With 100 days to the 2012 London Olympics, in the latest episode Lord Sugar focused the candidates' attentions towards the highly profitable keep fit industry.
The teams had two days to devise and brand a new fitness class, then pitch their routines to leading health and fitness chains. Both teams had to direct a promotional video to showcase their concepts.
All Out Of Fresh Ideas
Team Sterling (Ricky, Duane, Nick, Gabrielle, Laura and Jenna), led by Wrestler Ricky opted for a street dance combined with martial arts amalgamation, branding the regime “Beat Battle”.
Team Phoenix (Adam, Stephen, Tom, Azhar, Jade and Katie) lead by sales professional Stephen, adopted a retro 1980’s theme, branded as “Groove Train”, incorporating hula hoops and space-hoppers, which was instantly sneered at by a scowling Karen Brady.
I'm Ready For My Closeup, Mr. De Mille....
First up for their video shoot was the Groove Train team, Azhar is the star of what can best be described as a cheesfest production. They manage to complete the task, but “choreographer” Adam doesn’t seem to have made a great deal of contribution.
Team Sterling’s self-appointed sub team leader, Duane upset team mates in directing their teams’ video. The video ends up being quite simplified with no actual highlighted USP (unique selling point).
Pitch Or Hitch?
Ricky kicked off pitching Beat Battle to Virgin Active where the video was not received well.
They changed their approach when met with buyers from Pure Gym and opted for a live demo. Up against Fitness First, Ricky held his own when questioned about how their concept differs to Body Combat, he dynamically responded with a very intuitive and quantitative answer.
Team Phoenix’s pitches were predictably raw. A recurring question flowed amongst the pitches; just how much would it cost to buy the requisite Spacehopper, skipping rope and hoola-hoop accessories? Unit costs were plucked from thin air which did not go unnoticed by Karen Brady.
The Boardroom Drill
To be honest I thought team Sterling had it in the bag when it was announced that they had £8k on the cards. However, after hearing that Fitness First and Pure Gym hated “Groove Train”, Karen went in to voice with aplomb that Virgin didn’t like it... not for the target market.... but saw it as a potential moneymaker for the family demographic. Virgin made an order topping Sterling’s and team Phoenix prevailed.
The Big K.O
Ricky brought back into the boardroom; Duane and Laura, this was surprising as Nick, Jenna and Gabrielle contributed the least.
Lord Sugar decided the cause of their defeat lay with the production of the video, which brought him to fire Duane.
Post Game Replay
The challenge this episode was quite a hefty one. Selling a concept is far different to selling a product, especially with in the fitness and sport industry which is quite saturated as it is.
While it is true that it is easier to develop and market a concept than a product the absence of a physical item leaves the inventor exposed.
Firstly the person responsible for the idea must be able to generate more advanced versions of their ideas faster than their competitors in order to hold their position within the market. Secondly in a busy marketplace it becomes very hard to adapt your concept to target new audiences without replicating what one of your competitors are doing. Lastly, products have a physical USP’s which become central features of future ranges. Our sportswear client SKINS build their gradient compression technology into each garment that they produce – this differentiates their recovery suits, sport specific performance tops, compression socks and a whole range of niche products from competitors. SKINS
have developed a sports wear niche based on the concept of driving more oxygen to your muscles which keeps you performing harder for longer. By backing this concept with technology they are able to more effectively protect their idea with physical patents. More importantly the innovation behind their products is very important in maintaining their strong brand image. This makes it easier for SKINS
to bring new products to market as their existing ranges are so popular.
So, in our opinion entering this market with a concept based product would be a better way of carving out a long term future revenue stream. That’s not to dismiss the concept idea all together- it is a good way of generating high levels of revenue relatively quickly but we just have concerns about longer term planning!
Definitely look forward to the next episode, will keep you as ever informed.