Everything I know about Marketing, I learned on The Apprentice…NOT!


When I was in college, I took a business law class where the Professor, Dr. Halamka (the name still gives me shivers), asked us to watch LA Law (yeah, just try and guess how old I am now) and pick out legal errors on the show (and I was in LA, so it somehow seemed appropriate). Now, I am much more prepared to pick out personality defects and fashion felonies, and honestly, Thursday nights at the sorority house were rarely spent watching TV. But I had to think back to these classroom discussions when I was watching The Apprentice. And the conversation over on Gretchen and Zoe’s blog (answers to “what is your biggest weakness” and the smack Bill was talking on the show last week), made me think that this could be a blog topic.


First, let me say that you are among friends here, so it is really OK to admit that you watch The Apprentice. Second, let’s get all the giggles over the Donald’s hair-do (I can’t call it a hair style or a hair cut…just…can’t…do it) out of the way (“but he has such nice brown hair, I don’t understand why he paints in those whitish gray roots”). Let’s talk about how these hand-selected “up and comers” have made some hideously stupid blunders.


I mean, it is obvious to me that there is on theme for each mission and that if you figure out the theme early on, you can win the mission. For example, the bottled water (Trump Ice was it? That name…what the?). Let’s see, commodity product…so distribution could be a key or maybe you should try flirting to sell half cases. No time for major branding work, it’s water for crying out loud so there’s not much of an opportunity for feature differentiation. So clearly, distribution or flirting…distribution or flirting…which would the Donald favor?


The apartment renovations were about return on investment. I swear, I was shouting at my TV “come on people! Figure it out!”


The best part of the whole show was that 10 year old kid in Las Vegas telling Nick or Troy to stop selling when the customer has already said yes (I hate to admit but the kid phrased it better…can’t remember what he said).


What bugged you most about The Apprentice? And why is it that TV that is so bad is so good?

Comments (13)

  1. William Luu says:

    Hi Heather, never watched, never even heard of that show before. Guess because it’s not showing on Aussie TV!

    I guess even for us working in IT, we look at movies where they have computers in them and we just all think to ourselves, how wrong things are in it!

    You could probably write books just analysing how wrong things are in most movies. It just goes to show the lack of research done beforehand into the scripts and so on. Either that, or they just go for the stereotype, bang a few keys and you’ve just hacked into some top secret computer systems.

    But you could say, TV doesn’t have to be accurate, it’s just entertainment, that sort of deal. That’s probably why they can get away with it. Just sit down, enjoy it! No point overanalysing it… 🙂

  2. Julien Ellie says:

    The thing that bothered me the most was in the restaurant early on. They each had a super big team of people who had nothing better to do than listen to their direction and help them out get people to the restaurant, come up with creative ideas in a buisness that THEY KNOW. But no no, instead of asking them for input, putting them to the task, they went out and handed out promotional coupons and shouted in the street, got Kwame to sign his name posing as a star and Bill to get angry and stand in a corner… What kind of a leader is that? Just plain dumb if you ask me 🙂

  3. I wish we could do a Microsoft Reality Show here.

    Our executive offices aren’t palatial enough, though. Bill Gates’ conference room is just as messy as the ones over here in building 119 (and same cheapo furniture too).

  4. Oh, wait, I guess http://channel9.msdn.com +is+ a Microsoft reality TV show.

  5. jon says:

    what’s LA Law?

  6. Heather says:

    I’m not even sure that reality shows are reality. I mean how real is it to have a bunch of cameras following you around?

    How did I know Scoble was going to mention Channel 9? : )

  7. Sean Malloy says:

    Because bad tv, complete with stupid people, gives the viewer a sense of superiority over the contestants.

    In other words, it makes you, the viewer, feel smart.

    Ofcourse, it’s just my opinion!

  8. gretchen says:

    Sean said what I was going to say. I watch the Apprentice, and I think, "Who are these people?! I could do this with my eyes closed!" And then I feel better about myself.

    Then back in the office, I always have Apprentice moments where I think of a mistake they made and say, "Whew, I’m glad I didn’t do that!" Sometimes when I’m meeting with a certain executive here at MS (my teammates know who I’m talking about) I’ll pretend I’m playing the Apprentice, and he’s The Donald and I’m Amy … expect I know how to answer a direct question and I don’t get fired … yet.

  9. Chris Boaz says:

    How could somebody lose Jessica Simpson?

  10. Randy H. says:

    The kid said "don’t sell when its already sold."

  11. Heather says:

    Chris—nobody has to love Jessica Simpson…I’m sure she could lose herself. ; )

    She was probably delayed at the airport snackbar deciding between "buffalo wings" (poor buffalo lost their wings) and tuna (is it tuna or chicken by the sea) salad.

  12. Leaving the cafeteria after lunch today, I noticed the front page of today’s USA Today : 10 Lessons of ‘The Apprentice ‘. I always find humor in how the American public learns many of their life lessons and professional skills through television

  13. Leaving the cafeteria after lunch today, I noticed the front page of today’s USA Today : 10 Lessons of ‘The Apprentice ‘. I always find humor in how the American public learns many of their life lessons and professional skills through television