Young Apprentice: The Over-50 Market

Last things first and finally Lewis has been let out of his misery. As I read somewhere else, Lewis progressively became younger each week  – in the vein of the new Barnados advert. While the other candidates mainly seem like very mature 16/17 year olds, Lewis acted his age, was often endearing – how many people are particularly articulate at 16, or 36 for that matter? – but having been on the losing team every week (along with Harry Rugby), and highly responsible for every week’s loss, he had to go. Well done to Haya as well for bringing the right people into the boardroom this week.

So onto the task – identifying 2 products to sell to over-50s at an over-50 show at the Kensington Olympia. The preview at the end of last week’s episode had told us what the thrust of the task would be, but I wish I didn’t know as I would like to guess along with the candidates what the task will be from the venue where they congregate at the start. This week: The Natural History Museum. Cue lame jokes about Sugar and Hewer as old fossils.

So it was made clear that the over-50s have huge spending power, and are not all pensioners – articulated well by Harry Rugby when his team were deciding upon their project manner. Haya was chosen as team leader because she gets on with her grandmother… But in the end, they were marketing mainly to pensioners because what other over-50s have the time or inclination to go to a show that is specifically for the ‘over-50s’? Quite.

I’ve been to the Ideal Home Show and from observation, it’s cheap products that sell – and those that can be demonstrated well – like cooking gadgets or cleaning products – cleaning products in particular are very very popular. And it’s not just pensioners who like freebies – but it’s by offering samples that they could entice in the buyers.

So Haya’s team chose a pie-maker (RRP £19.99) and a bird house with camera attached (RRP ~£100 – I can’t remember because there was so much confusion with the way Harry and Hayley were selling this). The other team chose the mini-vac (RRP £39.99) and a designer shopping trolley (RRP ~£125). Although both teams wanted the shopping trolley, it seemed extremely expensive, and the loss of the trolley was not the reason Haya’s team lost. Perhaps if they had gone for the pie-maker AND the pillow, which Harry and Hayley liked so much, they would have done better – but would a pillow of ~£15 have brought in the £500 they got from the rubbish bird cameras? They would have needed to sell about 40 on the day.

In the end, the OTHER TEAM won because of their £800 sales of the mini-vacuum cleaner. Which sold very well despite the sub-team ignoring James’ directions to ask the sellers for a minimum price they could sell at. They were very good though at enthusing about each product (of course they’ve all watched previous series of The Apprentice) which helped them get the shopping trolley. The Other Harry continues to impress and I find it amusing that he continues to offer himself as project manager each week. Again, getting tips from young Susan in the last series of The Apprentice?

So Lewis did not lose the task because he asked whether the trolley was weather-proof, but it was his time to go. Not sure who will win – maybe one of the Harrys, or Lizzie who hasn’t lost yet but hasn’t shone yet either.

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