The Apprentice Episode 7: Advertising Task (Re-branding Finland) - Key Business Lessons for Entrepreneurs

The Apprentice Karren Brady looking perplexed.

Karren Brady looking perplexed.

BBC/Boundless

For Week Seven, Lord Sugar tells the candidates to pack an overnight bag and head to the London Stadium in Stratford, site of the 2012 Olympics and home to U.K. Athletics and West Ham Football club.

Lord Sugar reveals that they will be re-branding the country of Finland—yes, the whole of Finland! Finland is known as a winter holiday destination, but for this task the candidates must create an advertising campaign to entice U.K. visitors during the summer months. 

The Apprentice Episode 7: The Task

Half the team head to Finland to film the TV advert, whilst the rest create a marketing campaign and a digital billboard to be displayed at the iconic Piccadilly Circus. The candidates must then pitch their advertising campaign to leading industry experts, including the head of tourism for Finland.

During the filming of the advert, temperatures soar on one team and the other makes a big splash.

Going into the pitches, both teams must convince the panel that they really understand all Finland has to offer, not just as a country, but as a summer destination.

The Apprentice Episode 7: Key Skills

This task required a number of key skills that are essential in business—below I have articulated each skill and its relevance in real life business scenarios.

This is an advertising task and advertising requires you to think of a number of essential components almost simultaneously.

1) Target Demographic

Such an important choice in business, you cant be all and everything to everyone!

This is crucial when choosing your business product or service—a few of the key questions you need to ask yourself is: what problem are you solving? Who are you solving it for? Where do they currently find their solution? and what can you do better?

In this scenario you are trying to encourage travellers to consider a new destination or change the perspective of a destination to encourage them to book. So you have to define who you want to attract (age, gender, culture, class, budget etc) and how can you convert them. To take this into the realms of advertising you would need to storyboard it so that you have a plan...

(As an aside, to the man that used to hang out with a Finnish girl at university, that isn't really a focus group!)

2) Storyboarding

This is essential in advertising—let’s think about the target demographic and what you wish to convey within the limitations/confines set. Interestingly when you think of an advert or video, you think of the ones you may have seen on TV but you aren't always cognisant of the real cost and the reality of being on The Apprentice. There is always going to wild thoughts that are wide ranging and expensive and then there are ideas that you can actually afford. This is relevant on The Apprentice and also in real life when creating a small business or bootstrapping.

So this is why you need to define and understand the key USPs (unique selling points) that you wish to highlight. If you are catering to a certain demographic i.e. LGBTQ+ community, you need to brainstorm more than just one Pride event that happens in one week in the summer. You have to think of the other USPs that are unique to Finland or may be interesting to this demographic and plan with the audience in mind.

It is easy to stray in the moment when shooting, especially if production or directing is not your job and that is why a storyboard is important to help to keep you on track!

3) Filming and Editing

Sounds easy enough but it does actually take quite a while and a lot of skill, there is a fine balance between filming everything and not filming enough.

Moreover, it is so important that you make sure the team understand the mission. I say this from personal experience, recently one of my mentees instructed a professional filming team and did a storyboarding exercise and they still went in the wrong (an alternative) direction. The result? The mentee has had to find the money to record the advert all over again! The moral of that story is, make sure the team understand the mission and you are there to guide, reaffirm and step in with some confident redirection back to the mission!

With this task in mind: if you are trying to showcase a country, then showcase a variety of elements that the country are known for or are worth visiting, as opposed to a particular aspect i.e. a pride festival or a hot tub.

And color is an important choice in advertising—don't use black to convey 24 sunlight. Think of the adverts and logos of the biggest brands, those colors were chosen for a reason and there is lots of psychological analysis on how color affects consumers.

4) In a pitch

Remember what you are selling and who to. Often the pitches that fall on deaf ears and the ones who haven't prepared themselves appropriately by asking: who am I pitching to, what am I pitching, what are the selling points, why would they want to buy from me and what problem do I solve? The problem in this situation was clearly defined, they want to change the perspective of Finland and they want more tourists to visit all year round. To which effect you certainly do not pitch a ad that only focuses in one week of the 52 available.

