It’s the seventh week of the process of condensing the world of corporate wankery into a steaming bowl of twat soup, and our candidates are summoned to the US Embassy to watch a video of Lord “can’t even be arsed to turn up” Sugar (“I can’t be here as I have urgent business elsewhere” – presumably passing off his honorary degree as proof of his scientific knowledge on Twitter) tasking them with one part of each team creating a soft drink brand back in blighty and the other half launching it in New York by pitching to industry experts with a website advert and digital billboard – all within 4 fun filled days. The winner ultimately will be decided by Lord Sugar’s fickle whim, and he urges them to “work as a team, no matter what time zone you’re in”.

Mark’s already assuming he’s in charge of Tenacity (“We need to put people where they’re best suited”) , but Lauren thinks her “local knowledge” of New York makes her the perfect team leader (“I can’t put myself forward strongly enough”). Mark wants to put his “firm pole in the ground” however: “I do advertising for my job every day. I manage a team of advertising specialists”. Nick Hewer’s nose twitches as his bullshit-dar goes into overdrive (“That’s not quite right is it? He’s a sales manager at a digital marketing firm and not in the least creative”), but Felipe and Katie back Mark (Daniel of course says nothing) and Lauren’s bid for leadership is ultimately gazumped.

Next Mark raises “the elephant in the room” that everyone wants to go to New York, and Lauren again thinks she is the “obvious choice” to go as she’s been there before (it’s not another tour guide task Lauren love). Mark wants to pitch, so of course he’s going. Poor Katie highlights her experience of making advertising videos, but Mark chooses Felipe over her – leaving her stuck with Daniel creating the product (Daniel’s still insisting that he’s a “great salesman” – I reckon a giant rabbit tells him this every night). I’m bracing myself for some Daniel style sexist drink names (“Binta”, “MANgo”?), but this week he merely opts for stupid (“Love Water”, anyone? Daniel’s promised he’ll work his “nuts off” to show he can deliver it!). Lauren and Mark are keen on a health conscious water based drink because that will appeal to the land of the 35% obesity rate.

Bianca leads Summit and elects Roisin to stay at home doing the creative job, with Sanjay who has a perma-flounce for the next 4 days about the injustice of it all. Sanjay suggests a caffeine based energy drink and Bianca agrees. She takes James and Solomon to what James originally calls “Noi Yoik” in the worst US accent since (at which point Bianca starts realising she’s going to have to spend 4 days with this tosser) . James suggests the name “Big Dawg” which seems to stick.
Meanwhile in pissing down Luton, Katie concocts a witches brew of pineapple lychee and raspberry (Daniel: “Three of my favourite fruits”) and stirs in some vitamin B. “This tastes like a soft drink for the mass market” Katie declares proudly. It looks like a urine sample.

Roisin and Sanjay are all about the “funky fruits” (dragonfruit apparently), and whilst Karen watches in horror they stir in enough caffeine and sugar to get the population of Luton tripping their collective nuts off. Roisin thinks “it tastes better than other energy drinks” (translation: It doesn’t taste like a pissoir in Barcelona smells).
The drinks reach the US teams at 8am. Felipe’s not impressed by the subtle concoction of fruits (“The colour is pineapple, the colour is pineapple the smell is pineapple, the taste is pineapple – it’s just pineapple!”), but Mark phones Katie to tell her he likes the taste (“there’s obviously a pineapple theme”). She suggests the name Aqua Fusion, and Daniel envisages an “explosion of water and pineapple” – with Mark happy to leave the branding to him. Felipe, Mark and Lauren test out the product on a load of septics sunbathing in the park (I like how Felipe pronounces “lychee” as “leash”) and they’re all mildly polite (“It’s kinda subtle”), which Nick reminds us is not a good sign in the US of freaking A.

