Week 5 brings the traditionally hilarious advertising task, with Glenn excitedly taking the 6am phone summons to a creative agency in Fitzrovia (“Guys.. We’re going to Fitzrovia! In LONDON!”).

As the candidates assemble, Ellie’s determined to up her game after a poor performance last week. Glenn’s falling into the time honoured Apprentice trap of considering himself a “creative” type when he hasn’t even shaved patterns or a swastika into his head (“This is my cup of tea. I’m a designer. I create on a day to day basis”). Vincent meanwhile is feeling kind of suave. As always. “I’m going to win today” he purrs. “You know what they say, fifth time lucky” slams Natasha back, desuaving Vincent in an instant.

Lord Sugar sets the teams the task of coming up with an innovative and unique pet food brand and make a TV ad for it; then pitch to in 2 days time to ad agency and pet food industry experts. He stalks off leaving Nick to appoint Project Managers this week. Vincent is put in charge of Logic (Jim, Natasha, Melody, Ellie, Tom), whereas Glenn gets to lead Venture (Susan, Edna, Leon, Helen).

Each team picks a section of the petfood market to pitch to. Logic plump for dogs apparently just because Ellie has a dog and therefore will have lots of top quality blue sky ideas. “How about called a product Gnashers, and it’s to do with dental hygiene?” she chips in. Everyone suddenly notices a crack on the ceiling until she shuts up. Natasha suggests “Healthy treats”, but Vincent is adamant that “treats are occasional”, and comes up with his masterplan, “Pals” (“The dogs eat it and become pals”). There’s an embarrassed silence, before Ellie points out it’s already a pet food and, after consulting his hidden bat computer, Tom adds “It’s the second biggest brand in the world”. Vince flicks his hair, unconcerned; “Oh really. But it’s not the first, is it?” The only person Vincent seems prepared to listen to is Jim, who has installed himself as the Blackadder to Vincent’s stupid Prince George in this task (which isn’t lost on Sugar’s henchman Nick), so for a while we’re in danger of seeing Jedi Jim’s suggestion of “Fur Play” (allegedly for healthy coats, but it sound like a bestiality version of “The Joy of Sex”) becoming a horrifying reality.

On the Venture brainstorming session, cats are the target market and Glenn’s rebranding himself as a caring, sharing creative (“Don’t be concerned about putting ideas out!”), before rolling his eyes and sighing loudly over all the suggestions (I quite like “Cat in a ferrari?”, but Edna’s “Cat with curlers in it’s fur” proves she is truly evil). Zoe becomes obsessed with a dystopian “Planet of the Cats” type scenario, where the cats are in charge, before unconsciously jumping to the conclusion that life as a master species isn’t all it’s knocked up to be (“The cat could have a mortgage, and get married”) – there’s a reason why cats don’t let on just how powerful they are. “So we’re moving away from cats slimming?” asks Helen, as confused as we all are. To camera, Glenn’s confident he can harness these ideas and make something brilliant. “I’m a catalyst” he states (and sadly it is no pun intended or realised).

Vincent doesn’t want to limit his product to just one type of dog, instead visualising an equal opportunities dogfood world. “Every day, every dog” quips Jim, and Vincent’s louche little eyes light up (“Every Dog! I like it!”). They head to their focus group of dog walkers and vets and test out the “Every Dog” idea, to universal disapprobal. “You can’t fit all the things that different dogs need into one tin” explains the vet. Rather than simply ask what the most popular types of dogs are and what would suit them, Vincent decides to simply forget that this conversation ever occured and phones Melody, Tom and Natasha to inform them of the “Every Dog” brand. Melody’s unimpressed and Tom’s internal scan spots a problem (“There’s no niche you’re aiming at”). “I’m going to take a decision on it” deadpans Vincent, “It’s brilliant! We’re going with it”. The team members that aren’t Jim pull faces.

Leon, Zoe and Helen think about branding for Venure, with Leon coming up with “Lucky Fish: the catch of the day” (“You know what guys, shall I just become the apprentice?”). Bizarrely the focus group of lunatic cat lovers all love it (Helen “the cat could be looking at a goldfish in a bowl and then the food lures it away”, Cat Lover: “Ooh we like that, don’t we Tiddles?”).