Pitching is an art form, I have said this before in previous articles on The Apprentice, but it is a skill that can be practised and mastered. For some pitching is natural but not for most. So make sure you contribute effectively in a pitch, don't speak for the sake of it but equally speak because you are offering value. Think every time, how does this statement contribute value.

5) Leadership

This comes up week after week, now I will be fair and clear when I say that leading in a competitive and filmed environment is not easy! Everyone is jostling for position and prepared to throw one another under the proverbial bus.

The art of a good leader is to utilise your teams skills to cater to their best abilities. If you cannot pitch but someone else can, it is the job of a good leader to delegate accordingly. For the sake of the team!

The Apprentice Episode 7: The Reality

There are a few things to think about from this task in addition to the above, so here is a round of quick fire bullet points:

  • This poor PM, Dean, has no ideas. Part of being a leader is about being creative and being “ahead of the game” with your “head in the game.” Yes, you hire for the attributes you may not personally possess but you do need to have something about you too.
  • If you try to speak in another language in a pitch and its their mother tongue, you probably don't need to translate!

  • Business is one big advert, your personal brand is arguably your largest and most obvious billboard. I have bought from people in the past not because the product or service was superior or even (in some cases) wanted - but because of the person selling.
  • Final random musing, I wonder how much Finland paid for this huge promo opportunity, I am not sure it fared as well as South Africa in the earlier episode.

The Apprentice Episode 7: Who Deserved to be Fired?

*Spoiler Alert* If you haven't watched this episode, stop reading now.

The team lost because they were distracted by advertising a singular event in the country as opposed to the whole country. Advertising requires clarity, be clear on what you are advertising and who you are advertising to. If you loose focus on that, then the boardroom was always going to be sticky. Although to be frank, neither ad campaign was very good.

Did Karen really say “put them in their place and leave them there?” with reference to Thomas, that is fighting talk!

Jemelin was fired —to be honest, as annoying or wrong as she may have been... at least she was doing some work. What is Ryan-Mark contributing? He contributed a fantastic (slightly begging) speech... let’s see if he makes it as PM next week (and if anyone will vote for him)!

See you next week.

Weird aside ... who is this new voiceover?

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For Week Seven, Lord Sugar tells the candidates to pack an overnight bag and head to the London Stadium in Stratford, site of the 2012 Olympics and home to U.K. Athletics and West Ham Football club.

Lord Sugar reveals that they will be re-branding the country of Finland—yes, the whole of Finland! Finland is known as a winter holiday destination, but for this task the candidates must create an advertising campaign to entice U.K. visitors during the summer months. 

The Apprentice Episode 7: The Task

Half the team head to Finland to film the TV advert, whilst the rest create a marketing campaign and a digital billboard to be displayed at the iconic Piccadilly Circus. The candidates must then pitch their advertising campaign to leading industry experts, including the head of tourism for Finland.

During the filming of the advert, temperatures soar on one team and the other makes a big splash.

Going into the pitches, both teams must convince the panel that they really understand all Finland has to offer, not just as a country, but as a summer destination.

The Apprentice Episode 7: Key Skills

This task required a number of key skills that are essential in business—below I have articulated each skill and its relevance in real life business scenarios.

This is an advertising task and advertising requires you to think of a number of essential components almost simultaneously.

1) Target Demographic

Such an important choice in business, you cant be all and everything to everyone!

This is crucial when choosing your business product or service—a few of the key questions you need to ask yourself is: what problem are you solving? Who are you solving it for? Where do they currently find their solution? and what can you do better?

In this scenario you are trying to encourage travellers to consider a new destination or change the perspective of a destination to encourage them to book. So you have to define who you want to attract (age, gender, culture, class, budget etc) and how can you convert them. To take this into the realms of advertising you would need to storyboard it so that you have a plan...

(As an aside, to the man that used to hang out with a Finnish girl at university, that isn't really a focus group!)

2) Storyboarding

This is essential in advertising—let’s think about the target demographic and what you wish to convey within the limitations/confines set. Interestingly when you think of an advert or video, you think of the ones you may have seen on TV but you aren't always cognisant of the real cost and the reality of being on The Apprentice. There is always going to wild thoughts that are wide ranging and expensive and then there are ideas that you can actually afford. This is relevant on The Apprentice and also in real life when creating a small business or bootstrapping.

