Yes, Randal and Rebecca won this week's task but they did it by a very narrow margin and in a way that really spotlighted their weaknesses.
In his parting remarks after being fired last week, ex-teammate Clay predicted that they would fail without him because "Rebecca and Randal don't have any creative bones in their body and they don't have a chance at all as a team." We saw that this week.
Trump's latest assignment was to promote Shania Twain's new perfume by wrapping something, somewhere in Manhattan with big sheets of ad-imprinted plastic. Each team's ads would display a different toll-free number that people could call to get free samples of the perfume. The team that generated the most calls would win.
It was a task that demanded big, creative thinking. And Rebecca and Randal came up with a decidedly dull strategy: "wrap" people by hiring 60 people to walk around the city wearing sandwich-board signs.
Over at Capital Edge, Adam came up with a much more original idea: wrap signs around horse-drawn carriages! Alas, the wraps didn't fit well or look good, and they apparently didn't spark much interest. Worse yet, Capital Edge ended up blowing most of its budget on them when the real response was generated by a small group of 15 temps who talked up Shania's perfume to passersby. Led by Alla's aggressive salesmanship -- No cell phone? Here, use ours! -- they did an impressive job, getting 973 people to call for free samples.
But that wasn't quite enough: Excel generated 978 calls to win the contest and a chance to go horseback riding with Shania Twain herself. The dull, but reliable, idea won.
If you look at the totals. But consider this: Excel had 60 people on the streets compared to Capital Edge's 15 yet that fourfold advantage in numbers yielded just five extra calls -- 978 to 973, or an average of 15.8 calls per person (counting Rebecca and Randal). Capital Edge managed to generate 54 calls per person. Alla, Adam and Felisha clearly had the more effective people-sales strategy.
When they ended up in the boardroom, Trump gave Alla a pass. The choice of whom to fire was between Felisha, who had been in charge of hiring temps, and Adam, who championed the ineffective carriage-wrapping scheme. Felisha's simple defenses were that a) she couldn't hire more people because the budget had been spent on the wraps; b) Adam was too naive and inexperienced. Not surprisingly, Trump fired Adam, deciding that Felisha and Alla would make a more effective team.
Last week, Clay also predicted that Rebecca and Randal would lose "horribly" without his creative assistance. He was wrong about that -- and about the high premium he put on creativity. As Adam demonstrated, an original idea is only worth something if you can pull it off.
Clay also apparently underestimated how sneaky Rebecca and Randal were. Let's face it, the highlight of this episode was watching them sabotage Capital Edge by slipping into Radio Shack and buying up all of the hard-to-find bullhorns that Alla had reserved and was on her way to pick up. Predictably, Trump loved that move. Whatever you might think of it, it clearly showed some real lateral-thinking initiative from the two of them. It also clearly showed Alla's professionalism and resolve: she dealt with that setback by carrying on and didn't really try to use it as an excuse to explain their loss.