Elsewhere for Venture, Glenn’s “mind’s going off on the old creative front”, as he comes up with “Catsize”, a nutritional, slimming catfood, with the tag line “See their light” – geddit? Glenn explains: “Your cats lost a loud of weight. Look at her! See, they’re light!”. Groan! Unfortunately Venture’s market research team phone back with the good news about “Lucky Fish” (which I kind of like, it sounds like a dodgy translation), and the wind is nearly knocked out of Glenn’s artistic sails. Rather than have the tantrum he clearly fancies at this vital point, he merely denigrates their idea and asks how they feel about “Catsize”. They don’t like it, so the Project Manager is forced to make a considered decision. He, rather too quickly, chooses Catsize. “Why did we bother going to a focus group?” drones Zoe, ironically sounding like Henry’s Cat on Mogadon.

Whilst Melody, Tom and Ellie get their hands food in the dog food manufacturing lab, Vincent mans the casting couch for man’s best every friend (Vincent: “That’s a beautiful retriver”, Dog owner: “It’s a golden retriever”, Vincent “Pug?”, Pug owner: “Correct”, Vincent (smugly) “‘rayyy!”), with Jim umbilically attached and making ruthless demands of the potential animal stars (“I want that pug to jump”). Scramble, an adorable parson russell terrier steals everyone’s hearts and Vincent is keen to know the cute mutt’s celebrity pedigree (Owner: “He’s done a few adverts, Midsomer Murders” (he’s not black), “all the usual”). “Can I see him on all fours?” asks Vincent. “????” responds the nonplussed owner, forcing Vincent to clarify (“Standing up ,I mean”).

The by now mutinous roving Venture team of Leon, Melody and Helen conduct their cat casting call, dissing a poor furless sphinx cat for not being “mainstream enough” (Leon: “It looks like a chicken.”). Glenn calls them with his “See their light” tag line, and understandably they begin to laugh the hysterical chortle of the damned. “What you laughin at?” gripes Glenn. “It’s CAT SIZE – d’you get it?”. He hands up in a sulk (“They need to be put in their place”) and Leon splutters “That’s made it 100% worse”.
Fed up at people mocking the Project Manager, Glenn phones them back to administer a telling off (“This is business. You should be professional!”), but unfortunately for him he gets to speak to Zoe, a woman with a phone voice that sounds about as fazed as [insert your own favourite inanimate object here. I was going to plump for grass]. “It goes both ways Glenn. You earn respect,” she informs him glassily (or grassily), and waffles over his desperate cries of “Zoe! Zoe!” before cutting him off. Masterful stuff Glenn.

That evening both teams get their product samples. Catsize actually looks quite professional, like little pink sachets of some sort of sex cream. Every Dog looks like, erm, green tins. Both teams have to pick someone to deliver the pitch later, and Vincent selects Melody, with a little help from his right hand man Jim (“You’ll have no problem conveying it”).

Whilst Susan looks on sullenly (I think it was her role in this task), Glenn rather unsurely selects Leon to make the pitch, but Leon’s not comfortable with that. “I’m not sure I can do that for 20 minutes” he confesses. “You need to” Glenn confirms, all stupid decisiveness. Glenn gives Leon five hours to write a killer pitch, so that he has the excuse to take over all artistic control on the Catsize commercial shoot (where Ruby the cat prowls past stacks of cans like a seasoned pro). “I wonder if that’s a strategic move?” angsts a worried Leon. Susan and Edna of course insist that it’s just because Glenn has faith in Leon, but the lanky, lego-haired posho is unconvinced. Glenn and Helen then go to record the voiceover with a callow young male actor (“Can you give the cat a female voice?” “Female? Three long years of drama school for this!”). Helen hates the “See their light” tagline and asks if they can just whisper that bit, but Glenn’s all “No. We’re sticking with it”.