So this is why you need to define and understand the key USPs (unique selling points) that you wish to highlight. If you are catering to a certain demographic i.e. LGBTQ+ community, you need to brainstorm more than just one Pride event that happens in one week in the summer. You have to think of the other USPs that are unique to Finland or may be interesting to this demographic and plan with the audience in mind.

It is easy to stray in the moment when shooting, especially if production or directing is not your job and that is why a storyboard is important to help to keep you on track!

3) Filming and Editing

Sounds easy enough but it does actually take quite a while and a lot of skill, there is a fine balance between filming everything and not filming enough.

Moreover, it is so important that you make sure the team understand the mission. I say this from personal experience, recently one of my mentees instructed a professional filming team and did a storyboarding exercise and they still went in the wrong (an alternative) direction. The result? The mentee has had to find the money to record the advert all over again! The moral of that story is, make sure the team understand the mission and you are there to guide, reaffirm and step in with some confident redirection back to the mission!

With this task in mind: if you are trying to showcase a country, then showcase a variety of elements that the country are known for or are worth visiting, as opposed to a particular aspect i.e. a pride festival or a hot tub.

And color is an important choice in advertising—don't use black to convey 24 sunlight. Think of the adverts and logos of the biggest brands, those colors were chosen for a reason and there is lots of psychological analysis on how color affects consumers.

4) In a pitch

Remember what you are selling and who to. Often the pitches that fall on deaf ears and the ones who haven't prepared themselves appropriately by asking: who am I pitching to, what am I pitching, what are the selling points, why would they want to buy from me and what problem do I solve? The problem in this situation was clearly defined, they want to change the perspective of Finland and they want more tourists to visit all year round. To which effect you certainly do not pitch a ad that only focuses in one week of the 52 available.

Pitching is an art form, I have said this before in previous articles on The Apprentice, but it is a skill that can be practised and mastered. For some pitching is natural but not for most. So make sure you contribute effectively in a pitch, don't speak for the sake of it but equally speak because you are offering value. Think every time, how does this statement contribute value.

5) Leadership

This comes up week after week, now I will be fair and clear when I say that leading in a competitive and filmed environment is not easy! Everyone is jostling for position and prepared to throw one another under the proverbial bus.

The art of a good leader is to utilise your teams skills to cater to their best abilities. If you cannot pitch but someone else can, it is the job of a good leader to delegate accordingly. For the sake of the team!

The Apprentice Episode 7: The Reality

There are a few things to think about from this task in addition to the above, so here is a round of quick fire bullet points:

  • This poor PM, Dean, has no ideas. Part of being a leader is about being creative and being “ahead of the game” with your “head in the game.” Yes, you hire for the attributes you may not personally possess but you do need to have something about you too.
  • If you try to speak in another language in a pitch and its their mother tongue, you probably don't need to translate!

  • Business is one big advert, your personal brand is arguably your largest and most obvious billboard. I have bought from people in the past not because the product or service was superior or even (in some cases) wanted - but because of the person selling.
  • Final random musing, I wonder how much Finland paid for this huge promo opportunity, I am not sure it fared as well as South Africa in the earlier episode.

The Apprentice Episode 7: Who Deserved to be Fired?

*Spoiler Alert* If you haven't watched this episode, stop reading now.

The team lost because they were distracted by advertising a singular event in the country as opposed to the whole country. Advertising requires clarity, be clear on what you are advertising and who you are advertising to. If you loose focus on that, then the boardroom was always going to be sticky. Although to be frank, neither ad campaign was very good.

Did Karen really say “put them in their place and leave them there?” with reference to Thomas, that is fighting talk!

Jemelin was fired —to be honest, as annoying or wrong as she may have been... at least she was doing some work. What is Ryan-Mark contributing? He contributed a fantastic (slightly begging) speech... let’s see if he makes it as PM next week (and if anyone will vote for him)!

See you next week.

Weird aside ... who is this new voiceover?

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Bianca Miller-Cole is a serial entrepreneur, personal branding expert, best selling author and speaker who helps ambitious people to thrive in their career and business

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