The show is past its sell-by date, the novelty of Suralan has worn off, and the candidates are increasingly hard to like. Yet we continue to watch. Why? Because it's oddly reassuring and brutally enlightening at the same time ' anyone in a job will find it entertaining and educational in equal measure. Each episode is like watching a bus accident in slow motion ' it has an awful fascination. But educational? Yes ' especially if you subscribe to the old adage that learning by your own mistakes is good, but learning from the mistakes of others is even better!
Lessons for those in the business of winning customers
In every series there's an episode where the candidates are set a marketing related challenge. And the one in this current series is a cracker - launch your own YouTube channel and show how adept you are at engaging viewers to create an audience that you might later be able to sell to. The candidates make such a spectacular mess of it that you could write a book on the 'learning outcomes'. Keeping it brief we've just picked a couple of big ones that come under the loose heading of 'expectations'.
Engaging with an audience is harder than it looks
First off, they made the mistake of expecting it to be easy. Blinded by their own self-belief they underestimated the challenge ' the fact that the world doesn't need another couple of new YouTube channels (unless they are very good). The candidates assumed that creating content that lots of people would not only notice, but like so much that they'd willingly share with their friends, would require nothing more than the ability to act the fool. How wrong they were.
Get over yourself!
The next big mistake was expecting other people to fall in love with the content just because they loved it themselves. Viewers who sat through the painful birthing process of the Fat Daddy and Dare to Dine videos were left in no doubt that the participants genuinely believed they were creating something informative and hilarious. It was a cringe-making exercise in self-delusion that ended in recrimination and tears. What both teams produced was, to any independent observer, trivial, childish and even downright offensive.
What could they have differently?
In truth the format of the programme sets them up to fail ' they are given a difficult task and insufficient time in which to do a proficient job to put them under impossible pressure and create compelling disasters. In real life, with a real business, the smart thing to do when initiating any campaign designed to engage consumers is to avoid rushing it. You have to be realistic about the challenge, be very clear on what you need to say in order to get the desired response, and communicate that message in a way that the audience will respond to positively.
DDIY (don't do it yourself)
Some of the most telling scenes in the programme came when the teams pitched their ideas to professional content producers and distributors. These experts voiced a few concerns but were too polite to really let rip (their expressions of mute shock said it all). Not surprisingly they politely declined to touch Dare to Dine or Fat Daddy with a barge pole. So the biggest point we took away from the episode was this. It's smart to get some independent and detached input from an experienced professional at an early stage - you'll save yourself a ton of grief, time and money. Because getting attention, then winning hearts and minds, is a lot harder than most people expect. And it's very foolish to kid yourself that you achieve the results you need without expert help.