The Apprentice 11.02. Cactus Shampoo

One of the rules of marketing is ensuring that the consumer knows why they should buy the product. It's pretty simple, right? This is The Apprentice where even rules as simple as that seemingly get ignored. Boys were back against girls and given the simple enough task of producing a marketing campaign for shampoo with cactus extract. The Unique Selling Product? Cactus extract helps hair retain moisture. That's it. That's all they had to demonstrate in a 30 second TV advert and a digital billboard.

For once, picking PMs was relatively simple. Richard is a Director at a Digital Marketing Agency and it showed when he basically listened (or at least appeared to) everyone else's ideas then scrapped them and went with whatever popped into his head. What was even more worrying was the spelling, of 'catus' and 'dessert defeating hair'. Cue imagining scalps covered in lemon meringue and cheesecake. Oh no, wait, they meant desert. Their shampoo was called 'Western' because, you know, deserts, cacti? No, it didn't really make sense did it.

Then again, the girls came up with 'Desert Secrets' which seemed like a bit of a fail from the start. Why would you not tell your consumer what the main point of your product is? You would have thought someone with marketing experience like Aisha would realise that. Charleine really REALLY wanted to be PM and with plans to have her own shampoo she had a worthy claim. That she spent the rest of the episode letting it known what she would have done was just a bit petty.

For the advert the boys went for the rather safe approach of a male model in his pants washing his hair under a watering can. The reaction was generally meh, with one commuter uttering his disdain with the words, "Is that it?" The girls had a little problem; having settled for the grey pound of a 45+ market two young models turned up leaving Ruth to step up and take one for the team. The advert itself was a head turner, mainly as it featured Ruth turning her head as her hair billowed in the wind with her finger on her lips. Even Claude was impressed.

The pitches were a different story. Here the men impressed for their simple, strong message and the synergy between billboard and advert. Even then Scott suffered brainfade and the advert depicted no end benefit of the shampoo. Alas, Natalie's heart simply was not in the pitch as she had already given up on the product. There were also dramatic.... pauses. for no apparent. reason. Elle was not one to sugarcoat it and the first tête-à-tête of the series came between her and Vana.

In the boardroom the boys' victory was confirmed which left the girls to fight among themselves. Evidently they should have gone for the mass market and put an actual cactus on the bottle instead of a cactus flower. It was all a bit muddled, was the young daughter or her mother the target market? What was the 'Desert Secret'? Why the cactus flower and not the cactus? So many questions.

Being called back into the boardroom seemed a personal affront to Natalie who smirked like a rude child and tried to defend her ageist comments made during the pitch. Apparently people over 45 are scared of anything new, good luck defending yourself before 46 year old Baroness Brady. Yes, her pitch fell flat but it was a terrible product. Even Lord Sugar knew it was an oversight bringing Vana back and ensured her error was not pushing for the grey pound but not angling a campaign at that target audience. For the mixed messages and poor judgement over brand, name and the cactus flower it was Aisha who was fired.

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