The Apprentice – What Online Marketeers can learn from the BBC

So you think this series of The Apprentice is all about sausages, beach towels and Slouch-Gate?  But the television show goes far beyond the 1-hour-a-week of programming.

Being an electronics entrepreneur, it shouldn’t really be surprising that Alan Sugar’s Apprentice is well supported by social media.  Although Lord Sugar has no hand in the production, the BBC has clearly worked hard to embrace this technology to really champion the  consumption of the reality TV show.  Not only does The Apprentice have an official Twitter feed (@bbcapprentice), you can also Tweet Baron Sugar of Clapton himself via @Lord_Sugar.

But its not just Twitter and Facebook pages that have made the campaign surrounding the show so successful – the BBC uses the The Apprentice name to encourage cross-viewing.   The Apprentice campaign is constructed like a well-built online SEO and SM campaign – different BBC programmes are used like microsites to boost brand engagement; at the end of the BBC1 show viewers are invited to switch over to watch The Apprentice: You’re Fired, and following that, viewers are often told that they can see further interviews with the failed applicants on BBC Breakfast the following morning.

In this way fans are guided through The Apprentice experience, but are subsequently encouraged to engage with distinctly separate brands all linked to the BBC core.

The experience viewers have becomes much more immersive, interactive, and engaging than simply being shown a stand alone programme – just like a customer’s experience on an online microsite.

By using this microsite structure of television scheduling the BBC can work to attract consumers with a strong brand affinity.  Although these programmes will have the bonus affect of potentially attracting new viewers, they also will deepen relationships and loyalty with current Apprentice fans.

All aspects of the BBC campaign are integrated and work together to get results – even if the contestants do not…



(Possibly) The Most Loved TV Ads of All Time

Advertising is all about being remembered:  We Buy Any Car goes for a ridiculously repetitive (dare I call it) slogan where as Go Compare chooses the slightly more subtle beat-them-around-the-head-with-puns-and-bad-rhymes approach – but no matter how annoying as they are or how mad they make us, we all know them…  And therefore I have to consider them very successful campaigns.

Earlier this month BOTTLE PR posted a blog presenting a selection of The Worst TV Ads of All Time, and although they missed a few (I feel the Covonia and Five Bingo adverts should be firmly shouldering their way into the mix), that blog got me thinking; we all know there are adverts that we love to hate, but what about those adverts that we love to love?  Which adverts will we remember for years, not because of a hideous jingle or dancing dog, but because we actually liked them?

1. Cadbury’s Caramel

Just the sound of that Bristolian lilt brings me right back to my first job working in a Cadbury’s Outlet.  This campaign brings back such feelings of nostalgia that Cadbury’s brought the Bunny out of retirement earlier this year to tempt people back to the brand post Kraft  take over.

2. Total Greek Yoghurt

Now somehow I’ve managed to completely miss this advert (thanks @Deveta for this suggestion) – but by just reading the You Tube comments I can see what an impact it has had.

3. Muller Corner

A personal favourite of mine – Ok, so she’s a cow, but  what lady doesn’t know what Mary’s going through?! 

4. Guinness

I don’t remember ever seeing it on the television and yet I know the words by heart.  The winner of countless awards, I just have to see a single frame to know the advert, the concept and the product.  I don’t even like Guinness, but hey, who’s for a pint of the Black Stuff?!

Looking back at these much-loved ads, it really makes me wonder why the emotion that some Advertising Execs choose to tap into is anger?  Yeh it works in the short-term, but ultimately We Buy Any Car is an ad we’d all love to forget.

But for now, we just can’t.


Over-throw the Rainbow: Where Andrew Lloyd Webber could go next.

The vocal cords are warmed up, the gingham dresses are pressed and the final line up is in.

This time next week Andrew Lloyd Webber will have found his new Dorothy.


