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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Deox flying high in The Apprentice Africa

By DENNIS D. MUHUMUZA

Action ensues at The Apprentice Africa. The contestants were for the first time saved the intimidating presence of Mr Shobanjo. The C.E.O sent them a video message instead.

It was actually a 'lecture' on branding that reminded them that popular brands like Pepsi are distinct because of remarkable branding. They were then told to "create an original brand identity" for groundnuts. That was the week's task.

Project managers: Bekeme for Matrix Corporation and Nnamdi for the Zulus were hereafter asked to choose two members each from the 'enemy' camp to join their respective teams. That's how Eddie and Oscar joined the girls, and Kathleen and smart Eunice became Zulus.

Both teams were soon engrossed in designing, labelling, packaging and marketing their brands. The Zulus researched about the price of "bottled ground nuts", designed a catchy mascot and hit the studios to record a jingle for their brand, Zizi. You should have seen Deox Tibeingana using his magical tenor to add vocal d├ęcor to Nnamdi's bass and Eunice's alluring soprano!

Meanwhile, Nancy was upset a team mate delayed the promotional materials and promptly sought divine intervention by leading her team into prayer, asking God to help them in the matter.

At the end, the teams exhibited their brands which were analysed and assessed by the judges. Zulu Corporation won with 183 points to Matrix's 173. The jubilant Zulus were sent off to enjoy themselves at Terra Kulture –an art exhibition, and would later watch a stage play by Ahmed Yerima, ending the treat with an evening of free shopping at a gift centre.

Our Oscar may have been "very happy" to join the beauties but when they lost he became a bundle of nerves. Shobanjo rebuked the small, almost invisible fonts and the poor colour use of yellow and green on their product.

Saying customers were attracted by brands, he trashed their brand name, 'Nutty Nuts' calling it "terrible…Imagine a detergent like OMO had decided to call itself 'Washy Wash'…"

Asked who she thought ought to be fired, Bekeme named Nancy. But our girl fought like a tiger saying she had offered her best to the team in terms of ideas.

Shobanjo suddenly criticised Bekeme for failing to reject Nancy's advice if she thought it fickle.
"As a leader the final call must be yours… how would the president of a nation justify a bad decision made because he got bad advice from his cabinet?"

The 26-year old Nigerian is pretty, classy, sharp and described herself as "tenacious, irredeemably ambitious and calculative" but all that could not save her from being fired.

Clearly, the last man/woman standing will be a visionary leader that gets things done quickly and effectively. Going by their stellar performance this far, that person could be Nigeria's Eunice or Uganda’s Deox.

--Daily Monitor, April 19, 2008