James thinks Sanjay and Roisin’s offering tastes too sour (“I ran a bar and it doesn’t taste like passionfruit to me”), setting Sanjay off on another hissy fit (“Maybe you should have made the drink then”) until Bianca tells him to stop being so negative and he starts making whining sounds down the phone at her.

Daniel gets in touch with his creative side by getting Katie to draw a splash of water turning into a pineapple, which looks like an amoeba. He then describes this down the phone to Lauren – who in turn says she’s had a great idea of a twist around the bottle with the fruit coming out of the water and making a splash. “That’s like what Daniel described” Katie points out helpfully, but Lauren doesn’t think so and Daniel gets all huffy.

Summit test out Big Dawg in Brooklyn (James: “It contains passionfruit, guava and erm dragon fly!”) and the name and taste is pretty popular. They might be in the big apple, but lucky old Roisin and Sanjay get to hang around the advertising agency with a really cute cat (who presumably, like Roisin and Sanjay would hate the name “Big Dawg”) waiting for instructions from Bianca, who seems happy to just say the product is “aspirational” and leave the rest to them.
Felipe is put in charge of directing the video and auditions surviving members of the Golden Girls (just realised that only Betty White remains – it’s the curse of the Golden Girls!) cast for the role of Lauren’s mother, who needs to be able to emote and throw a bottle to the actor playing her basketball playing son. Felipe believes he is “super creative” but has to prove himself as “sometimes lawyers are perceived as boring”.

Meanwhile James and Solomon stare at the models at their auditions and try to fold their tongues back into their mouths (“She looked at me” , “no she looked at me!”, Bianca: “Guys just stop – you’re not casting for your next girlfriend”). “Is that a dragon on your chest?” asks a spellbound Solomon. “No it’s a skull” reveals our model (where did they advertise these auditions? Craigslist?). “She has some big… tattoos” Solomon opines wistfully as she leaves.

Biaca’s happy with Sanjay and Roisin’s branded “Big Dawg” when it arrives as it contains all the information they wanted as well as the tagline “Its bark is as big as its bite”. However “Aqua Fusion” in contrast is bland and apparently contains no information, with Daniel having gone through a serious “yellow” phase when designing the lettering for the brand name and erm the background for the lettering. “You can’t even see the vitamins” Felipe says sadly, and Mark gets the opportunity to declare how “disappointed” he is.

Sanjay and Roisin next design the digital billboard “Big Dawg” with paw prints walking up the screen followed by the question “what dawg would you be?”. Bianca is all “eh?” (Roisin: “Are they snoopy, or rottweilers or chihuahas?”, Bianca: “This is not a dog!”), and Sanjay moans “we’ve had no feedback, we’ve produced a drink and a brand and all we hear is whinging” (which funnily enough stops when you close your mouth Sanjay). James does point out that perhaps Bianca should have been in the UK to actually um communicate with the subteam.

Felipe gets over-excited on the set for “Aqua Fusion” and Mark passive aggressively slaps him into shape (“I’ve put my neck on the line letting you do this. Don’t let me down”). Fortunately Mark declares the finished product “really good”. Lauren suggests adding an ident or something and Mark slaps her down by telling her he already thought of that when he was 4 and sending her over to sit with Felipe so he can bitch about her to camera (“I don’t know how she’s contributed… she would probably say she ran the whole thing”).

Meanwhile Bianca directs a series of talking heads (including Solomon) looking into camera (Bianca: “Solomon can you not squint so much”) and explaining why they drink “Big Dawg” (Solomon: “Because I like to play hard and work harder”). Karen Brady slips into a coma whilst watching production (“It doesn’t say energy to me”).

It’s pitch time and Big Dawg is up first. In Times Square, James almost has a Vanilla Sky style meltdown (“We can smash it! This world is as big as our oyster. As big as we want it to be!”). As Roisin and Sanjay watch a video link (adding an unimpressed running commentary not unlike Waldorf and Statler from The Muppets) Bianca gets Solomon and James to hand out samples until James starts getting over familiar with the soft drinks advertising execs (“Nice jacket”) and she has to call him to heel to start the pitch. James blethers about wanting to be a “global icon” and Bianca describes Big Dawg as “the lifestyle drink of choice within the energy drinks arena”. (what the actual fuck does that mean?). She sees “Its bark is as big as its bite” as a “metaphor for success and the American Dream” (and that? It’s like a Telly version of Pseuds corner).

