When someone says ‘English sparkling wine’ to you, what do you think of?
If, like the majority of people, you imagine a pint of Buckfast with an alka seltzer dropped into it, you’re wrong. It’s more like Lambrini.
And who better to raise your awareness of the range and versatility of English wines than a group of Apprentice contestants, half of whom don’t like wine, and the other half don’t know what wine is, or- in the case of Adam- probably think it’s some kind of brand name.
The brief was fairly straightforward: create a marketing campaign (and associated video) to advertise English wine. Why Scottish wines didn’t get a look in is a bit of a mystery. It’s possible the Scots threatened open warfare if Adam, Jenna and Stephen were allowed anywhere near their products after they poisoned the population of Edinburgh in episode six.
Tom was chosen to captain Team Ohdoesitreallymatteranymore due to his wine knowledge. Luckily for everyone, his wine knowledge turned out to be slightly more professional than the fan-based basic understanding of graffiti he demonstrated in the street art task, and didn’t just consist of him throwing in random buzzwords he’d picked up at conventions.
“Yeah, wow, so I’m a big fan of this wine. It’s so edgy and postmodern. I really like…er…tannins. They’re totally rad. Oh hey, cool, I think I read about this Cabernet variety- wasn’t it featured in the latest copy of Urban Vineyard Enthusiasts Monthly?’
And so on.
Amusingly-named bull impersonator Ricky Martin was voted project manager of Team Whocarestheymixthemupeveryweek. He ended up with Stephen and Jenna in his team, two people so dim that there’s a chance their combined stupidity has merged and actually become sentient in its own right.
To be fair, that’s the only real way to explain Adam, who had to have the concept of Champagne patiently explained to him by Tom. “It’s a sort of sparkling wine,” he said. “What, like a Hoover?” asked Adam.
Who knows what’s going on in Adam’s head. It’s entirely possible there’s a nesting family of voles in there playing havoc with the wiring.
One thing’s for sure though: Adam’s a likeable, down to Earth and decent chap with a real desire to learn. Unlike Stephen, who is almost aggressively illogical. In the street art task, he suggested the urban graffiti maestro they’d invited along to the gallery to add a bit of spectacle be hidden away in a back room and not shown to anyone. You could argue he was trying to create a bit of Banksy mystique, but equal weight should be given to the argument that he’s an utter tool.
In this task he accompanied Gabrielle to Tesco to do a bit of research on how wines were marketed, but instead ended up getting foam-spittingly annoyed that they didn’t have an in-house wine expert to talk them through vintages and flavours. He was entirely deaf to Gabrielle’s repeated explanations that they were just there to look at the labelling.
In related news, Tesco also don’t have personal shoppers or an on-site spa. Quelle horreur!
Things went downhill for Team Ricky from there. For some unknown reason, he put rattle-voiced Jenna in charge of making their advert. Apprentice adverts are tricky at the best of times, as candidates usually have to balance their utter lack of creativity and inherent bad taste against…um…
Yep, that’s the problem right there. It’s a seesaw of doom that can never, ever end well (with the exception of Azhar’s amazing Disco Fandango in the exercise video task).
Jenna came up with a video concept so deeply, brand-woundingly terrible it’s a surprise that the producers of every single English wine haven’t launched a class action lawsuit against the BBC. It featured a spitting bride, a giant throne and the phrase ‘yuck! This isn’t the English sparkling wine that I asked for!’
The only way it could have been worse is if she’d followed it up with ‘oh no, actually it is. This is terrible. What on Earth was I thinking?’
Adam and Jade were in charge of Team Tom’s marginally better, but entirely vacuous ‘attractive young people having a party and clinking glasses’ advert, which on the ad cliché scale ranks slightly higher than having a chisel-jawed man smugly stroke his chin in a shaving foam advert.
Purely due to the fact that their efforts were marginally less terrible, Team Tom lived to fight another day.
Jenna got the boot due to being about as good at making adverts as The Incredible Hulk is at flower arranging, but Stephen survived to next round. If there was any call for a double firing, that was it: he could have gone on to a lucrative career as Tesco’s first ever English wine sommelier.