The Apprentice

By James Regal, Account Manager, Clarion Communications

Dum di dum di dum di dum di dum di dum di DUM DUM…

That’s right, The Apprentice is back.  The first three episodes certainly haven’t disappointed, packed with the usual nonsensical and self-affirming hyperbole that has viewers dropping jaws and reaching for smartphones to share in the collective, online horror.

Speaking of online, episode 2 was particularly fascinating, given that many PR brainstorms at Clarion Towers these days naturally involve a suggestion for an app – in case you’ve been living under a rock (or have the programme series-linked on Sky Plus) the teams had to create an application before trying to stimulate as many free downloads as they could within 24 hours.

Having created their app, the pin-striped hopefuls had to pitch to three of the country’s largest tech websites, pocket-lint, techcrunch and Wired, in order to be featured as their “app of the day” – and therefore gain exposure to a huge online audience of people eager to instantly add it to their phones.

Just as an aside, I suggest that all our future PR pitches are conducted face-to-face with media in teams of three, preferably with a straight-talking Irishman to bail me out when I get tongue-tied.  If it worked for them…

Strangely, the boys’ Team Logic, who appeared to perform the best and was featured on two out of three of these sites, lost.  Lord Sugar attributed their failure to the fact that their regional accent soundboard app, Slangatang, didn’t have the global appeal of Team Venture’s more universal, yet equally rubbish, annoying noises app.  Its description on the app-store was also filled with more jargon than a Con-Lib manifesto.

However, did the boss of all bosses underestimate the power of PR in this instance? By securing the blessing of, the girls managed to reach an online audience of around 10 million monthly unique users. Compare this to Pocket-lint’s two million and techcrunch’s rather more modest 350,000 and you can start to see how the girls managed to triumph.

This raises an interesting question: if over 10,000 people can download a dreadful app just because said they should, then does this suggest that it doesn’t matter how ill-conceived and mind-numbingly terrible your product is, as long as you get the right PR? I suppose you could answer that question with one word – Jedward.

This episode serves to remind us that sometimes we PRs get so caught up in trying to achieve blanket coverage anywhere and everywhere that perhaps we should stop, breathe and then channel our time and effort into contacting just a handful of journalists who are going to do the best job for our client.