Lower Head


E-Marketing Performance Blog

Lessons From The Apprentice (5.6)

Apprentice Logo

The Candidates

Synergy: Allie, Andrea, Brent, Michael, Pepi, Roxanne, Sean, Stacy, Tammy

Gold Rush: Bryce, Charmaine, Dan, Lee, Lenny, Leslie, Summer, Tarek, Theresa


Charmaine expressed her disappointment that Tarek keeps returning from the boardroom despite what she believes has been his miserable performances and inability to be a team player.

Tarek announces his belief that he keeps getting called to the board room (regardless if he does good or bad) because he’s the strongest player on the team and the others feel they need to get rid of him in order to win. This is pure delusional thinking, especially for a man who received a verbal lashing from Trump about being one of the stupidest Mensa members on the planet. Tarek must have viewed this as complimentary!

Bryce steps up to be PM for Gold Rush and immediately gets to work uniting the team for a win while Lee again takes his leave for another Jewish holiday.

The Task:

The teams were given the task of creating a jingle for Arby’s. I was immediately reminded of an old Simpsons episode where a group of kids were stranded on an island. After several days without food one of the kids moans, “I’m so hungry; I could eat at Arby’s.”

Synergy: Sean steps up to lead Synergy and first order of business is to meet with the Arby ‘s executives, bringing the whole team along.

Roxanne came up with a quick line that immediately got team approval with other team members adding their own lines to the jingle as they head to the studio to lay it down.

Gold Rush: Gold Rush also had a scheduled meeting with the Arby’s executive but got his team there 25 minutes late. Bryce and his team seemed oblivious to being late and when questioned by Arby’s CEO he ignored the question trying to move into the task before them. The executives seemed none to appreciative and finally got Bryce to apologize for being late after offering a lame excuse that they don’t know the area well enough to get to meetings on time.

The team brainstorming session started off a bit rocky without anybody really able to come up with a creative line. Lenny confessed he didn’t even know what a jingle was, which is kind of hard to believe for anybody who’s been in this country for more than a few months. Charmaine and Leslie were able to come up with a jingle and a tune with Lenny contributing the idea of using a chicken clucking sound in the song… and idea that was soundly rejected. In the studio Tarek took over as Creative Directory.

As Gold Rush’s jingle came together it ended up with a blues-grass type vibe. Pigeon-holing your jingle to a certain time period or obvious musical style is a risky move. They better hope that this style works for the Arby’s corporation.

What I Might Have Done:

Since this task was more about musical creativity than it was marketing ability, I don’t have anything to add. My first order of business would probably have been to hire a professional jingle writer.

The result:

Synergy was up first. Their jingle was a hit to the audience and even got Trump cutting a rug.

Bryce takes the stage to introduce Gold Rush and ends up talking about how the team has “worked together for the first time in a long time.” This should be filed into the “more info than they need” category. Their jingle also seemed to please the audience but to a lesser degree.

The execs felt that Gold Rush, while having a great jingle, missed the mark in two ways. The first was the musical style chosen and the second was the fact that the jingle talked about Arby’s chicken as being better than the competition rather than being the ONLY natural chicken available anywhere. That was a big point the executives made to both teams in their initial meetings.

The execs chose Synergy as the clear winner.

Back in the suite Bryce showed true leadership potential as he gathered his team together to thank them for their hard work. Instead of the usual backbiting and whispering about who should be fired, Bryce united the team even more with this positive and complimentary talk. Even Lenny got into the spirit of thinks offering himself as a possible sacrifice. It will be interesting to see if this atmosphere of camaraderie holds in the boardroom.

The Boardroom:

The tone between the players in the boardroom was probably the most civil I’ve seen on the show since the beginning. The team remained pretty united even when pressed with the “who would you fire” question. When asked, Bryce called out Lenny as the one who contributed the least. Lenny agreed going back to his excuse that he didn’t know what a jingle was. This excuse didn’t fly with Bill or Carolyn.

Trump called out Charmaine for missing a key component in the lyrics and Tarek for developing the music. Bryce stood behind them 100% stating that without their input they would have been left with nothing. Ultimately Bryce took responsibility for approving what they came up with.

Bill brought up the fact that the team was late for the meeting with the execs, something that Trump didn’t know.

