Cola wars? Amateurs. That feud has nothing on the battle between the six remaining members of the Apex and Mosaic teams on the Thanksgiving Day episode of The Apprentice. With Jen cast off to Mosaic, the two teams gathered at PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP ) headquarters to come up with a marketing campaign spearheaded by a new bottle design for the soda and salty snack giant's new Pepsi Edge soda.
Mosaic's Andy was on a sugar rush, rambling and downing a whole lot of Pepsi, while over at Apex, Ivana wasn't much help with her off-the-wall marketing suggestions and the occasional innuendo.
Mosaic thought up a bottle-cap promotion where Edge drinkers would collect countries under the caps. Snag the entire continent, and you win a trip to go there. As for the new bottle, they tossed around the idea of going with an orb-shaped plastic vehicle but ultimately went with a more conventional shape with a geographical spin by shrink-wrapping the top and bottom with global hemispheres and tacking a compass on the bottle top.
Apex got clever, with project manager Kelly suggesting that the bottles should be molded around the D and G in the middle of the word Edge. The D's center was punched through, and the team suggested some promotions that could be embedded into the bottle's cutting-edge design.
Both teams pitched their bottles to PepsiCo executives, but it wasn't much of a contest. Pepsi Edge, with the same tweener approach as Coke's (NYSE: KO ) midline C2 soda, was supposed to convey a cool image. Mosaic's very uncool map-quest approach prompted one PepsiCo marketer to ask, "When was the last time that geography was cool?"
Apex hit the boardroom. Andy took Sandy to task, and she fired back. While Trump and his crew thought that Jen was once again slipping under the radar, Trump cut Andy loose when Sandy struck back hard at her project manager. The kid was done.
Rick: Did you catch the Pepsi ad just after Andy got fired, with Andy swigging a Pepsi in the back of a cab wondering whether he will ever find another job? Then it turns out Raj is the cabbie? Great spot, but I think that the sponsors have taken over the show. Then again, I don't see the point in Pepsi Edge -- or Pepsi One for that matter. If you're a fence-straddling soda sipper without the conviction to go either whole soda or diet, then maybe you're just not ready for soft drinks. But, yep, it was Andy's time to go. I'm surprised they didn't hit him too hard for handing out $100 bills to the design team. What's the point of dishing out money and holding back on pizza as a motivational tool? He just blew it.
Dayana: I think Andy's mind was still on the renovation project from a few weeks ago. Was he expecting high fives and faster service by peeling off cash for the Pepsi designers? It was a very amateurish move. Andy, put your wallet in your pocket, and back away from the soda machine.
Tim: Yep, Andy pushed himself and his team off the edge, but he was the one who landed on the rocks. The truth is that there were any number of reasons to fire the kid -- from the so-called "cash incentives" to his inability to control the ladies of Mosaic to his sugar-fed hyperactive indecisiveness. I mean, seriously, have either of you seen anyone this side of a Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Xbox or Sony (NYSE: SNE ) PlayStation 2 drink that much cola in one sitting?
Rick: Sandy was a wreck during the presentation. I don't think the team stood a shot, but she was so awkward that their slim hope morphed into none by the time that she was done trying to explain the convoluted continental promotion. The whole campaign still bothers me. Wasn't it Coke that wanted to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony?
Tim: Yeah, Sandy's forced diatribe was difficult to watch, but nothing compared to Ivana's sexual suggestiveness during the brainstorm. I'd wonder whether cola could actually make you dumb if this kind of behavior hadn't been going on for weeks. First there was her ill-timed and unwarranted attack on Stacie J. in the boardroom, and then last week it was the "blonde" bombshell she dropped about Jen right in front of Carolyn. Doctor, we need a tact transplant. Stat!
Dayana: We're now getting a glimpse of each candidate's real personality -- well, "TV real" -- as the foibles are given amplified airtime. But notice that Kelly is still looking like a golden child much like Bill (I mean, "Mr. Rancic") did last season. Now Kelly is guaranteed a spot in the final four by being the winning project manager. Are there any golden children left to join him?
Rick: I can't see Ivana and Jen together in the final four. There is just too much bad blood there. One of them will go.
Dayana: Don't be so sure. After the debate-cum-catfight that ultimately got Andy canned, Trump turned to Carolyn and said he always thought women were tougher than men, and that the boardroom spat "proves it." This week I'm going with a final four that would make for good TV: Ivana, Jen, Kelly, and Sandy. That means that next week, Kevin will have to fall asleep at the wheel.
Tim: Doesn't anyone else think Sandy overreached? She may have won a fan in George because of her spark, but she didn't do all that well during the task. And performance ultimately trumps spirit when it comes to the Donald, otherwise Chris would still be around. So I'm sticking with who's left of my original picks -- Kelly, Kevin, and Jen -- and adding -- gulp -- Ivana.
Until next week, suite dreams.