Apprentice
The Pepsi Challenged

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The [Pepsi] Edge of Reason

Rays of light come down from the sky in a rather majestic manner as, behind an obviously ironic sign reading "Think Tank In Use," Apex discusses its options. Ivana proposes her most favorite thing -- brainstorming! Board up the windows, bolt the doors, and lay in a buttload of bottled water, people. Ivana is brainstorming! Honking music that is not at all a good omen starts up in the background as Ivana suggests a bottle in the shape of an Oscar, which they could photograph movie stars holding. Yeah, I'm sure the Oscars wouldn't mind. It's not like they guard that trademark. Kelly thinks the idea is dopey (unsurprisingly), but Ivana persists, saying that women and gay men watch the Academy Awards, after all. Oh, Ivana. Not all guys who watch the Academy Awards are gay. Some of them like movies, and some of them like the part at the beginning where Billy Crystal sings. Kelly tells Ivana, in the same irritating voice he used to blow off the notion of Andy working on the presentation, that he just got through saying he doesn't like that idea. So how can people still be talking about it?

Kelly moves on to his brilliant idea, which is to build the bottle out of a vertical E-D-G-E arrangement, and put a hole in the D. In other words, there will be a hole in the middle of the bottle, like the hole in a donut. That's not an entirely stupid idea, in terms of being eye-catching, but when he starts to claim that you could put stuff in the hole, like free movie tickets, that is indeed stupid. What are you going to do, put them on the shelves with rolled-up movie tickets sticking out of them and just hope nobody steals them? It makes zero sense. And when Ivana adds that you could put a hot dog in it? Even stupider. A montage follows in which Ivana rattles off a list of things that could go in the hole, including a gold-capped tooth, a woman, and "a piece of a boob." I'm sorry...a piece of a boob? God, I am really tempted to make a very horrifyingly tacky "at least she's thinking outside the box" joke, but I'm not sure I would ever recover my dignity. You can imagine I made it, all right? Kelly interviews that Ivana was sort of all over the place, but mostly in the area of sexual innuendo, which appears to be her favorite thing. He goes on to tell us that when working on a tight deadline, his feeling about sexy thoughts is, "Shelve that." Well, sure. Otherwise, who would ever get any recaps -- I mean, "work" -- done? We fade out on Kelly's white-board sketches of what the bottle might look like, and they all look fairly stupid to me. Of course, I am not a highly placed advertising professional.

Over at Mosaic, however, things look even stupider. They've decided to proceed with a globe-based design, and Sandy thinks that making it the first round Pepsi bottle ever will have some appeal. And I oddly agree, although it would be an inefficient shape for shipping and storage, which I have to think would enter into the equation somewhere. Andy explains that Sandy's idea had to be modified, because a regular round globe would not be able to be held in your hands. Huh? People hold Big Gulps; they're as big around as a round Pepsi bottle would be. I mean, you wouldn't make it perfectly round, obviously -- you'd give it a flat bottom. But could you do a generally roundish bottle? Obviously, you could. This notion that you couldn't hold it is stupid. Jen jumps in to describe what the bottle should look like, and in doing so, she appears to be the one who's talking about a narrow middle and two "more bulbous" ends, which you'll note is the basic design that is going to wind up going so badly. Jen, incidentally, gestures to the design they ultimately go with, calling it "more something we could actually sell" than a rounder bottle. Sandy, however, winds up feeling ignored, and interviews that her "voice was not heard," which is of course Apprentice for "I didn't get my way." Sandy tries to bring them back to the round globe idea, but Andy wants to go with the bulbous-ended design on the theory that he "[doesn't] want to be embarrassed." And there's some irony for you. Because I don't think there is a design they could come up with that would be more embarrassing than the one Jen is pushing, unless there were some way to design a bottle that farted.

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