Toto search logo

Andrew Lloyd Webber is hunting for Toto


For the last few years my weekend viewing has been punctuated by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s televised search for his next theatre star.  From Maria, to Joseph, to Nancy and now Dorothy the BBC shows have helped reinvigorate the West End and get more visitors through the theatre doors.

But where could ALW go for 2011?

Personally I think it’s time for something new.  In 2007 they pulled in the teen viewers by concocting a storyline in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.  Then in 2009 producers turned the search spotlight on cute-as-a-button 8 year-old boys.  Then, this year, they upped the cute-stakes further by hunting for Dorothy’s adorable four-legged friend…  If the show gets any sweeter I think even avid theatre fans  will start to feel queasy.

What our Saturday night viewing needs is a bit more spice…

We Brit’s can’t help but love a good TV villain – Big Brother 1’s Nasty Nick, Bad Girl’s Jim Fenner even Simon Cowell have captured our home-grown imaginations – so why not exploit it to the full.


Simon Cowell image

Villians are a staple of Saturday night TV


Simply put villans are more exciting.

Do a televised search for the Wicked Witch of the West, or the Child Catcher from Chitty.   Imagine the possiblities – no more of the hideous ‘Musical Mash-ups’ but rather ‘goodie’ vs ‘baddie’ duets.

You’re guaranteed to get some brilliant characters auditioning and the if  the recent popularity of television shows like Doctor Who have proven anything, it’s that kid’s like being scared.

Go on Andrew, give us someone we’ll love to hate.

New Beginnings: Fish Finger Custard

Easter.   A time where the shops are full of cuddly toys of fluffy bunnies and fuzzy chicks.  A time when fertile buds of  fight their way through the remnants of last year’s leaf litter.

A time of new beginnings.

And for those of you who might have missed it, time for the first full-outing for BBC1’s new Doctor Who.

Chick and Bunny

Easter: An excuse to surround yourself with cute things

If we time-travel back through the last 24 months to David Tennant’s shock departure announcement, to us Doctor Who fans it felt like a kick in the stomach.  Winded,  we raced through the chaos of speculation regarding to whom the Sonic Screwdriver would pass, and held our breath through the festive season stonking Doctor-Tennant finale…  All leading up to 3rd April 2010 when young Matt Smith stood up to take hold of the Doctor Who mantle.

And he was pretty darn good.

‘Fresh’ and ‘new’ clearly are the season’s buzz-words.  There’s a new creative team on board, the theme music has been revamped, the Tardis is given the once-over, there’s a new assistant in the shape of kiss-a-gram Amy Pond ( played immaculately by Karen Gillan, who may look a tad familiar from when she appeared as a SoothSayer in the 2008  episode ‘The Fires of Pompeii’), and even a new Sonic Screwdriver.

From the outset the whole episode was about completely re-framing the Doctor.

Matt Smith has got some large shoes to fill, but his Doctor remains energetic and sharp.  He shares Tennant’s flair for comic timing and yet at the same time does not mimick his style.  Even at the climax of the episode, standing face to face with his predecessors Doctor-Number-Eleven holds his own.   The plot (the Doctor crash-lands  in a young girl’s garden, discovers a fissure in the fabric of space, and gets involved in the hunt for an escaped alien convict) pales into the background.  This episode is all about introducing a very different Son of Gallifrey.

Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor

My one criticism of the new series has to be the silly bow-tie.  But then again, the Doctor isn’t known for his wardrobe choices (Tom Baker’s stripy scarf springs to mind), so maybe it will grow on me…  I am certainly looking forward to seeing how Smith blossoms into the role.

I have to say I was sceptical at first – a crazy guy with no table manners and a strange set of taste buds didn’t seem to be the most sophisticated way to introduce the new series… but all in all this episode was spot on.

The new Doctor is exciting.  The new Companion is ballsy.  The Sonic Screwdriver’s gone green!  And this is just the beginning.

It looks like we could be in for a great twelve weeks.