The teams had 48 hours to create a new brand for a multi-purpose household cleaner (complete with packaging and advertising campaigns) and then present to a leading advertising agency. It’s Sugar’s favourite task and boy, it was awash with drama.
Synergy invented "Octi-Kleen" with the catch phrase "Eight hands are better than two". According to Sugar, it was the only thing they got right - sounds ominous? With the idea originating from a mother and toddlers focus group, one assumes Synergy ensured their intellectual property rights were left all spic and span. First time leader and ex-Commando, Christopher Farrell promised to orchestrate Synergy’s campaign with military precision, yet showed a worrying disregard for equal rights with his stereotypical view of a typical domestic set up. Might his leering at the lead actress during filming also have been construed as sexual harassment? Apparently not. Christopher sought to remind us that "sex sells", especially in cleaning commercials.
So surely Alex Epstein with his wealth of marketing experience would clean up? Well, not really. Demonstrating an impressive ignorance of basic health and safety awareness, Apollo enlisted a small child to star as "the Germ-o-nator". Emblazoned on the front of their product (to be kept out of the reach of children, by the way) and in their TV advertising campaign, Arnold Schwarzenegger Junior (or was it Posh Spice?) was central to Apollo’s marketing strategy. Nothing wrong with that according to confident Epstein.
Of greater concern was Alex’s failure to control his mob as his weak leadership skills catapulted Chris Bates to de facto manager and allowed him to run amok with the TV advert. Laura who boasted buckets of marketing experience led the revolt but was continuously marginalised by Alex who put her in "wrong" roles. Sugar’s interpretation of that? She did naff all, of course. Meanwhile, Farrell’s underlings sat neatly under the radar with their reputations unblemished as we were treated to Stuart’s ‘face’ for radio. Brilliant.
Sugar soaked up feedback from the advertising executives like a sponge, then promptly wished he hadn’t. ‘A travesty’ and ‘distasteful’ were just some of the catchphrases that resonated with the experts. With Sugar firmly in agreement, it was a victory by default for Synergy who limped off to their karaoke bar for cocktails and song.
In his inevitable return to the boardroom, Alex took Chris and Sandeesh (what, not Laura?) for company. Presumably Alex had Sandeesh down as the fall guy after her boardroom appearance last time out but Sugar was having none of it. And although Alex has been portrayed as the polite and good humoured one throughout the series, he suddenly threw the kitchen sink at Chris, at which point we knew his chances had finally dissolved. Despite his last gasp attempts to prove he hadn’t messed up, Alex was exterminated. More gravy, anyone?
Praveen Bhatia, Sheridans, Media Lawyers
This article was first published on hrmagazine.co.uk