On the day of their respective presentations, the judges express concerns about whether Fortitude’s ads were too “racy” for Macy’s family-oriented brand appeal. As for the Octane’s ads, the judges note with displeasure the ill fit of the clothes on David’s lead model, as well as the fact that the photos on the last page are too small to see the design detail of the products.
The Result: In the end, the judges liked both campaigns, but chose Fortitude’s ad layouts as the clear winner, citing superior integration of products with the Trump brand, including Trump Vodka, as just one of winning attributes.
Who I Would Have Fired: David had to go. Nearly all of the shortcomings of Octane’s ad layout where either ignored by David after being pointed out by Anand and/or Poppy (i.e., clothes not fitting the models) or explicitly approved by David (Poppy’s layout on the last page with images too small to see the detail of the products). In his own words, he “handled 90% of the project.” In fact, the only person David listened to was the one person who implicitly seemed to support everything he did: Stephanie. Plus, David is the first candidate to serve as PM on two tasks, and he lost them both.
Interim Evaluations of the Black Candidates: Liza played the good soldier on this task, although she clearly disagreed with the emphasis on sex in Fortitude’s concept, feeling that it might be too racy and inappropriate for the Trump brand, a concern that was shared by at least one of the judges. It’s not clear whether Liza raised her concerns during the task, but she was smart not to raise them in the boardroom, helping to counter the perception that she is the complaining non-contributor Stephanie and several of the other women have accused her of being during most of this competition. As I’ve been saying, ending the men vs. women team structure improves the odds for Liza. The fact that Stephanie, the only remaining candidate who has been openly hostile toward her, is now a member of Octane also helps.
Dead Men Walking: With David gone, only Brandy and Stueart remain on my list of candidates who have little chance of becoming Trump’s next apprentice. However, because of Brandy’s win as PM on this task, I am commuting her sentence. In her place, I’m adding Anand, because of my answer to this question:
Who Will Be Fired For Cheating Before the Next Task?: Anand Vasudev
So now we know that at least two candidates will be fired by the end of the next task. At the end of last night’s airing of Task 8, the previews for the next episode revealed that all of the candidates would be called back to the board room before Task 9, where someone will be fired by Trump for cheating. Here’s what we know, based on the previews: A candidate text-messaged a friend to meet at Trump Towers with at least $50 during one of the tasks. The friend was instructed to pretend to be a stranger to the candidate, who identifies himself or herself as a project manager and indicates that the money could help win the task.
Now, based on last night’s previews, Trump clearly looks and points to his left when he directs the fateful phrase “You’re fired” at the guilty party, which would indicate that Clint, or possibly Liza, will get the axe; both are sitting across from Trump to his left in the board room. But I’m guessing that the shot of Trump delivering his signature line is one of many cutaways from which the shows producers chose. As clues go, where Trump is facing and pointing is a red herring. So as far as I’m concerned, Clint and Liza are off the hook.
There have been only two tasks thus far where the winning team was chosen based on the amount of cash generated: the ice cream push cart sales competition (see Task 2 review) and the New York pedicab tours competition (see Task 6 review). Of the four PMs on those tasks, David and Kelly Smith Beaty have already been fired, leaving Poppy and Anand. Could it have been Poppy? Yes; it would have been easy for a friend to sneak money to her while she was leading Fortitude during the ice cream sales task. But that task took place at Union Square, not near Trump Tower. Which leaves Anand, who as PM led Octane to a lop-sided victory on the pedicab tour task, raising more than $950 to Fortitude’s $320. On the second day of that task, Anand sent the rest of his team ahead to begin giving the pedicab tours, while he initially stayed behind–at Trump Towers–to concentrate on sales. Alone, with not even his teammates as witnesses, it’s easy for me to believe that Anand sent a text to a friend to get some cash to add to their pedicab tour receipts as extra insurance of a victory for him as project manager.
I hate to say this, because I really believe Anand is on track to become Trump’s next apprentice. I could be wrong. But I believe Anand is the cheater.
Who Will Be The Next Apprentice?: Assuming I’m right about Anand, my new “Final 4″ is Brandy, Clint, Stephanie and Liza, with none of the four enjoying a distinct advantage.
Who do you think the cheater is? Who do you choose for your Final 4? And who will be the next apprentice? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!