Sunday, 13 June 2010

Junior Apprentice: The Final

The final task. 6.45am, and Arjun's in his jammies, answering the phone.  They're to meet Lord Shugagh at an aquarium... GREAT!  They have to design a new kind of shark, and sell it to Hamley's!  Looking forward to this!... oh, wait, no.  It's about water.  They have to design a new kind of water! More H, less O!... Oh.  No.  It's bottled water.  They have to design a bottle of water, and market it, and make an advert and stuff.

They are split into boys (Arjun and Tim) and girls (Kirsty and Zoe).  This being Week the Final, everyone who's been put out so far is back to lend a hand, and there's an excruciating moment when they have to pick teams, and Jordan is left standing all alone until Zoe says 'We'll happily have Jordan', and I like her a little bit more, because she may have saved us from watching him cry.  So, the boys have Rhys Rosser, Adam-all-better-now and Emma Walker (16, sells eggs and sweets), and the girls have Hannah (favourite colour: blue), Hibah (16 going on 65) and Jordan-Lloyd-Grossman-de Courcy.

Did you know we spend £2 billion pounds on bottled water per year in the UK?  I think that's about the same amount that it would take to supply clean drinking water to the entire developing world.  Just sayin'.

They also have to chose between 8 types of water.  Yes.  These include: Mineral, Table, Sparkling, Sterilised and 'Ozonated'.  Not that it ends up mattering much, as we see later, but they spend a while sipping out of glasses and remarking on how similar it all tastes, or doesn't taste, since it's water.

TeamArjunTim are aiming for the late 20's market, and also Arjun has manned up since last week.

TeamZoeKirsty are surveying a table of bottles of water, and thinking they'll go for the teen market, although they're not sure it exists.  But they could start it.  They like the ozonated water.  It's all terribly serious.

Meanwhile Tim has thought up the advert, and is acting it out to Arjun.  It's all to do with some guy getting naked.  KirstyZoe's lot are running through fountains asking people how they feel in water.

Kirsty comes up with the name Hidr8, which Zoe doesn't like, because it's too much trying to be 'down with the kids'.  She and Hibah don't use '8' on Facebook and MSN; they use full words.  Only year 4s shorten words.  Well, excuse us.  Hibah suggests 'Splash' and then 'Drip Drop'.  Zoe phones Kirsty to tell her they have thought of a name, and then also that she has had an idea for the logo, which she carefully describes over the phone, to Kirsty's barely concealed disgust.

Zoe and Hibah then go to see some footballing teenagers, to ask about whether they like the idea of 'Drip Drop'.  Two points:
1) They spend quite some time trying to work out how to fit in with a group of teenagers.  Like the way a 30-year-old might think when they're asked to take the Youth Group for a few weeks.  But... they are teenagers.  I imagine not entirely typical ones, but surely they can have a conversation with other teenagers without resorting to 'yeah, right innit'?  They've had enough practice with LorShugah if they want all that.  And there'll be TV cameras on them, so it's not like the nasty chavs are going to stab them or something.
2) The last time Zoe and Hibah spoke to a 'focus group' we ended up with the cardboard camping cupboard.  Just saying.

Obviously the teenagers love the water, which you tend to when you're being interviewed by Zoe.

TimArjun aren't getting on well with brand names.  Emma wants something that doesn't sound like water.  Like the way you wouldn't call a car 'Car'.  But you would, says Rhys; the 'Ford Ka'. Tim and Adam are interviewing yoga people and asking why they buy water.  To drink it, basically.  Somehow they come up with 'A Bottle of Water' as their name, which is quite good, and fits with Tim's naked man advert.

Zoe and Hibah are now with Rael, who's coming up with a jingle.  So far, they have 'When you feel like you wanna flop, have yourself some Drip Drop', but Zoe thinks Rael's tune is too country.  Kirsty, meanwhile, is creating a logo, which is yellow, with swirly bits and the name in black.  It looks quite good, but Zoe phones her and starts talking about Jackson Pollock, the artist, who said that colours which go together are 'blue and orange' or 'purple and yellow'.  Hannah comes into her own at this point, with the most impressively bland 'Cheers yeah, good input, fanks' we have seen in quite some time.  Then Zoe spells out Pollock.

Arjun's lot are still struggling with an idea for a logo.  Tim and Adam are in a cafe eating chips, but when Arjun calls they pretend to be busy.  Arjun suggests a wave for a logo, and Tim is utterly bemused for a few seconds, until it finally clicks... 'Oh, a wave, like on the sea?'.  Yes Tim.  Not just Arjun's hand saying hello.  A water wave.  Because it's about water, yes?  Good.

