What a load of old pants!

True to form, this week’s branding task on The Apprentice had me curled up in the foetal position for much of it, gnawing at the furniture.

Whilst the appeal of the show for me has always been as a piece of proper car-crash telly – an object lesson in how not to do things – the branding task is just a little too close to home and never fails to leave me feeling nauseous.

I doubt it’s required viewing for Edward de Bono, but someone ought to give him a nudge to check out this week’s show on the BBC iPlayer. He couldn’t hope to find a better case for his Six Thinking Hats methodology than the disastrous performance of the Ignite team.

Whichever way you cut it, parallel thinking could well have avoided the fundamental problems for Ignite and ultimately saved project manager Kimberly’s bacon…

Crap concept? Having everyone’s attention focused exclusively on creativity, in the first instance, might have helped to stimulate more ideas. However ridiculous, the “Pants Man” concept was the only one on the table, effectively making all subsequent efforts an exercise in turd-polishing.

Negativity dragging everyone down and ruining productivity? Kimberly would’ve had the ideal pretext to put Philip and Lorraine back in their boxes (“That’s ‘Black Hat’ thinking right there. Can we save that ‘til later?”), ultimately buying more time to spend with the packaging designer.

Wrong people brought back to the boardroom? Having everyone thinking in parallel would also have thrown into sharp relief the complete absence of creative input from Howard and Noorul. As it was, they could afford to take a back seat and hide behind all the arguments.

Given recent posts on this and other blogs, regarding the case for bringing a broader business management perspective to brand strategy, it’s also interesting to note that Kimberly is a marketing expert, whereas winning team captain, Kate, is a psychologist by background.

Just goes to show, eh? Her team’s efforts were the best I can ever remember seeing for this particular task on The Apprentice, and it was by far the most harmonious performance of the series so far.


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