Then the advert rolls, and I find it interesting that Bianca has gone all early Lars Van Trier by omitting a non-diegetic soundtrack (“Big Dogme”?), but sadly it does all fall a little flat, coming across more as a charity appeal ad than flogging a soft drink. James surfs the general wave of apathy as the ad finishes “Erm are we all feeling energised after the big dawg?” and Bianca explains that she left out music as she wanted an “emotional connection rather than those dull, predictable old “high octane adverts with fast cars”. Back at home Sanjay bitches “that was the most boring advert I’ve ever seen”. One bloke worries about the way the I in Big is represented. “That’s not a phallic symbol is it?” he asks. “Definitely not” James declares confidently. “It’s a bone”. He really doesn’t seem to be aware of what he’s just said. Ha!

Tenacity pitch “Aqua Fusion” next, with Mark patronisingly keen to point out how bloody diverse his team is in terms of background and then introducing not one but two lawyers. Lauren loses it a bit describing the “unique erm erm way those vitamins mixed together” and is reduced to reading the description off the bottle.

She is redeemed by her amazing performance in the TV advert, who gets given a bottle of Aqua Fusion from her caring apple pie mom (“This won’t let you down” “Thanks mom” – hang on, Felipe’s actually filmed a panty pad commercial!). They are criticised for not mentioning fruit in their “dialogue” and Lauren and Felipe go into damage limitation mode (Lauren: “We wanted to be careful of what health benefits we promoted”, Mark: “We have two lawyers here”).

Lord Sugar has a trans Atlantic conference call with the execs, who grass up Big Dawg for having a “borderline tragic” commericial, although they liked the branding and name. They claim Felipe’s advert had an “emotional connection” (?), but despaired of how safe the two lawyers in the team played.

Back in the boardroom and Daniel declares being left at home gave him the “chance to show other parts of my game . I can brand. I’m not just a salesman” (no you’re definitely not a salesman Dan), but unfortunately the branding is dismissed as bland by Lord Sugar, and the penny starts to drop for Mark that he screwed up by not using someone who could create a decent enough product to pitch in the first place.

Sugar applauds Bianca’s decision to take James to New York, given the stereotype of yanks as “loud and obnoxious” (“so James would have fitted in”) and he likes the brand name “Big Dawg”, which Solomon apparently described as “liquid viagra”. James blames Bianca for not giving the UK team “more direction” (Karen: “Or you James!”) and Sanjay just bleats on and on about how unfair it all was that he didn’t get to go on a stateside jolly. However Sugar hates the Big Dawgme advert (“and then you had Joan Baez sitting under a tree. Rubbish!”). Karen bigs up Bianca’s pitch as “very engaging”.
So decision time and whilst Summit’s advert was shit on toast, Tenacity’s was only slightly less shit on toast, whereas Big Dawg actually worked as a brand (“the brand is American, no question”) compared to Aqua Fusion (“Not for the US market”). So Summit win, and James can’t resist muttering something about the Big Dawg liking the Big Dawg, prompting a death ray glance from Sugar (“You cannot help yourself”). Mark goes all grey and pulls a “the horror the horror” face.
Summit get sent for a meal up Tower 42, where Bianca informs Sanjay that if he’d accompanied her to New York “It would’ve been a nightmare”. You tell him Bianca!

In Cafe Fail, Mark thinks it’s “clear where we went wrong, the brand was not strong enough”, looking hard at Daniel (Daniel: “It would be an easy option to take me back in” – erm yes, and?) , before then blaming Lauren for everything ever (“Lauren contributed nothing”).

