Hey Apprentice fans! Hope you all had a great weekend. We began this episode seeing the emotional side of Gary Busey as he presented a check to the Center for Traumatic Head Injury Services for $40,000!! This is an amazing win for Gary and a charity that means so much to him, as Gary survived a very tragic accident years ago. He described this win for him as better than a Golden Globe or an Oscar. Congratulations to Gary and the men's team.
We met the teams in the lobby of Trump Tower, a very convenient spot, as my father, Ivanka and I all work upstairs. This week's task was to write and produce a 30-second commercial showcasing ACN, the home-based marketing company, and their new video phone. Greg Provenzano and Mike Cupiz were on hand from the ACN team to explain that the teams would be judged on creativity and originality, company brand messaging and integration of the phone in the commercial. The teams would be judged not only by Greg and Mike but also by 450 ACN representatives. NeNe stepped up as project manager for Team A.S.A.P. and Lil Jon would be leading Team Backbone. The winning PM would get a total of $40,000 for their charity.
The teams split off and began brainstorming about their commercials. This was Lil Jon's first task as project manager and he seemed to have great enthusiasm, explaining that what the team produces has to be cutting edge and take ACN to the next level. Jose wanted to take this challenge to another planet suggesting that they incorporate aliens into their commercial. That idea was quickly overlooked - Jose definitely comes up with "original" ideas. The executives mentioned that an emotional connection was very important to them. That said, Team Backbone decided to push the envelope and come up with the concept of a guy introducing his fiancé to his grandparents via video phone - and his fiancé would be Jose. Lil Jon and the team felt this would surprise people and hopefully create a viral video. John Rich pointed out though that this may not be universal enough for ACN...
Team A.S.A.P. quickly decided to use Dionne in their commercial and have her in the recording studio with her engineer on the other line. Once the ladies met with the executives they immediately shifted gears, realizing that they needed to produce a commercial that connected to the audience emotionally. They came up with the idea to have a 16-year-old girl in Paris calling her family and being able to communicate to her mom with sign language via videophone. The dynamics this week seemed to have changed and everyone was getting along very well, surprisingly. La Toya was having a few eye issues so her projects were limited and she was tasked with keeping the time. Not exactly a task that requires much, aside from checking your watch all day. The women split up, Marlee, NeNe, Star and La Toya going to the casting and Hope and Dionne going to the prop house. Considering last week's task and historically how long Dionne takes shopping (although what woman doesn't?) I was surprised that NeNe put Dionne in charge of this.
As I've discovered, the project manager for Backbone plays two roles, leading the team and also preventing Gary from getting them sidetracked. Lil Jon is feeling the effects of the second part of his job, claiming that Gary is all over the place. The men's team was setting up to begin shooting their commercial. Jose was in hair and makeup, getting ready to play his part as Pablo. When Ivanka swung by the set, team Backbone did not want to lose any shock value. So they didn't share their concept with Ivanka, which was a first. Ivanka asked if there would be full frontal nudity; thankfully they replied no. No one watching would be getting a glimpse of "Big Wednesday." Only Gary could come up with that... The men all felt that this concept was a huge gamble but hopefully one that would pay off in the Boardroom.
The ladies team was anxiously awaiting the props to arrive so that they could get the cameras rolling. During that time NeNe made it clear that she really only counted on Star and Marlee for help in executing the task. As a leader, although she may have felt that way, it's her job to utilize all of her teammates. I think La Toya felt very underestimated and devalued as she was only in charge of keeping the time. Once the props were laid out, to Dionne's approval of course, they began shooting their 30-second spot. Overall the filming process was seamless, as Marlee being a main component did a great job conveying emotion and a family bond.
It was time for the ladies to hit the editing room, an extremely crucial part of the commercial. Almost all of the women thought they still had more work to do, with the exception of Dionne. She felt that she had done her job and she was free to go. I showed up to check on Team A.S.A.P.'s progress and was shocked to see her missing. The rest of the team seemed so focused and cohesive it was a shame that Dionne had felt she didn't need to be there. I think that NeNe as the leader should have been tougher on her and not let that go. That to me was a reflection of her management style. I know if I was part of a team and a member just walked out, I wouldn't look favorably on that. Not to mention, Dionne feeling that she had nothing else to contribute to the task for that day was disappointing.
With all that said, it was go time! The place was filled up with 450 leaders of the ACN family and my father. Both teams seemed to be feeling great about their commercials and were ready to hit the stage. I was impressed to hear Meat Loaf talk about his team and that one of their major strengths was trust. I agree that on any team trust is so important and such a key aspect to collectively being successful. The ladies were up first, NeNe and Star taking the stage to introduce their commercial. I think they did an awesome job creating a heartfelt spot and using the tagline, "Connecting your world."
Team Backbone took the stage and the light switch was definitely on, Lil Jon hyping the audience up. The men did a great job and emphasized the tagline, "Life without boundaries." Adding, "Sometimes you just have to see it!" When my father met with the executives they both said that the audience felt both teams did a fantastic job.
It was time for the Boardroom and both teams walked in feeling very confident. When my father asked Richard how he thought Lil Jon performed as PM, Richard replied, "the best" which isn't often heard. When we asked Meat Loaf who the weak player was, he truthfully couldn't name anyone. Ivanka commented that when she visited the men's team, there was an incredible harmony. During this time NeNe got very emotional and mentioned she was very invested in this project. She spoke about her charity and how much it meant to her to win. She is fighting for women of domestic violence, a charity very close to her. In speaking to all of her team members, NeNe received great reviews, saying that she was an excellent director.
The vote was extremely close, and both commercials were liked very much. But ultimately the men won this task 53 to 47 percent. It was three in a row for the men and a job well done! As we said in the Boardroom, it was a risk reward - they took the risk, they got the reward. The men left the Boardroom and were off to celebrate; that, and to watch the battles going on in the Boardroom. My father continued to question the women on why they keep losing; obviously something was wrong with the team dynamics. Marlee for example thought La Toya couldn't carry her weight. That said, in this task Dionne left early, which was very symbolic of her attitude. The team respected her but she wasn't able to function as a team member. When my father asked Dionne who he should fire, her answer was "I'd fire me." It was not smart to challenge my father like this. As soon as she said that I knew that she would be the one to go. That was not a wise move. Dionne claimed that NeNe should have asked her to stay, but truthfully, when you are on a team you should want to stay - for your team. I think Dionne lacked that team morale and fight. She was fired, then did show her fight right outside the Boardroom doors when NeNe and Dionne had a few words. But I think Dionne must have known once she challenged my father it was over. We all have great respect for Dionne and wish her continued success.
Thank you for joining me in the Boardroom. Hope that you enjoyed this week's episode. Please continue to share your feedback with me here on the blog and via my twitter page: www.twitter.com/donaldjtrumpjr