Trump asked Lee if it was fair that he got a pass on a second task because of his religion. Trump went on to say that life isn’t fair. Here trump gave the impression that Lee was vulnerable so when Bryce was asked to bring in two people Lee and Lenny were chosen to come back into the boardroom.

On their return, Trump seemed perplexed that Lenny and Lee were chosen instead of Charmaine and Tarek. It was their ideas that ended up failing. Bryce admirable stood behind them and noted that Lenny and Lee were brought in solely because they contributed the least.

I rarely have a problem with they way Trump reacts in the boardroom (though I know many do) but today is the exception. Trump didn’t give Bryce a chance to answer why Lee should be brought in and when Bryce finally did get a chance to talk Trump kept trying to interrupt him.

My personal belief is that Bryce did the right thing. I would rather have two people who worked hard and came up short than two people who didn’t work hard at all. I’m not saying that Lee deserves to be fired for his religious holiday observance, but why should he be immune from taking responsibility from the loss. The fact is that he was not there and therefore contributed even less to the task than Lenny. Like Trump says, life isn’t always fair so there is no reason why Lee should be given complete and total immunity.

Bryce, while blundering hugely being late to the executive meeting proved to be a very effective leader, one that this show has rarely seen. He did ultimately bare the responsibility for the loss and was summarily fired.

But he did get the last word in to the viewers in the cab saying that he wishes Trump would listen more! Bryce is right.

Apprentice 5.6

Lessons Learned:

  • Be aware of the clock and don’t be late to meetings… especially with people more important than you.
  • Don’t make excuses for your mistakes. Admit them, apologize and move on. Excuses are for the weak.
  • Don’t talk about the negatives of your team when making your presentation, even if it’s leading to a positive. The bosses don’t need to know that the team hasn’t been getting along up until now. This kind of talk only plants seeds of doubt in the final outcome.

What would you have done?

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

2 Responses to Lessons From The Apprentice (5.6)

  1. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney deGeyter says:

    Igor, I can’t say I disagree with anything you said here. Regardling Lee, I can’t say he should have been fired, but on the basis of who contributed and who didn’t on that task, Lee didn’t. He had valid reasons, but nonetheless…

    Let’s not forget, Trump planted the seed that Lee was vulnerable. I think Bryce was simply following Trumps lead, only to have Trump pull the rug out from under him. Not saying that’s unfair, but that’s what it was.

    You’re right, Bryce did fail and ultimately I don’t think there was anyone else to blame. Even if he did bring the “right” people to the boardroom he still would bear the responsibility. While the task failed, it didn’t fail miserably, therefore neither Charmaine nor Tarek would have gotten fired, unless Trump fired them both, but I don’t see that happening.

    Ultimately, Bryce made some good team leadership moves, but also some poor project management moves. Trump should have allowed him to explain himself some more and I was glad to see him stand up to Trump for that reason.

  2. Igor M. says:

    Stoney … we’re on a different sides of the boat now 🙂

    Regarding the religious holidays … you can’t do anything about it. If an employer wants to hire a religious person, that employer should understand that this will happen. If Trump allowed Lee to be on the show … he should not have a problem with this issue. If he does, he should not consider hiring anyone who would leave for a religious holiday. Should people work on Christmas? Should we hire people with a religion that has the least number of holidays?

    Now .. Lenny … yes, he didn’t help the team, let’s not forget the language barrier. I’ve been in this country for over 13 years … can’t write a jingle (but I know what it is) 🙂

    Carolyn was right … it’s good that the person puts effort BUT that doesn’t mean that their effort can not be poor in terms of quality.

    Here is why I agree with Trump for firing Bryce:

    1) Late! … huge mistake. Plus he was rude to the execs. You can’t just say “let’s move one” when someone is telling you that your behavior in inappropriate.

    2) The biggest point about their brand being unique was missed. They didn’t ask the most important question…. “What is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) How dumb is that?

    3) Bryce approved EVERYTHING that we saw. Can a CEO blame all of his workers when he is trying to explain to the board of directors why the company failed?

    4) Bryce took the wrong people to the board room. Think … Lee would not be fired or else the show would take a huge, negative hit. Lenny is kind of an interesting figure on the show and his previous assignments were done pretty well. Now … the other 2 individuals have been slammed by Trump multiple times. He wanted to fire them before, WHY would you not take them in? So what that they came up with the ideas? The ideas didn’t win … it’s their fault!

    Stoney … still like your blog though. 😉