Lord Sugar explains the relevance of their location and what their task will be: “This place was set up over 150 years ago as a source of inspiration for British designers and manufacturers. What you’re going to do this week is design a new gadget, a household gadget. The success of this task is going to be in that product concept you’re coming up with, because everything after that is going to be a waste of time if the product sucks.”
The candidates must think up a new gadget, have it turned into a prototype and then pitch it to retailers. The team that receives the most orders will win and from the team that loses, one of the candidates will be fired. Which team will create the most desirable household implement and who will be left looking like a tool?
After losing the first task, the pressure is on the girls - Team Sterling - to come up trumps, but it doesn't go well.
They originally decide to focus on a new bathroom gadget and after a long session struggling with ideas, they eventually come up with two product options. Laura suggests a splash screen to put on the side of the bath to stop children from splashing and Katie comes up with a tap cosy enabling people to put their feet up in the bath.
After a focus group consisting of mothers and toddlers clearly advocates the tap cosy, the girls feel they are on to a winner and decide to go ahead with it. However two hours before the designs need to be finalised so that the prototypes can be built overnight, PM Jane, on her way to the design studio with half of the team, starts to have doubts, “perhaps we’re making our product very difficult, we have a bit of a dilemma here.” As they try to make a decision, an unhelpful Maria falls asleep in the car.
Whilst the other half of Sterling discusses tap cosy details with design guru Kelly Hoppen, Jane and the remaining girls decide to go ahead with the splash screen product instead. When Katie rings them at the studio to feedback their design ideas for the tap cosy, she is shocked to discover that they have gone ahead with the splash screen instead, and exclaims, “there’s no point doing market research if we’re just going to ignore it.”
With the prototypes delivered over night, the next morning it’s time for the pitches to the two retail giants.
Pitching to Britain’s biggest online retailer, Sterling become unstuck when PM Jane offers the retailer the opportunity to order one million units, which the retailer points out is a rather big commitment.
Things deteriorate further when the retailer questions the margins that have been quoted for not quite adding up. Stumped, the girls awkwardly try to work out the figures and afterwards Katie expresses her embarrassment, “it was just a bit of a mess. Mentioning a million units, you should have seen their face, that’s a nine million pound order. I don’t want to be laughed at.”
Tune in to The Apprentice 2012 at 9PM tonight to see how the boys do, and which team will come out on top!