HOW TO SELL AN ELECTRIC BIKE…..BADLY….

Fiona Scott
4 min readFeb 3
Victoria who didn’t get on her electric bike…

It was week five of The Apprentice and the teams had to create a marketing campaign for new electric bikes.

Woken by the telephone at 4am the 13 candidates had 20 minutes to get ready for the cars as they headed off to meet Lord Sugar. How do they get ready in that time and look so polished? Is that real? I’ll have to ask one of the candidates when I meet one.

Arriving in South Kensington at Imperial College London, they were told that they had to create a marketing campaign — including a name and logo for an electric bike with a tv advert, digital billboard and then pitch to industry experts.

Lord Sugar set the scene by saying that climate change is something which is at the forefront of business minds and that people are looking to technology to make greener choices. The teams were given two days to come up with their persuasive vision for these electric motorbikes. We all knew that in all likelihood we’d end up not persuaded!

In Team Apex, three people wanted to be project manager and Marnie got the vote — even though she admitted she knew nothing about electric bikes, didn’t even have a driving licence but she did know about marketing. She immediately wanted to focus on pitching to ‘petrol’ heads because she didn’t think a ‘green’ message was sexy. It was all about leather and masculinity — hardly a modern vibe. She stood by this throughout even when challenged later by Lord Sugar.

In Team Affinity, Bradley was project manager with no competition because he loves his cars and bikes. And he wanted to call his bike is Caf-E Racer or Racer Caf-E — it apparently means something to bikers yet clearly it meant nothing to his sub team. Or me.

And it didn’t mean anything to sub team leader Shazia, as once out of the room, she immediately dropped Bradley’s idea for Avi’s new name of Zip Zap with a snappy tagline which was instantly forgettable. They all agreed and, of course, Shazia reminded people that she has a degree in media. Again, and again and again. Zip Zap was better…more appealing…more something…

The other team went for the brand name ‘Soldier’ and the tag line ‘ride dirty, drive clean’….didn’t work for me as a petrol head who actually drives an electric car. And ‘Soldier’, I absolutely didn’t get it…

Fiona Scott

Fiona has been a UK journalist for more than 30 years as well as being a freelance tv producer director. She’s also had her own media consultancy since 2008.