The Apprentice: SMARTA EXCLUSIVE with the mole from advertising agency McCann

Our mystery blogger works at McCann Erickson, the advertising agency handling the task in last night’s Apprentice. For seven weeks, our mole from McCann has had to keep the gossip absolutely schtum on order of the BBC. Now, risking everything (almost), our mole spills the beans.

How the BBC piles on pressure behind the scenes

"In all honesty, they want them to trip up. To be expected to do an advert, a brand, what the brand stands for, a character, the packaging and the jingle – that’s a hell of a lot to do in two days.

The teams got briefed on Monday morning, they had to work on their characters, their pack and their brand Monday afternoon, then Tuesday they film their commercial and present on Wednesday morning. That’s pretty hardcore. That would all normally take different companies, taking anything from a couple of months to 11 months.

But it made for good TV – as shown by the smirking faces of the people in the agency.

Then, for the presentation, the teams thought they were just going to present to board members, to Chris and Nikki. Then obviously there were 40 or 50 of us from the agency, so they came round the corner and were like, Oh my god."

Mona’s presentation was a half hour long joke

"Mona’s annoyed everyone within her first two sentences. And they heavily edited the presentations – in fact, they were about half an hour long.

Her pitch was absolutely dreadful. She could barely string two sentences together. It was completely nonsensical – why she was presenting in the first place was madness."

Pant man: the expert verdict

"People don’t want to associate pants with food! And also, it’s not as if it was a good insight – it’s just that guy thought pants were funny. But it’s not as if you could sort of nod along and think, Oh yeh, I can remember a time when I forgot to put my trousers on. It wasn’t even a truism! It was like some kind of lie.

It’s actually quite amusing because McCann’s motto as an agency is “truth well told”. And that wasn’t even true, was it, if we’re being totally honest.

And they just didn’t have any strategy. They just thought that pants were funny. Kimberly should have led them, if she works in marketing as she claims to. It’s pretty embarrassing for her if she does – that’s meant to be her job."

Treasure Flakes: the expert verdict

There was something in their idea, definitely. But then it was like, let’s write an advert by f***ing committee!

The danger is if you don’t focus on one thing and you say everything, then it just means you’re going to end up standing for nothing, and not remembered for anything. There’s a reason why adverts stay as simple as possible. And Emma [who works for McCann] made that point to them – but then they just rinsed her afterwards. Emma was like, “Er, no.”
 

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