The Apprentice 2010: Task 8 Performance Review

Each week as contestants compete for a $250,000 job contract, get the leadership lessons you can use to succeed

Hired as the next Apprentice? Or fired in disgrace? Is Anand the cheater?

The 2010 edition of The Apprentice, NBC’s business reality show starring and executive produced by real estate mogul Donald Trump, features entrepreneurs and professionals competing for a $250,000 job contract with the Trump organization. Each week the contestants must complete a business task. The winners are rewarded; the losers must report to the infamous boardroom, where at least one candidate will be fired by Trump. Of the three African Americans featured on this edition of The Apprentice, only Liza Mucheru-Wisner remains. With each task of The Apprentice 2010, I will post performance reviews of the candidates, their teams and their project managers.

Read and comment on other performance reviews of The Apprentice 2010 Tasks.

Leadership Lesson: Great leaders listen closely and intently to the members of their team, and they pay even closer attention to when their team members disagree with a chosen course of action or see a flaw in its execution. To ignore dissenters in favor of only those who agree with you and tell you what you want to hear is to court disaster.

TASK 8: Produce 4-page advertising layouts for Donald J. Trump Signature Collection of dress shirts, ties and cuff links for department store retailer Macy’s. Layouts will be judged on creativity, brand integration and overall presentation.

As anticipated, Trump abandons the men vs. women theme this week, reassigning Clint Roberston and Steuart Martens to Fortitude and Stephanie Castagnier and Poppy Carlig to Octane. Brandy Kuentzel, the only candidate yet to lead on a task, is project manager for the revamped Fortitude. David Johnson becomes the first candidate to get a second shot as project manager; he was Octane’s losing PM on Task 2.

Eager to build on the momentum he gained during his strong performance on Octane’s winning effort on the backers audition (see Task 7 review), David attacks this task with confidence and enthusiasm. Octane quickly decides to go with a black and white theme for their ads, with only the shirts, ties and cuff links from the Donald J. Trump Collection in color. Stroking David’s fragile ego with plenty of positive reassurance, Stephanie quickly establishes herself as an ally in David’s eyes. Not so much for Anand and Poppy. When the time comes for Octane to select models, David immediately fixates on a tall, slender male model. Despite having earlier assigned Anand and Poppy to work with the models, he insists on this particular model being the “face” of the campaign, citing his “regal, youthful” look. Anand and Poppy have their doubts, but when Poppy points out that the clothes don’t fit properly on David’s lead model (his neck is clearly too small for the shirt collar), David dismisses her concerns. Similarly, when Anand, who worked with the photographers on the shoots, tries to help David with photo selection, David sends him away while muttering a stream of obscenities (telling Stephanie that he “hates that m—f—”). David further alienates Poppy by taking her to task for failing to get food for the models. But when Poppy suggests that the last page of their ad layout should feature product photos sans models, David approves the idea, willing to surrender the one page in return for near-absolute creative control over the other three.

When Clint suggests that their campaign should focus on money, power and sex as the key elements of the Trump brand, Brandy and the rest of Fortitude embrace the idea. This includes Liza, who suggests that Fortitude’s ad layout tell the story of a day in the exciting life of a man, at work and at play, who wears the Donald J. Trump Collection. However, Liza is uncomfortable with a campaign that is too overtly sexual, fearing it could hurt the Trump brand. Brandy, on the other hand, is excited about the sexy aspect of the idea, and moves forward without hesitation. After tasking Clint and Liza with shopping for clothes for the models, Brandy faces a setback–Fortitude’s models are late, with an unknown ETA. Facing a tight deadline, Brandy decides that she and Steuart will serve as the models for the first shoot, a sexually charged, “morning after” bedroom scene. Liza’s concerns about the edginess of the ads is heightened when the sex theme spills beyond the bedroom, to a Happy Hour image of Brandy with Steuart’s hand on her bare thigh, showcasing Trump Collection cuff links.

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ACROSS THE WEB
  • http://www.upwardaction.com TC Coleman, Esq.

    I agree that Anand is probably the cheater – which is too bad as I thought he had the best chance of winning. ~TC

  • http://www.spedient.com Nichole Hodge

    So this task was rather cut and dry. Although both teams did a pretty decent job with the mechanics of the task, David (still on a hign from last week’s victory) made a huge and rather obvious error by deciding to “own” the entire project. He let his prior creative win go to his head & was looking forward to taking primary credit for this win as well. He left no room for anyone else to take responsibility for their respective contributions. But in the end David is a gambler and had he placed the priority on the brand & not the model, he just may have won.

