ALTI's Apprentice Boardroom Report For 2/10/05 (Episode #4)

Allan's 2
Why Kristen Failed
running time 2:41

Game Analysis
Strategies for Episode Five
running time 4:19
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Apprentice Task Lesson: When Faced With Bad or Bad.
Looking Beyond The Results and Into The Process

In this weeks episode of The Apprentice, Donald Trump asked his 2 teams to create a 30 second television commercial for Dove Body Wash.  Both teams met with Trumps favorite ad agency lead by Donny Duesch to get the details of the task.  The task called for the creation of a unique, out-of-the-box, film style production that breaks the mold of typical 30 second spots.

When both teams surprised Donald and failed to deliver a satisfactory production, Mr. Trump was really left with one alternative to determine whom to fire, and that was to look past the results and into the process each team too to determine if the cause of failure was just a bad idea or mismanagement.   

In watching tonight's episode, here are some practical lessons that you can apply to your business:

Ad Campaigns Should Follow a Process
In any kind of advertising campaign, its important to follow a methodical process, whether its a lean budget direct mail campaign or a multi-million dollar television spot here are some suggestions:

  • Understand the value the consumer puts on the product

  • Clearly identify the consumer target market

  • Define what is the goal, purpose or desired result of the campaign

  • Develop a creative message that supports the products value, speaks to the target market and drive toward the desired result of the campaign 

Mass Market vs. Target Market
Mass market products typically need to appeal to a mass audience, (unless the task calls for target market segmentations, where specialty campaigns are created to speak to unique target groups. McDonalds is a leader in target market segmentation with commercials produced specifically to reach African Americans, teens, families, and Latinos). In this case, Magna Corp's sexual innuendo was racy but could have pulled it together.  However, knowledge of the brand would cause you to steer clear from going over the top with the gay twist at the end, (which might be appropriate for a market segmentation strategy with another brand). 

Depicting Product Appeal in Video
When capturing the essence of a product, it must convey a strong sense of appeal, an attempt to tingle my sense of sight and sound. Notice that visuals of products always tend to depict the product in its most desirable and somewhat exaggerated state.  There are professional prop designers who specialize in product modeling, these people know to use glue to mimic milk to keep cereal looking crisp instead of real milk which causes the cereal to look soggy. In this case, Net Worth Corp. should have considered hiring a professional to "model" the capture a rich sudsy lather flowing across the running actor and water effects to capture the rinsing process with a cut to a visibly refreshed rejuvenated and clean marathon runner surrounded by people who looked like they ran through hell.

Preserving Ideas as Project Manager
When working in teams and a subordinate team member suggests a strong idea that you as the manager decide to execute, make certain that you either fully understand the conceptual idea or have the person who suggested the idea on hand to assist with direction.  As a manager, delegating direction to the person who's vision for the concept is the clearest is a wise strategy.  This is possibly the fatal error of Net Worth's Project Manager that prevented the team from producing a winning commercial. The error was further compounded by poor direction of the actors.

In the end, Donald Trump was faced with a choice between bad and bad.  His next step was to understand the process both teams took to identify if managerial negligence had occurred.  The bottom line is that team Magna took an edgy, racy, out-of-the-box, inappropriate, and ill-targeted idea and executed well; and team Net Worth took what seemed to be a viable conceptual idea, and failed to execute that idea as conceptually discussed and agreed as a direct result of mismanagement by the teams project manager.  Mr. Trump had virtually no other choice than to fire for poor management.

The final lesson: execution is critical and should be prized above creative ideas in most situations as a great idea poorly executed will never reach its potential, yet a flawlessly executed mediocre idea will win every day.

Shameless Plug: 
Is your company considering an advertising campaign?

ALTI Consulting and our team of specialists are very excited about implementing self-funding advertising campaigns, campaigns that continually pay for themselves.  If you don't have a self-funding campaign, give us a call, or shoot us an e-mail at (206) 984-9560 or

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