Only four candidates remain in the battle to become Lord Sugar’s Young Apprentice, and the finalists are all in it to win it.
Tonight they are summoned to White Hart Lane, home to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, to discover the details of their final task. There, Lord Sugar congratulates them on making it through to the final before explaining:
“In the year when Britain took to the world stage in sports, your task is to come up with a brand new range of sportswear that’s going to go global.”
The candidates are split into teams of two, with Lucy and Ashleigh on one and Patrick and Maria on the other. They are also joined by some familiar faces, with this year’s past candidates returning to help them on the task, which will take place in Manchester.
The teams must design a brand, come up with a logo and strap line, before putting on a showcase event to launch the new brand to a panel of industry experts, including Lord Sugar himself.
It’s their final chance to secure Lord Sugar’s £25,000 investment, but who will prove their potential and be crowned this year’s Young Apprentice?
ASHLEIGH AND LUCY’S BRAND IDEAS RUN ON DIFFERENT TRACKS
The two finalists on each team must work together as joint Project Managers. Ashleigh and Lucy quickly decide that their brand will be for the streetwear market, as it is an area that they can relate to.
Ashleigh visits a training centre for urban street sport to conduct market research. The focus group tell her that ethics is important to them and that they should focus on substance over style. Observing, Karren Brady says: “I’ve been working in the sports industry for over 20 years and if Ashleigh listens to this focus group and grasps the inspiration, the motivation, the credibility and the ethics, she could build a sports brand image that could go global. If she doesn’t listen she hasn’t got a hope in hell.”
Ashleigh explains the focus group feedback to Lucy; however Lucy is keen to make sure the brand is “cool”. Andrew feels that Lucy should stand her ground with Ashleigh, saying: “If Ash has got an opinion and Lucy’s got an opinion, it’s Ash’s opinion that’s going to win.”
When the girls try to select a brand name, their different outlooks become apparent, with Ashleigh telling Lucy: “Me and you are on different pages. I’m trying to go with what the market research told me. They don’t want a crap name that doesn’t mean anything.” Lucy responds: “I’m not trying to come up with crap names here; I’m literally just trying to come up with names!”
Eventually they opt to call their brand Release, although Lucy remains unconvinced. Ashleigh reflects: “I feel like I’m taking a much more grown-up approach to this task than Lucy is. I listened to the market research because that’s what people want, I fed that back to Lucy and it just went straight over her head I think.”
PATRICK AND MARIA DON’T RIDE IN TANDEM
Patrick and Maria agree to focus on the cycling market for their brand, attempting to make it trendy and young.
From the start Nick Hewer is unsure about how well the two will work together as a team, commenting: “We’re in the final and Patrick and Maria have been teamed up together. Who is in charge? They both are. Who is really in charge? Maria.”
Deciding on brand name CYC, Maria explains her ambitions: “I really do feel like taking a risk by going for a slightly more urban market, to rebrand cycling. It’s going to grab the attention of the industry experts and Lord Sugar much more than playing it safe. We’re at the final stages of the process now; if you don’t take risks you’re just foolish.”
The teams must each create viral campaigns and have access to a database of singers, actors and dancers. For CYC’s, Patrick is keen to go with a 50 person choir, as he feels they need a lot of people to create an impact. Maria is against the idea as she emphasises: “We’re looking for young people; 50 people in a choir we’re going to have some grannies. We want to rebrand cycling and make it cool. Why are we going to have 50 people when half of them could be over 40? I’m sick of arguing about this but I’ve made my point very clear.”
Patrick is unimpressed with Maria’s attitude, saying: “She’s so aggressive.” Determined, he decides to go ahead and book the choir, stating: “Me and Maria are in the same team but we’re also competition. This is the final and I need to show Lord Sugar that I have a voice too.”
Maria is appalled when Patrick tells her of his actions, complaining: “Flip me! That is so bloody sly, flip me Patrick, the least you could have done is consult me. I hope you enjoy when we lose.”
After shooting the viral video, Patrick is left confident about his decision, saying: “I think it went amazingly well, everybody stopped and looked, we got a lot of attention and everybody’s drawn to us. It proved Maria’s thing about the choir being old is not right.”
BOTH TEAMS HAVE A SPORTING CHANCE AT THE PRESENTATIONS
With garments branded and videos ready to go viral, it’s time for the two teams to launch their sportswear brands to the industry experts. They are pitching to a mixture of marketing experts, representatives from top global brands, Rio Ferdinand, and Lord Sugar.
First up, it’s Maria and Patrick with their cycling brand CYC. When questioned about their brand colours being similar to those used for Wimbledon, the team admit they have only just noticed that. They are also asked about how they are planning on keeping their product cheap but also of high quality.
Next, it’s Ashleigh and Lucy’s turn. When it comes to questions, they are asked about the ethical claim they make around the brand, as well as how they will translate the logo globally.
With the two pitches both getting positive and negative feedback, there’s a tricky decision ahead, as the four finalists get set to play hardball with Lord Sugar in the boardroom.
Tune in to see who Lord Sugar picks as his Young Apprentice.
Young Apprentice 2012 airs at 8PM tonight on BBC One.