So overnight some poor sod is bottling up the water and sticking the labels on, and at 8am on morning 2, the teams are presented with their samples.  There is much excitement.  Hannah would buy a bottle of Drip Drop. Tim sings a little song about water.

Off to a housing estate, where Kirsty is directing the Drip Drop commercial.  Two wee lads drop a bottle of Drip Drop just out of reach, and then it gets nicked by a girl.  As LorShugagh says later, it 'looks loik a muggin on a cancil estayte'.  Still, they have fun.

Meanwhile in a park, Arjun is directing a bloke to run naked, and is getting quite excited.  He nearly gets beaten up by a surly extra who was hired by mistake and came all the way from Hertfordshire for... nothing.  Eventually Arjun gets him to be a passer-by, which seems to calm him.  Karren is getting all maternal about Arjun, as I think are most of the nation.

While filming is going on, Zoe and Tim are surveying their launch venues: a couple of empty rooms which they can decorate as they please.  Zoe's still trying to be wif it and down wiv da kids 'n that, and has booked the 'Graffiti Kings' to come and draw her logo on the wall. She hasn't thought to bring the actual logo along though.  But it's not like it's hard to describe... it's yellow, with 'Drip Drop' in black writing.  Like, seriously, get Kirsty to take a photo and send it over, it's not 1986.  Or, you know, draw a doodle on a sheet of A4 and glare at him till he agrees to use it.

Tim is going for the simple approach; just big bottles all along the wall.

Day 3 - Launch Time.  Miraculously, the Graffiti Kings have managed to reproduce the logo correctly.  Zoe is pleased with her doodle, although it is also possible that they've used the crate of actual bottles of Drip Drop that have appeared in the corner.

During rehearsals, all the pitches are going badly, and everyone's shouting, but eventually it's 7pm, and the Big Retailers arrive.  They're starting at Tim & Arjun's place, with The Bottle Of Water.  The concept is simple - getting back to basics.  The advert is really good; mercifully they seem to have sidelined Tim's singing, or we would have had another 'Treasure Flakes' moment.

The Retailers are impressed, and then ask stupid questions, which Tim and Arjun fend off well.  Some guy asks which brand they're going to kill to get their brand on shelves.  Tim basically says 'all of them'.  Arjun is offering a 150% profit margin, which they love, although it turns out not to be true, because he's forgotten he might want a cut.

Off to Drip Drop, and we watch the mugging again.  Everyone looks a bit uncomfortable.  Kirsty is keen to point out that teenagers will be mad about introducing ozonated water to the UK.  Some guy asks about their logo, which he thinks looks like petrol.  Yeah, but, it's clear water, so it's obviously not oil, so don't be so STUPID man.  Someone is impressed that they presented without notes, because Ben doesn't do that.  Ha.  Yeah, Ben, IN YOUR FACE!

In the boardroom, we see the transformation that occurs when 60% of the people involved have no chance of winning; they all love Tim and Arjun and Kirsty and Zoe, and think they led brilliantly.  Adam calls Tim and Arjun 'delightful'.  Jordan calls Kirsty and Zoe 'a pleasure to work with'.  Zoe says 'onomatopaeic'.

The ex-people leave, and Arjun, Tim and Kirsty exchange glances nervously, while Zoe fixes LordShugagh with an icy stare.  Then there's a bit of talking backwards and forwards, and after a while we found out that TimandArjun have won, yay!  Zoe and Kirsty leave, hug and cry (Kirsty, obviously, not Zoe).

So TimandArjun go outside and wait while LordShugagh and Nick and Karren talk about them, and then they get called back in.

They have to sell themselves, and Arjun produces a spiel about how great he is and how he should win, and so on and so forth. He talks about the cupcake costume again, and how he wore it for 4 hours and worked from within it.  I hope he has photos, because a LOT of people are going to be hearing the cupcake story from Arjun in the years to come.  Tim looks a bit nervous, and says he'd only packed a week's worth of stuff, and didn't expect to get this far.  He talks about how he used to shear sheep and how nice it was and how it was all worthwhile when he saw the cute ickle lambs being born, but also it's all about the money, especially about the money.  Also, Arjun is a prefect.

It's hard to know for sure: it's always looked like it had to be Arjun for the win, but Tim has come round in the inside lane and it's looking like he might just pip him to the post.  But not that much, because Arjun wins!

His little face lights up, and though we feel sorry for Tim, a rosy hue has settled all around, we get the feeling we're on solid ground, and for a spell or two, no one seems forlorn.

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