Logic have more of a structure, with Vincent and his Celtic Yes Man laying down the soundtrack for Every Dog, whilst Natasha directs the commercial by showing the dogs just how to run across a garden and ordering Ellie around as though she’s an 18 year old BBC intern with a Northern accent. To be fair she gets the best out of her two canine stars, with Scramble doing his impossibly sweet jumping up and down by the kitchen worksurface routine and the nameless golden retriever greedily wolfing down Every Dog like there’s no tomorrow, as in a retriever’s eyes all dog food is simply “Every Dog Food”. Ellie attempts to contribute a salient point about continuity, but Natasha’s gone into full on shrill media twat mode (“Ellie, yah? I’m taking your comments on board, yah? But I’m just trying to make sure my vision is kept clear, Yah?”) nice that even though both the adverts stars are male, there’s a proper bitch on board. Viewing the advert, JIm declares himself “100% happy with what we’ve achieved”.

It’s pitch time, or by the look of his face, in Leon’s case brown trousers time. To the assembled audience, including representatives from Mars Petcare, Melody confidently but blandly plays buzzword bingo (“A Clear Concept… A Bold Decision.. A product that can be Developed”), but when she rolls the ads it’s clear that everyone is far more impressed by a small bouncy dog. Baldy ad-man asks if it’s a mistake telling most mental pet owners that their dog isn’t unique (which gives me the idea of Every Baby food), but Jim flannels him by countering that their “One size fits all” approach makes it “Easier for people to make an informed decision” (Very Soviet bloc).

Leon conducts his pitch with all the flair of a public schoolboy being asked to point to pictures of genitalia in a sex education class. It’s simultaneously wooden, uninspired and giggly. “It’s about your cat er maybe losing a bit of weight or staying on the right side of healthy.. er the brain aids the er brain er sorry about that..etc” he rambles before rolling the advert to the sound of tumbleweed. “Do you think it’s clear?” interrogates baldy ad man, and Glenn jumps in explaining it’s all crystal clear because “See their light” is a pun and “Catsize” is a play on words. Oh dear. “No-one’s asked how I did?” jokes Leon, as Venture gather for a gloomy postmortem.

Lord Sugar gets his advertising supergrass’s ambiguous opinions (“patronising”, “imagery could have been used better”, “both made the same mistakes of playing into the usual conventions”), before calling the candidates back into the boardroom.

Logic are first under the Lordly bearded walnut’s scrutiny. “We wanted to create something new so went for ‘Everybrand'” Vincent states, wincing slightly when LordSugar, unable to resist giving poor old Vincent a verbal spanking, retorts “I suppose, given your track record, Winalot wasn’t on the agenda”. When it comes to Logic’s advert, even LordSugar loves the small bouncy dog. “Did you starve the other dog?” he chuckles, before asing whose idea “Every Dog” was. Vincent tries to take the credit at first, but it’s eked out slowly that it’s down to Jim (who’s quietly hedging his bets).

Glenn has to explain Venture’s branding next (“More than half the cats in this country are overweight” – really?), but LordSugar doesn’t get”See their light” and finds the advert visually boring. However as he thinks the concept of “slimline catfood” was well thought through and the packaging was seen by the pros as slick enough to go on shelves he declares Venture the winner over Logic’s bouncy dog and terrible brandname, and Glenn’s team get to play tennis with Pat Cash whilst pretending to know who he is.

Tom has a resigned “I knew this would happen” look on his face (he’s this season’s Cassandra) as Logic shuffle off to the Cafe of Recriminations. “We committed marketing suicide” sighs Tom. Vincent’s adamant that the only issue was the name “Every Dog” (yeah, if you’d only called it “Dog” you’d be home and dry). Natasha reveals her Maciavellian streak by suggesting to camera that Jim could go based on the task and “If Vincent puts friendship with Jim first then he’ll be in the firing line”.

Back in the Boardroom (LordAlan “Logic should be rebranded tragic”) and Vincent points out his team backed him earlier, but Sugar gently explains that they often change their mind once they know they’ve lost. The vet’s words of wisdom at the focus group are key, and also complete news to Tom, Ellie and Melody, who’d all been told by Vincent and Jim that the focus group loved Every Dog. “We were trying to be really clever” huffs Vincent. “You could’ve called it ‘Any Old Dog'” snaps Karen.

