by putting it in a box to make it look more luxury (or so you don’t have to look at its boringness…). Tricky’s presentation is well received as is their knowledge of the male grooming area and the market…if only the branding was different…

Phoenix: Adam stumbles on his words whereas Jade presents an enthusiastic and lively pitch of the product line, which she describes could be extended by serving alcohol on a day-to-day basis. So it is a bar now? Nevertheless, she presents well, in stark contrast to Adam’s random coughing and trying to read the words off his hand as he tries to eke out the last words of his presentation. It doesn’t held that his hands are probably sweating by now, and smudging the inky words. Sugar questions Nick’s intention of opening shops in London and Manchester, hard to accomplish with the low profits incurred from the pricing of the product range. The general consensus of Phoenix’s pitch is that the chocolates were nice but everything else was bad – the brand, confused product range and the pitch.


Ricky Martin declares that he is “very passionate about male grooming” and Tom concedes that the design was rubbish. Tricky’s dummy shop is criticised. Adam’s shop is praised but his research visit is criticised for not gaining useful information. Nick claims that he asked about business and wholesale. Karren mentions she did not see this.


On account of being a better business idea; well thought out and planned – Sugar declares Sterling to be the well-deserved winners. I’d agree – Ricky Martin and Tom worked fantastically well together and put a great effort in developing the business idea and sold it well to the industry experts. Phoenix’s Sweet Thing was all a  bit of a mess. Sadly, Ricky Martin and Tom are sent home without a treat (aww…it was Ricky Martin’s first win as PM as well), which I would feel cheated at! There is time for a celebratory hug outside, or as Tom puts it to Ricky, “Give me some proper!”


Phoenix are told to return to the boardroom in the morning, but they still insist on going to the cafe to mull over their loss. Why?! Go home  you fools! Adam optimistically says, “Well…we didn’t do a bad job!”. Nick blames Adam for everything. Adam says, “There is no way on the planet that I’ll be the one who goes home tomorrow!”. How deluded can you get?


In the morning…

Who will miss out on the final?

First question is about pricing. Adam can’t pick out who was in charge and attempts to shift the blame onto Jade, who dismisses that it wasn’t her role. It’s not a good sign if a PM can’t tell who was doing what; it signifies a lack of control. Sugar says the range is too expensive for supermarkets and too cheap for luxury retail. Nick claims Sweet Thing was intended to be mass market before stating that there was no strategy, and then repeating the word “strategy” 2 or 3 times. Stop it! Stop saying that word! Not again! Adam points out that “Everyone uses the word “strategy” when things go wrong”. Yeah, like Azhar. Nick, stop channelling Azhar. It didn’t work for him last time.


Phoenix are also criticised for having no flagship product and not pitching well. Nick Hewer says that “Tom and Ricky drilled each other for an hour and a half before the pitch” (it is impossible not to make your own jokes throughout this episode) and thought of every possible question to present a coherent, workable business proposition, UNLIKE PHOENIX!!!


Sugar asks who performed the worst on the task – Adam claims that everyone did well on the team (i.e. he was probably the worst but he can’t admit this here). Nick apologises to Adam before ripping him to shreds (in the worst way that Nick can) and blaming him for everything, such as lack of direction. Jade adds to this by stating that Adam had no role.


Nick’s luxury coffee shop is mentioned and Nick is chastised for not bringing his experience to the task. Nick maintains that it is different to a luxury chocolate shop. He says he suggested hot chocolate (I don’t remember this) but this was rejected by the team. Nick Hewer states that he though Nick will have been “more persuasive”. Nick says he brought it up but followed the team’s opinions for the sake of keeping harmony within Phoenix. Karren makes it worse for Nick when she sneers, “You didn’t try THAT hard…”


To be honest, it could only be Adam to go really – he didn’t grasp the brief or manage the team well, and he has done little to show he is good to go into business with. Really, he should have been fired weeks ago. Anyway, the inevitable is drawn out when Sugar asks (again) why they should stay. Adam declares himself to be “the best candidate overall” and claims that Nick fluked his way to the final, and is nowt special considering that there are “10 million others who are good at computers and designing logos”, and that despite Jade’s claims of expert knowledge, nothing in the tasks has demonstrated her background and this expertise. Nothing like a nice and quiet exit!


Jade points out that Adam is good at sales but little else and Adam says “at least I am good at what I do”. Jade responds by shouting that Adam doesn’t know what she does (I didn’t either, but she works in consumer data apparently). Nick says that based on the task, Adam should go, but overall, Jade is the weakest. WHAT?! How can Jade be weaker than Adam?! (I assume this is tactical – Jade obviously poses more of a threat than Adam in the final, or else Nick isn’t as clever as everyone thought he was) He claims that Jade didn’t demonstrate her background experience in last week’s task and claims credit for closing the spa deal. Which is a lie.


Sugar loves Adam’s enthusiasm and his sales ability, which seems to have become a recurring phrase for the past few weeks, but notes that he lost the plot this week. He admires Jade’s creativity but not all of her ideas were good. He is disappointed that Nick didn’t step in and put his background knowledge to good use. Adam is fired though, which was pretty obvious.

Adam’s luck finally runs out…


Adam’s parting words are, “If you ever need a salesman you know where I am”.


Back at the house, Tom and Ricky Martin are hoping Nick doesn’t come back for tactical purposes but pretend to be glad when Nick returns with Jade. Jade eyes the “fooooooood” and Nick starts talking about how there was no strategy…and repeats the word “strategy” multiple times again. Argh. It’s enough to make me not want you to win!!!!


Nick strikes me as shifty in trying to claim credit (the spa deal) and amend situations in his favour (lying about the research visit). Are these good tactics or the sign of an untrustworthy candidate? And he started using the word “strategy” constantly. Jade proved herself to be a stronger candidate than previously thought and stands a good chance of winning, and although Tom is about as creative as the colour grey, he gave an impressive pitch and head for numbers. I am not sure whether his idea will be creative enough to ensnare interest but on business matters, he should excel. However, my bet to win is still Ricky Martin, who has proven he is a good all rounder in delivering what is needed. He possesses a business spark and flair supported with the knowledge and awareness to execute his ideas that none of the others seem to have. But if his business idea turns out to be something naff, like a shark watching class (similar to bird watching), then who knows?!