The Apprentice episode 9 review: double firing as skincare challenge turns people green

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People were left cringing as The Apprentice candidates created an almost toxic skincare product, writes Corinne Mills

This week the task was to make a skincare beauty product for men. Could the contestants develop a product worthy of the nation’s bathroom shelves? No, they couldn’t.

The better attempt of the two was led by Project Manager Dani Donovan. She decided her target group were the over 50s, a group her 20-something team saw as riddled with regrets, full of mid-life crisis, career over, family gone, the golf course their only aspiration. Megan described them as “willowing their way to retirement” a short crawl to decline and death. A cheery vision.

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Their product smelt okay, the branding and packaging was a mish-mash of styles with the cream housed in an odd, scented candle type ornament, but none of it was terrible or harmful. In The Apprentice world, that’s usually enough to win.

On the other team, Project Manager Bradley Johnson wanted an edgier vibe for his man cream. His vision was for a snake-themed exfoliator called Venom which would slough off the dead skin. The packaging, featuring a grotesque, bright green, snake head on top of a brown bottle, resembled a child’s Halloween bubble bath or as Lord Sugar described it "a brussel sprout on top of a turd".

The Apprentice viewers were left horrified by the bizarre packaging for a male skincare product created on the show The Apprentice viewers were left horrified by the bizarre packaging for a male skincare product created on the show
The Apprentice viewers were left horrified by the bizarre packaging for a male skincare product created on the show | BBC

Bradley reminded me of Paul Rudd’s character, Brian Fantana in Anchorman, describing his lady-magnet cologne. “It’s called Sex Panther by Odeon. It’s illegal in nine countries. Yep, it’s made with bits of real panther, so you know it’s good.” 

Looking at the creation with horror Bradley gulped “it’s not quite what I imagined” as his dreams of being in the Apprentice Final slithered away. “The more I look at it the more I like it, '' he said in desperation. Clearly his eyes had lost focus by staring with incredulity and his mind had wandered off to a happier place.

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Bradley Johnson lives in North Yorkshire and he is the director of a construction company. A self-made businessman, he prides himself on his determination and work ethic.Bradley Johnson lives in North Yorkshire and he is the director of a construction company. A self-made businessman, he prides himself on his determination and work ethic.
Bradley Johnson lives in North Yorkshire and he is the director of a construction company. A self-made businessman, he prides himself on his determination and work ethic. | BBC

If the packaging was not repellent enough, the bright green skin cream was hazardous. It stained the skin green, resistant to soap and wet wipes and with limited appeal to anyone not Kermit or Grinch related. It did turn out though to be an effective exfoliator as anyone who tried it, needed to scour their skin to get the product off. Not quite the long lasting results we expect from our beauty products.

Unsurprisingly the consumer research group and the retail buyers were having none of it. Avi Sharma offered an exclusive deal to everyone, suggesting they take it for free on a sale or return basis but no-one wanted a customer lawsuit on their hands. 

Bradley and his team had failed this task at every level, achieving precisely zero orders.  They were probably lucky to avoid additional costs for personal injury and dry cleaning claims. Even Brian Fantina’s Sex Panther had better results boasting “60% of the time, it works every time”.

Avi Sharma is the youngest candidate. He is a city banker from London but, as an 'optimistic' entrepreneur, he believes Lord Sugar’s investment will get him out of the 'rat race' of city banking.Avi Sharma is the youngest candidate. He is a city banker from London but, as an 'optimistic' entrepreneur, he believes Lord Sugar’s investment will get him out of the 'rat race' of city banking.
Avi Sharma is the youngest candidate. He is a city banker from London but, as an 'optimistic' entrepreneur, he believes Lord Sugar’s investment will get him out of the 'rat race' of city banking. | BBC

Bradley seemed a perfectly competent young man, but as we’ve seen in previous episodes his creative instincts are not his strong suit. Career success is often about playing to your strengths and then persuading other people to do the things you can’t. A lesson that Bradly may now have learnt.

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He headed home along with Avi who was held responsible for the green dye in the cream.  Hugely self-confident, never intimidated, mostly charming, Avi is clearly angling for a showbusiness/influencer type career for which his robust narcissism is likely to serve him well. Good luck to him.

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