You're hired! magazine.co.uk appears on The Apprentice 2018
If you're eagle-eyed and happened to be tuned into BBC1 at around 9pm last Wednesday (10th October), you may have spotted the magazine.co.uk team on a little show called The Apprentice.
Yes, that's right, WE WERE ON THE APPRENTICE!
For those of you who haven't seen or heard of ‘The Apprentice’, the hit TV show pits 16 ambitious, entrepreneurial candidates against each other in a series of weekly tasks. Each week one or more candidates are 'fired' and removed from the process, with the ultimate winner securing themselves a £250,000 investment and partnership with multi-millionaire, British business titan - Lord Alan Sugar.
Following the previous week's procurement task in Malta, Lord Sugar's next challenge brought the remaining 15 candidates to the House of Illustration in London, where the two teams (boys vs girls) were tasked with designing and creating a brand new comic aimed at eight- to 12-year-olds.
Both sides were expected to invent a new comic name, character, story and most excitingly, a dynamic front cover that utilised AR technology - very fancy! Once created and printed, both teams were challenged to pitch their comic book invention to three major UK retailers to secure initial orders, with us representing the online magazine marketplace.
Our involvement in the task:
As the UK's leading magazine subscription website, Lord Sugar and his trusted advisors, Karren Brady and Claude Littner wanted our team of publishing experts - Rob Pierre, Carola York & Matthew Read - to evaluate the two team's creations. Four representatives from each group visited our London offices to pitch their new title. Our team then reviewed each for their suitability for the kid's magazine market, with a view to placing an order to stock the comic book on magazine.co.uk - exciting stuff!
Our three industry experts first met with the girls' team to discuss their "educational, but fun and quirky" comic - M.C. GOGO - which aimed to take "children's imaginations to new places, to learn about new cultures, new foods and new landmarks".
While our team loved the educational nature of the comic, Carola questioned the depth of this with only four French words included in the magazine, and Matthew highlighted the litany of errors in the copy! Meanwhile, Rob was also a little perplexed with the lack of punctuation on the front cover’s title, although the girls didn't seem to recognise the gravity of the error - cue awkward conversation!
Next, through the door came the boys' team to present their space-exploring character - Benji! Underwhelming AR experience aside, the pitch started badly when we questioned whether the comic was suitable for the 8 to12-year-old age range they claimed it to be, but things went from bad to worse when one of the candidates turned to their market research, and bizarrely proceeded to highlight all of the negative feedback they'd received, citing a lack of diversity and leading to an awkward team debrief on where it had all gone wrong!
The final verdict:
Feedback aside, there is only one thing that matters in a task like this and that is the volume of orders, and after careful consideration, our team decided to opt for 750 copies of the girl's M.C. GOGO and a paltry 200 copies of the boy's Benji comic - a clear winner in our eyes and reaffirmed with a similar order split from the other two major retailers!
But which team won you ask?
Our lips are sealed, so get yourself over to BBC iPlayer to find out yourself! #nospoilers
What our experts had to say:
"It was great to take part and see what both teams had come up with. It's by no means an easy task bringing a new title to what is already a very competitive market, and fundamentally I felt the girl's offering would stand out more against competitors and have a much broader reach than the boy's, obviously once they sort out the spelling mistakes!"
Matthew Read - Head of Digital Marketing
"Having been involved in publishing for more years than I care to admit, and having seen lots of new magazine launches (both successful and unsuccessful), I was intrigued to see what comics the Apprentice teams would create. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the boys really got to grips with the challenge! The girl's idea was definitely better, focusing on making education and learning languages fun. However, there were still quite a lot of basic errors and omissions in the initial execution of their concept. So it's going to be interesting to see how the candidates cope with all the other tasks set by Lord Sugar over the next few weeks!"
Carola York - Managing Director
What were your thoughts? Were you #TeamBoys or #TeamGirls? Let us know if you agreed with our experts and their final decision in the comments section below.