A Dose of Reality: The Apprentice 4 - Episode 4: Self-Elimination
by Gordon Miller
Published: October 15, 2005
This week, the candidates were faced with creating a promotional campaign complete with a new character for the Blizzard brand of Dairy Queen. Upon brainstorming and development, the candidates had to present their creations to two Dairy Queen executives, who would ultimately decide the winner of the mission. The teams had to appeal to the diverse demographics of Dairy Queen customers, which include kids, teenagers, and senior citizens. The winning team would have the opportunity to play baseball with the New York Mets while the losing team would have to send someone packing.
Capital Edge Assessment
At the beginning of the mission, the girls sit down and make an attempt at hashing out their personal conflicts. One by one the women all mention that they hope Toral makes a contribution to the success in this mission. True to her loyalty, Rebecca guarantees that the Toral will step up and display her potential. Toral even acknowledges that she has not put her best foot forward and feels the need to step up. DT even says that he has confidence that Toral has more talent that she has put forward. As the task unwinds we all wonder why didn’t she take any initiative and display this superiority in business that she claims to have over the other candidates?
Felisha takes the helm as project manager based on her love of print, presentation, and creation but also mentions that she does not have a background in marketing. To Rebecca’s annoyance, Toral easily relinquishes the responsibility of project manager since she doesn’t have an advertising background.
The girls conduct a brainstorming session. As expected, Toral brings nothing to the table. Rebecca comes up with the name for the mascot while Jennifer M makes a key point about branding. She was the only one who wanted the Dairy Queen emblem on the outfit while the others didn’t think it was a good idea and ultimately bit them in the ass. The result of the brainstorming was Zip, a fun and energetic mascot who carries the ingredients to make the perfect Dairy Queen Blizzard.
In the end, the team created a hideous mascot that only appealed to kids and lacked brand identification. The presentation wasn’t convincing and the team could barely answer the executive’s questions.
“Maximize Potential – a good leader has to be able analyze the strengths and weakness of their employees.” – Donald Trump.
You can’t really say that Felisha heeded the Donald’s words in this mission. She chose to focus her energy and only listen to the words of her fellow members of the Stepford quartet including Jennifer M, Alla, and Felisha. Could she have brought out the best in Toral? Probably not. But the key point to remember is that she only tried to force Toral into the costume with the assistance of her cronies but didn’t choose to utilize her in any parts of the presentation as Toral seemingly mentioned to be interested in. As a former vice president of an investment bank, I would hope that she has some business acumen. However, the question still remains if the leader could have brought this out.
“Toral pushed all the wrong buttons." – Donald Trump.
To live another week, Toral would have needed to pull off a win or at least contribute to the mission. Toral has no problems telling the American public or Donald Trump how advanced her academic and work experience has been over the other candidates. But we have seen none of the superior experience that she has. She is very condescending to her teammates. She only considers them event planners and “wouldn’t hire them as her administrative assistants.” Toral didn’t fight for the responsibility. She managed to lose the respect of the one person on the team that valued her.
With her elevated experience, she managed to put together a very weak defense in the boardroom. All of her reasoning was flawed and contradictory. She gave people different reasons why shouldn’t wear the costume. She used everything from personal, religion, and cultural reasons as reasons. The stories that she told to various people didn’t add up.
Another funny thing is that on the Yahoo! Apprentice page, Toral mentions that she doesn’t want to work for Donald Trump and the reason she was cast was due to the fact that DT “wants to affiliate his show and company with high caliber people like me.” Through her apathetic behavior, we definitely have reason to believe that she didn’t want the job. However, I hope to believe that DT would want people to better represent his alma mater in his show and in his company.
Team Excel Assessment
Excel has won their second mission in a row. The team appeared to be operating in a cohesive unit for most of the task and actually came up with something very comical and appealing to various demographics and target markets of Dairy Queen. Excel came up with the idea of Jennie the Genie, very creative and out of the box. The team also made sure to include Dairy Queen branding in their mascot. Mark made the risky transition from Redneck to Drag Queen. We also got to see two members of the team come to life with Adam and his singing skills and James and his athletic skills.
“If I ask you to do something, you do it. When we schedule stuff, don’t be scheduling without us. If you’re hungry don’t whine about it.” - Clay
As compared to be a cross between Napoleon and Hitler, Clay felt the need to make a dominant presence as project manager. Up front, Clay lays out his demands and tries to instill fear, order, and respect. This strategy worked as Excel respected Clay’s leadership. Although, he appeared to be a bit nervous, Clay did a decent job at presenting and coming up with phrases such as “flowing soft serve hair, DQ bling, and royal colors” to support the corporate branding. For his services, Clay won the exemption. I think the LOGO network has found a new spokesperson.
It seems that different people are coming to life as the interview progresses. On Capital Edge, we have seen a Stepford quartet alliance form while Rebecca has lost her someone she diligently fought for, which allows us to question her judgment. It appears that Marshawn is out the gang but this may pay to be a good strategy as the interview unfolds, as it will keep her out of the spotlight and sorority culture that has arisen.
On Excel, the men appear to be working well together but I believe that will soon change as the interview continues as egos will brew and team members will have to fight to save their life. Markus appears to have to learned from his mistakes and left the spotlight. It appears to be anyone’s game in Excel at this point in time.