|The Apprentice episode|
|Task:||Create and sell charity calenders|
|Project Managers:|| Nargis (Velocity)|
|Airdate:||March 1st 2006|
|Series Two Tasks:|
Week Two had the teams designing charity calendars to promote Great Ormond St. Hospital, and pitching them to retailers.
Nargis stepped up to the team leader's position, and after some market research that suggested that calenders featuring cats were the strongest-selling type of calender, the team decided to produce a calendar that featured cats. Jo strongly objected to this, but her arguments went ignored by the rest of the team, who made the questionable argument that they had all decided between them that a cat calender was the best idea and so they couldn't be making a mistake. The calendar that they eventually produced featured kittens and had no real link to the hospital, and also had the dates printed so small that they could only be seen close-up and could not be written on. Michelle and Ruth tried to get Nargis to correct this, but she bluntly overruled them and stuck with the initial design.
While Alexa and Karen had volunteered to pitch, Nargis decided to do it herself, and told her team that she didn't need any support or interruptions during the presentation. Their first pitch was to Virgin Megastores, where Nargis tried to sell the calender on the basis that there were six million cat owners in the UK, and only gave a cursory description of the hospital charity. She aggravated the buyers by telling them they could ask any questions, only to shut them up when they did ask questions and tell them to let her finish talking. Then, when they asked what kind of pricing structure they had in mind for the calender, Nargis aggressively demanded that they tell her the price they were willing to pay. A similar result happened at the next retailer, Calendar Club, where the buyer asked why they were promoting a children's hospital with a cat calender, only for Nargis to ask him not to interrupt her. Their final pitch was to Harrods, where Nargis again irritated the buyer by ignoring his questions and talking over him.
The men were led by Samuel, who spent several hours trying to plan out a brainstorming session rather than actually carrying it out. It ended up being Margaret who got the team under way by accusing them of wasting time, and after what ended up a fairly brief brainstorming session, Invicta decided that the obvious option was to feature babies, given that Great Ormond St. is famous as a children's hospital. They shot pictures of babies carrying out adult jobs, while Tuan produced the calender layouts. Tuan worked very slowly however and the rest of the team arrived to find the calender nowhere near complete, leading to Tuan getting pushed aside and the rest of the team hurriedly completing the calender by themselves, leaving Tuan to storm out of the design studio, upset.
Mani volunteered to do Invicta's pitch; however, Samuel had rejected Syed's request to buy some calenders so as to figure out a pricing structure, leaving the team going into the task with no idea what they intended to ask for the calenders. Mani's pitch was somewhat overwrought and talked mostly about the work the charity did, rather than trying to get the retailer interested in the product. The first retailer they went to was Harrods, and the lack of a pricing structure for Invicta soon became an apparent problem. Next they went to Virgin, and despite Paul and Ansell telling Mani that their previous pitch hadn't worked, Mani ignored them and gave largely the same pitch as he had done previously. Their pitch to Virgin went even worse than their previous one, with the buyers branding their calender cheap-looking and badly designed, and openly admitting that they weren't interested in it. Their final pitch was to Calendar Club, and the buyer there recognised that they had a good theme, and were promoting the charity well, despite Mani making another over-the-top pitch.
Invicta failed to secure any orders from Harrods or Virgin, but Calender Club placed a large order of 6,000 calenders from Invicta. While Velocity made sales to all three retailers, they were in such small quantities that they managed to sell only 3,500 calenders in total, costing them the task. For their reward, Invicta were sent to a caviar tasting session.
Velocity returned to the boardroom, and questioned on the decision to make a calender focusing on cats, when the idea was to promote the hospital. Nargis told Sir Alan they had decided to do so because their research found they were the top sellers, but Sir Alan replied that the popularity of cat calenders meant that producing their own was actually a poor idea, since it would have gotten lost in the crowd among all the other ones sold. Sir Alan also branded it useless as a calender, backing up Michelle and Ruth's earlier argument, but Nargis still refused to admit that she had made a mistake, claiming that it was a "modern aesthetic design." The presentation was also bought up, and Nargis was asked why she had decided on doing the pitch herself, considering that she had no experience, and that Alexa and Karen had volunteered to do it; she said it was their fault for not doing a good enough job persuading her to let them present, and claimed that she wanted to learn how to do presentations. Sir Alan was unimpressed and told Nargis that this wasn't meant to be a learning environment, but a place for experienced professionals. He asked her who she was bringing back, and she selected Jo and Karen.
Nargis spent much of the final boardroom attacking Jo, accusing her of being disruptive and then not contributing once it became clear that the team didn't intend to follow her idea. She also accused Karen of not helping out in the presentation, which left Karen confused as she claimed to be under the impression that Nargis thought she needed no help. While Sir Alan wasn't impressed as to Jo's conduct, he agreed with her that the team had been misdirected from the start of the task, and to some extent sympathised with her. He accepted that the team on a whole had all agreed on cats as the idea, but told Nargis that she was entirely to blame for the design of the calender and the poor pitches that she had given to the retailers, and for that reason she was fired.