    I will say I was pleasantly surprised with his behavior in the boardroom. Either someone slipped him a valium or he really can exhibit a bit of dignity & class when he wants to. He owned up to his behavior-both good & bad, and even seemed to recognize that he was the only choice to be fired. Believe it or not, I actually like his rationale for keeping Stephanie in the boardroom instead of Anand. He clearly doesn’t like Anand & that would have been predictable. But why not take down the person that agreed with all of your poor choices & also suggested that YOU should get fired?In the end, David got the axe that he deserved.

    Poppy also impressed me in the boardroom. It looked a bit forced but she seemed to have a new resolve. She asserted herself and calmly but firmly defended her position. It will be interesting to see if it lasts. Liza showed me nothing more than that she works well with her new team-for now. She lacks creativity. Past tasks have taught us that it’s usually more rewarding to take a risk rather than play it safe but Liza clearly hasn’t learned that. While I agreed with her about the use of the word “sex” in the ad, she wanted to avoid any reference to it at all. Clint was dead on with his definition of the Trump brand-Wealth, Power & and for those of us who are aware of his well documented romantic history, Sexual Prowess. By the way, Brandy earned more than a few cool points with Trump by mentioning that she likes “older men”. My final four remains the same-Anand, Clint, Brandy & Stueart.

    I saw the promo for next weeks “Cheater” boardroom. I could be wrong but I’m not convinced that someone will be fired for that. Although Trump delivers his famous line, the announcer never states that someone will be fired. But beyond that, I don’t believe that the cheater is Anand. If we’re referring to the pedicab task, why would he have someone bring him $50 to the suite rather than just have that same person(s) legitimately get a ride & pay for it? In addition, they were doing well on that task & that would be a ‘desperation’ move. After having done a great job pre-selling rides, I just dont see him taking that kind of risk.

    Furthermore, the language that was used, “I’m getting close to the top”, sounds like someone with an ego issue. So I’m going out on a limb here…Anand already identified Stephanie as being a liar (and rightfully so) so it would be really ironic for him to be the actual dishonest player. But remember, Stephanie had a lot banking on the pedicab task since she insisted on staying at the wrong location. Trump quoted a few things that were texted and they could have been a combination of various messages. In other words, the “I’m the PM text, could have been separate from the “bring $50″ text; and that could have been separate from the others. My guess? Stephanie is the cheater. She lied to get Kelly fired and was untruthful last week as well. I also have a second choice for cheater which could affect my final 4: believe it or not CLINT. Don’t ask me why, just a gut feeling. I wouldn’t bet the farm on it but sometimes the “ultra upstanding good ol’ boy” will fool you!

  • BaberDashery

    Great assessment once again Alfred!

    I was waiting for a task like this; a task that clearly displayed the candidate’s creativity or lack of.  Due to the episode preview, I knew Trump was going to “mix it up” with the team members.  Anand and Stephanie bumped heads in the suite before the team rearrangements, and Stephanie wasn’t thrilled to have Anand as a teammate thanks to being called out by him for lying on the previous task—trouble from the onset.  Conversely, I presumed a team that consisted of Stueart, Brandy, Clint and Liza would work well together, which is indicative of their finished product and the win.

    David stepped up to the plate to once again be PM. I thought he would do a fine job at this task since it dealt with tangible products, models, and an explicit theme: brand the “Donald J. Trump Signature” fashion line. However, as Nicole stated, David forgot about the Trump brand and focused on the model.  He did try to cleverly include the essential products by making them the focal point (using color against a black-and-white backdrop) in the printed material, but he inevitably forgot about the first rule of fashion: FIT! What was up with the “T” thing? I am still trying to determine what Poppy was thinking! Overall, I thought they produced a good advertisement, but not a great advertorial—there was no story!

    David also spoke to his teammates as if they were his children–he swooshed them away during critical moments that may have resulted in a different outcome. I will agree that David’s behavior in the boardroom surprised me. For a brief moment I thought he was going to spaz out but he didn’t, and since he told Trump he was 90 percent responsible for the task, I believe he knew what his outcome would be.

