BBC Apprentice candidates design electric brushes

14 January 2022
2 min read

A recent episode of ‘The Apprentice’ tasked the teams to design an electric toothbrush aimed at children.

GDPUK published a summary of the episode, sharing, “The programme opened with a session at the Eastman Dental Hospital. The teams were asked to design an electric toothbrush together with a companion app. Having done this, they then pitched their idea to two major buyers. 

“Francesca had worked at an oral care company and led the female team. They went ahead with a space theme, and thought about how they would link to their app. Their brand became Brushing Star - with the aim that the child user would become a star at brushing. 

“The male team based their concept on magic. This became Wiffy the Wizard, a gender-neutral brown wand.

“Both teams spilt into two groups, the first to create the brush, the hardware, with the other half developing the app. 

“After this necessarily hurried process, the teams made two pitches. BUPA Dental were not impressed by the brown wizard-style brush. The pitch for the girls to BUPA went better, but they agreed to change everything to suit the buyer. 

“A children’s focus group [total sample size was 4] liked the space aspect and the colours of the girl’s effort; the brown brush wasn’t attractive to the kids. 

“Next pitch was to Superdrug buyers. They asked serious questions to both groups. Aaron, the team leader of the male team, kept true to his idea that the brush had to be dark brown like a wooden wand, yet this brown cylindrical design had other connotations for the potential experienced buyers! Aaron stuck to his brown design concept.

“Bearing in mind the teams only had a couple of TV days, they did produce a credible prototype, and both had rudimentary style apps. 

“BUPA ordered a notional 1000 units from the girls, with Superdrug ordering 10,000.  

“The boys’ team gained no orders. 

“The TV programme followed the long-established format where the teams are interrogated by Lord Sugar, ultimately leading to the dismissal of one of the contestants. There followed the usual recriminations between the team members, which produces the most entertaining part of the programme, as they argued about each other’s failings. Aaron admitted and agreed that he had persisted with the faecal appearance of their product. The ambiguous design was mentioned many times in the course of the programme – including by the prospective buyers

“Surprisingly, Conor, who claimed expertise in apps, was sacked, having led the app team in producing a very wooden childish design in the limited time available.”