Friday, February 29, 2008

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 2

Create a marketting campaign for the Marquis Jet Card working with the Donnie Deutsch marketting agency.

Things people did right:
Listened to directions. They were told to swing for the fences, and the winning team created an edgy campaign.

Things people did wrong, and what could have been done instead:

  • They chose to not meet with the executives. This is a double mistake. The executives will feel disrespected. And another thing is that the executives are the judges. If you were the executive and there are 2 equal products from 2 different teams, and one team came to meet with you, who would win? Of course the ones that chose to meet with the execs. Also, meeting with the execs can only be good because they will tell you what they are kinda wanting, and what they definitely don't want. You might have the greatest idea, but if its something they don't want because maybe they already have that part covered, than you are just wasting your time. Always meet with the execs. If you really don't think meeting with them is important at all, appoint 1 or 2 people to be liasons and to keep the execs happy.

  • Never present with a shitty PowerPoint presentation. The font was hard to read. And the pie chart was the ugliest pie chart I've ever seen. It didn't fit in. It was the wrong color, the circle was elipse (because people don't know how to how to resize with the correct aspect ratio). It would have been better to cut out the pie chart because it was so bad and tacky no matter what information they were trying to present.

  • Played it safe. Especially when they were told not to play it safe. Donnie Deutsch already has tons of people working for him that are capable of making quality campaigns. The reason that he said to swing for the fences is that maybe if a team of bright individuals swung for the fences, maybe, just maybe they might introduce an amazing idea they haven't thought about. And if they are blown away, they may even use it. The reason why they didn't want or need anything safe is that people at Donny Deutsch can knock that kind of stuff out in no time, and always have something better than a campaign made by a group of people (some amateurs) who don't do this on a regular basis. What is safe? A picture of a business executive with a briefcase stepping off a plane with a smile on his face, shaking someone's hand. You couldn't be more cliche than that. And that is exactly what the men did.

  • Don't bring people into the boardroom to back you up. No one is safe in the boardroom. And the fact that you bring them in might make them turn against you. Your survival comes first, and everything else comes second.

  • Always have an answer when choosing to bring people in to to the boardroom. When Donald is asking you questions like "Why did you bring him in?" he doesn't want to hear, "I had to bring 2, and since I couldn't pick a second one, I chose one at random." If you say, "I can't think of 2, so I'll just bring one." he'll give you a hard time about it because he'll say, "Isn't that stupid? Mathematically, if you bring in someone else, its always in your favor." He's being a hard ass, and he wants to see you defending your choices. Even if you don't have a good reason, just make sure you have a reason, have a solid answer ready because he will ask you to see how well you stand behind your decisions.
What I would have done as the project leader.
My campaign would be based on the two words: Privledge & Power. And how someone with privledge and power still wants a Marquis Jet card.

Picture 1. A ultrawide angle shot of a stewardess that is holding a tray with a dozen Marquis Jet Cards, like she was selling pop corn on a private jet. And you would see the backside of chair of someone of royalty (maybe wearing a crown, or mabye a pope hat), that is raising his hand at the stewardess saying that he wants a Marquis Jet Card.

Picture 2:. A open pink doughnut box, but in this box, there is a baker's dozen of Marquis Jets. And that the person buying this baker's doezen of Marquis Jets is going to pay with his Marquis Jet Card.

Picture 1 will say that this is the card that people with privledge wants to carry around. Picture 2 will say with this card, you have the power to purchase anything.

The video presentation will be to reenforce these two key ideas.

Take-away lessons:
Always meet with the executives. Listen to what they are asking for. When Donny said to swing for the fences, and that failure is not an option, these were the most important things he could have said. They wanted the teams to give it their best shot to blow Donny Deutsch away. Failure was not an option because you can't fail a task that was going to be judged subjectively, and to Donny its not going to matter to him which team is slightly better than the other. He was giving them a shot to come up with something extraordinary.

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