    Octane took a big risk and it paid off in a big way—Macy decided to use the advertorial in their new marketing campaign for DJT! I wonder if the show has any built in royalties or compensation when large corporations decide to utilize the creative works of the candidates. That’s just how I think! Liza, actually verbalized her concerns and I was surprised by that. She was a solid team player this week, but didn’t give us a stellar performance. I believe the reason being is because the team actually worked together so everyone was responsible for the win.Yes, David had to go! Yet, his boardroom strategy was correct—bring back his greatest supporter, Stephanie, in hopes of bringing someone down with him.  It didn’t work; he was the only candidate that received the axe.

    My final four will remain the same (since week #6): Steuart, Anand, Clint, and Brandy.  However, I think Stueart is the cheater. I thought he was sitting where Trump pointed and delivered his famous line. I am not sure, but I might have to change to my final four next week if that’s the case!

  • http://www.soniawilson.com Sonia Wilson

    Did you see Liza’s face in the promo? She looked soo unconfortable instead of her usual ‘happy’ when someone else gets fired. I think the cheater is Liza and Trump’s source of ‘intellegence gathering’ was the person being texted to, who I don’t think is African American. (Act like you don’t know me) I have other reasons associated with Liza’s overall performance for suspecting her but….’

  • Alfred Edmond Jr.

    Wow. We’re all over the place! One person agrees with me that the cheater is Anand, while the rest point the finger at Liza, Steuart, Stephanie, while also giving Clint the side-eye. I have to admit that, for the first time this season, I can’t wait to see the next installment of The Apprentice. I just hope this “somebody cheated” storyline doesn’t turn out to be a cheap reality-show editing/production trick.

    • http://www.spedient.com Nichole Hodge

      We are all over the place aren’t we Alfred! I will say that your suggestion that the cheater is Anand is certainly logical and probably the best guess given the information that we have today. If we had to choose based on the facts, Anand would be the guy. However, I took off the “business hat” for this one and put on my “P.I.” hat. I’m not convinced anyone will get fired for the so called “cheating” and if they do, it probably won’t be the obvious choice. This is one of those situations where any one of us could be right or wrong.

      I agree, this is the first time that I am REALLY looking forward to the next episode. I actually look forward to your commentary more than the show itself!

      • BaberDashery

        Nichole,

        I am not sure about that (anyone being fired). Did you see the look on Trump’s face when it was revealed that Mahsa shared some team information that she shouldn’t have! I believe Ivanka said that she went against the entire process of The Apprentice. She got fired too! Perhaps Trump is completely fed up with individuals breaking the rules of the game.

        • http://www.spedient.com Nichole Hodge

          BaberDashery you just may be right. You know what’s interesting though? Trump has a big problem with betrayal & stupidity, particularly in business; but he seems to condone “by any means necessary” business practices-to some extent. I remember in past editions, candidates would attempt to throw a so called “un-ethical’ player under the bus only to have Trump praise that player for his/her ambition & cut throat attitude. Now that doesn’t mean he will look kindly upon a cheater, I don’t think he will; but it may explain why he was so upset at Mahsa’s bonehead move.

          By the way, nice post above…enjoyed it!

  • BaberDashery

    I just watched the preview clip again and someone is definitely getting fired early this week. Trump calls them back into the boardroom before the task begins and delivers the message. Here’s my reasoning, Trump has on the same suit and tie during the time of the callback to someone being fired. No camera work.  The candidates that are sitting at the table on the side he’s pointing  are: Clint, Liza, Brandy, Steuart. It just might be Clint! I said Steuart initially, but I might have to go with Clint now.

    • http://www.spedient.com Nichole Hodge

      Well BaberDashery I have to disagree with you about the suit. I looked at it a few times and if you notice, when he calls them back into the room, the color of the suit is navy. When he delivers the famous line, the suit appears to be black. The tie is the same and I attribute that to editing. If you can, check it out & let me know what you think. Remember, Stephanie is my 1st choice but Clint has always been my second! We shall see!

      • BaberDashery

        Nichole, I stand corrected. Trump has on a darker colored suit when he delivers the message and his tie has a more profound dimple.  We’ll see what happens Thursday!

        • http://www.spedient.com Nichole Hodge

          “More profound dimple”…You do know your menswear don’t you BaberDashery!!