It’s acknowledged that Tom expressed concern about Vincent’s marketing direction, although the jury’s still out with LordAlan as to how hard Tom tried to convince people.

Natasha’s asked about the advert and starts massively backpedalling (“I realised there was a problem with ‘Every Dog’ and tried to direct away from that and  concentrated on the USP of “Hearts and Joints”). Not to be outdone in the arsesaving bullshit stakes, Jim explains “I came up with the name but not in association with the way we branded it”. This doesn’t get Jim off the crap name hook, and he tries to come out streetfighting (Jim “Do you want me to sit mute and not contribute?”, LordAlan “If you open your mouth, you should stick by what you said.” Slam!). “I’m not taking responsibility for the overall marketing strategy of Every Dog” insists Jim bullishly, “it was endorsed by the project manager and team. If I give a dog a bone, they don’t have to eat it”. Sugar’s suddenly hating Jim (“I like people to focus on the task, not their arse”), and no amount of mind tricks are working. Vincent’s criticised for keeping onside with Jim because he fears him as a more powerful contender. “I don’t think he’s better than me” whines Vincent, before bringing Ellie and Natasha back into the boardroom. Before he leaves, Jim tries one more mind game, requesting that Lord Sugar make him Project Manager in the next task, but Lord Sugar’s not impressed; “I have your card marked son… you’ll be project manager when it’s time”.

Whilst the three in the line of fire wait outside, LordAlan and Nick discuss Jim (Sugar: “He has control over people”, Nick “I think Vincent’s scared of him”) before dragging the trio back in.

Vincent’s like a Weakest Link contestant scrabbling round for excuses for bringing Ellie and Natasha back in (“Ellie’s got no creativity.. Natasha er did the ad well but didn’t ask many questions”), but mainly this is all about the Irish Head Warlock that got away with it this week. “He don’t give a damn about you, I’ve seen that type before” advises LordAlan like an ageing agony aunt, before admiring Jim for seeing things as “dog eat dog” (hoho!). Natasha pipes up “Tom’s voice wasnt heard. You were so far up Jim’s behind, you couldn’t see the wood for the trees”. “I wasn’t up Jims arse” Vincent bristles, “but at least he contributes”. Natasha’s got Vincent’s oily cage rattled though. “I’m not gonna argue with you c c cos you gotta stay calm” he stutters, like a nerd American Psycho.

Lord Sugar does his summing up, and finds it hard to disagree with Natasha and Ellie when it comes to Vince, but still turns on Ellie for not being forceful enough and fires her (“I don’t think I could go into business with you”). Blimey, harsh!

Vincent is just starting to look smug when LordAlan, almost as an afterthought turns and fires him too, making the spray-tanned Mickey Pierce’s face freeze like a bunny in a Smeg. “He bought in all the wrong people for the wrong reasons” adds LordSugar as Vincent scuttles out of the room.

Ellie’s nicely philosophical in her losers cab (“I don’t wanna be something I’m not, so maybe I’m not the right person”), whereas Vincent is still deluded that he and Lord Sugar potentially had something beautiful going on (“I thought we were in our infancy in terms of what I’m capable of. Maybe I should have bought  Jim in”. – well durr!).

Back at the house Jim looks almost pale as he justifies himself to the rest of the house, but they’re all shocked when only Natasha returns home. It’s her turn to mess with minds as she “reveals” that “LordSugar said Vincent sacricficed himself to Jim”. Jim’s shaken, but as always fights back (“You were no better than me in that task”), but unless he proves to be a Sith Lord, I think his chances have taken a knock.

So there we go. Two firings and a card-marking. Quality stuff. Next week the teams shovel shit (or handle rubbish). And I’ll be there right after them.

Liking: Tom, Sullen Susan, Leon
In the balance: Zzzzzzzoe
Nothing to me: Helen, Glenn,
Disliking: Jim, Natasha, Me-Me-Melody, Evil Edna

Byebye: Bye bye: Vincent (I’m kind of going to miss him), Ellie, Felicity, Gavin, Alex, Edward

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