Packaging row takes the biscuit in The Apprentice

A row over packaging took centre stage in last night’s Apprentice after one of the teams failed to secure any orders for a biscuit brand they had created.

lord sugar mn

The team, led by contestant Zoe, developed the ‘Bix Mix’ concept for biscuits which snap into two, allowing consumers to share easily.

Branding agency 1HQ took a starring role in the BBC show, designing sumptuous purple packs for the product, which was based on a digestive biscuit.

The agency also designed the packs for the rival team’s highly successful Special Star biscuits, which secured an order for 800,000 units from Asda.

Pitches to three retailers for Bix Mix, however, failed to secure any orders, leading to a heated boardroom row between Lord Sugar and the four wannabes in the team: Zoe, Melody, Tom and Susan.

The row centered on the disconnect between on one hand the marketing strategy and the packs created – which suggested a luxurious product – and on the other hand the simple digestive biscuit inside.

One buyer from Waitrose had praised the packs, commenting on the “high quality” of the primarily purple design, but said he was disappointed by the product

In his final analysis, Lord Sugar said: “At the end of the day, packaging, marketing is superficial if what’s in the box is rubbish.”

Zoe, who briefed 1HQ on the design, said: “We developed premium packaging that was let down by the product.”

But Tom, who had developed the digestive biscuit itself, retorted that he had not been told it was supposed to be a premium product and complained that the marketing concept had changed throughout the project.

Lord Sugar saw fit to spare the creators of the biscuit, but Zoe was fired for her failure to make sure the product and the packaging achieved the same goals.

The competing team’s Special Stars biscuits featured a large star of chocolate on an oatmeal-based biscuit.

Asda placed an order for 800,000 units of Special Stars on the basis of exclusivity.



One comment

  1. It was a farcical approach to product development that would have most marketers and design agencies wincing in pain!
    There was virtually no attempt by either group to identify target market or consumption drivers, nor was there much evidence of category insights, given that Zoe was in the food business. The biscuit market is crowded and complex, with many quality/pricing tiers and consumption drivers.
    A few simple questions were all that was required.