  • Calvin J. Adolph

    Guess who’s back!!!! I’ve been watching The Apprentice on hulu.com and have intently listened to all of the comments from the two previous tasks. Alfred, I still believe that a certain individual has a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming the next apprentice (the time for fading into the background has passed, you’ve got to step up to stand out). While impressed with David’s creative stretch last week (heck, anybody could have beat Liza when you first admit that you know nothing about musical theater – a tactical error), his streak did not last long because while picking the “perfect” model he left choosing the clothing to potential enemies. The show should be over by now with one boardroom clearing swoosh, but I think Trump is required to produce a few more shows. I think I’ll dub this episode, The Day the Comic Relief Died. Are we now to assume that the remaining episodes will take a serious tone now that David, the court jester, is no longer involved? Can anybody tell me why good film was wasted on the whole man crush/gay angle? I believe that GLAD should have been all over that due to the insensitivity towards their community (no pun intended). I will not give you a final four because I believe it has already been decided that CLINT will get the job. His comment about ‘money, power, sex’ appealed to Trump in a way that Brandy’s ‘I like older men’ never could. (We didn’t need to stroke Trump’s ego, but in his mind if you’ve got the money and the power, sex is automatic) Like all of the posts before me, my curiosity has been piqued to see how the game changes (though from a distance via hulu) Disclaimer: The use of the name ‘hulu.com’ does not infer an endorsement of their services.

    • http://www.spedient.com Nichole Hodge

      Welcome back Calvin!

    • Alfred Edmond Jr.

      I echo Nichole, Calvin; welcome back. Something tells me we’re going to have a great discussion later this week. I’m looking forward to it, again echoing Nichole, even more than the show itself!

  • http://www.soniawilson.com Sonia Wilson

    You guys are impressive and make very strong cases! Still, I’m sticking with Liza as the c
    ‘cheater’ I just have that gut feeling for the reasons I mentioned earlier. I think I’ll stay away from a ‘forensic’ take although I am fascinated by the ‘tie…suit…dimples’ observation!

  • Alfred Edmond Jr.

    Sonia, Nichole;

    Apparently Baberdashery is much more than the fashion police; he’s a fashion DETECTIVE. LOL

    Thanks for weighing in, Sonia!

    • http://www.soniawilson.com Sonia Wilson

      Oh boy oh boy! I had an interesting chat with friends at lunch today. The cheater is not Liza, I take that back! hahaha! I don’t know who it is! lol

  • BaberDashery

    Alfred and Sonia,

    LOL! Fashion DETECTIVE! Wow!!! Those minor details are important right! LOL! Thanks for the compliment too. I enjoy reading everybody’s weekly analysis. Alfred, please let B.E. know that they may want to consider allowing us to upload a profile photo with our commentary.

  • http://www.soniawilson.com Sonia Wilson

    Hi Baber, Nice
    idea but I pray that if I upload a profile photo, the fashion detective doesn’t come after me! (BTW, in honor of the $50 mentioned in the mystery text, I’d placed a $50 bet on Liza, but I cancelled it today). lol

    • BaberDashery

      Sonia,

      Lol! What has Alfred started!!  Seriously, Sonia I doubt the fashion detective would have any reason to come after you. I think you made a wise decision to cancel that bet. I am looking forward to the show tomorrow. Don’t disappoint us NBC!!!

      • Alfred Edmond Jr.

        Me? Start something? Excuse me, while I adjust my halo. Okay–you were saying? LOL

  • Sorry

    It is Anad  sorry for the spoiler

  • Sorry

    If u want to win your bets trust me

    • http://www.soniawilson.com Sonia Wilson

      LOL ‘Sorry’ (name fits) …and will you reveal YOUR identity after the show too? haha!

  • Sorry

    The question is  who on the mens team knew Anad cheated? If they  knew are they a cheater as well?  Anad did not just make one call he made several and had won the task with pre-sales before the task started. Talk about changing the dynamics of the game If Anad had not cheated then perhaps the women win and Mahsa is never fired. 

  • Sorry

    lol you already know who this is Sonia

  • Raj

    there is a good chance its anand. He is from the New York area

  • Drew

    My god, you guys write quite a bit. I can’t believe I read some of it. Nice call all of you prophets!!! Anand didn’t cheat. It was liz…morons. Morons I tell u

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  • David Noel

    Clint will be the next Apprentice

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