Back in the Boardroom and Mark’s called out on his bullshit as it turns out he only helps with search engine optimisation and is only creative when it comes to his job description.

Sugar re-iterates that the “starting point of any campaign is the product itself” whereas Aqua Fusion “looks like what big dawg does up against a lamp post”. He goes on to describe Aqua Fusion as “the Piers Morgan of drinks” (does it taste of fanny?) . Mark goes with Plan A and tries to drop Daniel up Aqua Fusion creek (“he wanted to show he could brand”) and the fact you couldn’t even read the product name on the bottle is raised (Daniel: “In hindsight it should have been more prominant”). Felipe feels his advert was the only good point of the launch and Sugar suggests he’s catching Daniel’s delusion.

Mark switches to Plan B (eliminate Lauren) and does that classic thing of winding her up (“I couldn’t tell you one thing shes done in the whole task”) then not allowing her a word in edgeways to defend herself. It’s time to select the candidates to bring back in and Mark lies that it’s a “tough” decision, adding that “Lauren is certainly one” and lingering a second before “regrettably” choosing “Daniel as well”. Who the bladdy hell does Mark think he is with his “regrettably”s?

Back in the boardroom, Mark blames Daniel for the logo (“there’s no point lying about it”), so Daniel asks why Katie wasn’t brought in too (“Don’t avoid the question”). Mark says Katie chose good flavours (erm pineapple) and Daniel hits him with the grand reveal “I did the flavours” (so nerrr!). “Actually I should have brought you in without hesitation” Mark condescends, adding “If I had a pound for every time you talked rubbish I’d have the 250 grand by now”. “How long you been sitting on that one for?” Dan snaps back. Guys, guys put your todgers away.

Dan still insists he “showed creativity” (Sugar: “yellow on yellow on yellow doesn’t work with yellow”, Daniel “I 100% agree”, Sugar: “Stop 100% agreeing with me”).

Lauren is outraged to be there as she “contributed so much” to the “concept”, the “pitch” and the saying “Thanks mom” in a ropy accent. “What did you do” she turns on Mark, “except the website, and even then you wanted your hand holding”. Of course, criticising Mark makes Lauren a witch who must be burned, so he now blames her 100% (what?) for the task failure, as “even Dan did other stuff” (bit of a changeroo of mind there mate). “I did nothing wrong” Lauren insists and he slams her with “Yes nothing and that’s why you’re sat here”.

Sugar sums up that Mark cocked up by not working out his team members skills, and then bringing two lawyers to pitch. Daniel is warned he hasn’t proved anything other than the fact he can’t sell, present or create (how soon we forget the genius that was The Relationship Guru). However on “instinct and gut feeling” he fires Lauren for being a lawyer. In the taxi of sorrow she darkly warns that Dan and Mark’s “day will come” (when they finally just get naked together).

Back in the house and James is annoying everyone as usual by taking credit for all of Summit’s success by coming up with the name “Big Dawg” much to Sanjay’s chagrine.

Like a turd that never quite flushes Daniel returns to the house (“They call me the cat – but I’m really running out of lives”) and Mark pulls a hacky troubled face, despite the fact that both of them dodged a bullet this episode and Lauren can be justifiably miffed by being fired ahead of them.

Next week the teams go to the Royal Bath and West Show for some godforesaken reason. Let the construction of the Wicker Businessman begin!

Favourites

Bianca
Solomon

Liking
Katie
Felipe
Roisin

Of course he’s rubbish but I like the way he winds Mark up
Delusional Daniel

Whining Git
Sanjay

Both of them Utter Arsehats in different ways
Passive Aggressive Mark
Over-Eager James

Bye Bye:-
Chiles, Robert, Scott, Lindsay, Nurun, Steven, Stepford Sarah, Ella Jade, Jemma, Pamela, Lauren

Tips for the Final:
Roisin, Bianca, Solomon and bloody Mark.

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