Ep 2: 'Chris, you're fired'
A full moon of glowing yellow looked down upon the city, while inside Trump Tower the two teams welcomed Kristi back to the suite after facing elimination.
On the rooftop terrace of the luxurious Trump Park Avenue, the Donald gathered Excel and Capital Edge to present their second task. Each team was to create a 30-second promotional spot and a print ad campaign for Lamborghini. Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO of The Kaplan Thaler Group, one of the country's hottest advertising agencies; and Ehren Bragg, head of U.S. operations for Lamborghini, would decide the winner.
The men chose Chris as their project manager because of his background in advertising. The first thing Chris did was set up a meeting with Linda Kaplan and Ehren Bragg to get a feeling of what they wanted from the campaign. The only preconception Chris had was not to think in clichés, but right before the meeting, Markus approached him with a slogan idea: smooth as silk. Chris immediately shot it down and told him not to bring it up in the meeting.
Markus created an awkward moment during Excel's meeting with the two executives by bringing up his "smooth as silk" tagline. Everyone in the room, including Ehren Bragg, winced when those three little words went past his lips.
Marshawn, Capital Edge's project manager, knew that their campaign had to exemplify strength, so she put Alla in charge of directing the video. Alla took to the task with gusto, immediately jumping in like a would-be Spielberg. As all the women pitched in to help, Marshawn took a backseat role, and, as everyone knows, Lamborghinis don't have back seats.
Chris was thrilled with his team's idea of renting a vintage Lamborghini and having it morph into the new one during their commercial. As they worked, Markus further alienated himself from Chris and the rest of the team by causing confusion and getting in the way. To stop this, Chris took all of Markus's responsibilities away from him.
While Marshawn oversaw Capital Edge's print ad, she dispatched Alla, Kristi, and Jennifer M. to complete the video. Kristi thought it was "crazy" that Marshawn wasn't going to be present in the editing suite while their commercial was cut together, since the video was the largest part of their task& Kristi was not alone in feeling this way.
Meanwhile, Mark worked with a print advertising executive from The Kaplan Thaler Group to nail down Excel's Lamborghini print campaign. Mark was especially pleased with his decision to lowercase the letter "i" in the word "Italian." The rest of the men were really confident about their work, but Carolyn, acting as Trump's eyes and ears, thought that this confidence might prove to be their undoing.
Not all was fast cars and high-tech video equipment. In the middle of the task, Randal said a temporary goodbye to his teammates to attend his grandmother's funeral. Everyone was supportive of his need to spend time with his family and to say goodbye to a woman who meant a great deal to him.
Capital Edge was the first team to show their campaign to Linda Kaplan Thaler and to Ehren Bragg. With each dressed in black, they mustered all the attitude they could as they lined up in a row and one-by-one, spoke a single word of their campaign's slogan before showing their commercial. Their presentation and video made a dynamic impact and got a good response from Linda and Ehren.
Randal returned just in time to join his teammates for their presentation. Full of confidence, Excel showed their video and print campaign. The reaction from the executives? Not much. Neither Linda nor Ehren seemed impressed.
Trump joined both teams back in the presentation room to find out who won the week's task. Both Linda and Ehren had critical words about Excel's print campaign, saying that it relied too much on words and that their message was confusing. Markus jumped in, agreeing with them. Trump asked the rest of Excel if they thought Markus was acting as a team player. The answer was a resounding "no."
For Linda and Ehren, it was an easy decision. Both felt that Capital Edge's presentation had a lot more energy and that they were the clear winner. All but Kristi voted to give Marshawn an exemption from the following week's boardroom.
For their reward, the ladies of Capital Edge got to play ice hockey with the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. All wasn't fun and games when Rebecca took a tumble and sprained her ankle.
With their belongings at the ready, Excel entered the boardroom to face Trump, George, and Carolyn. George had some harsh words, telling them that they lost the moment they high-fived each other on the terrace - their hubris was their downfall. Carolyn was equally critical. Mark accepted the blame for the print campaign's failing, including the resoundingly panned idea to lowercase "i" in "Italian." In the end, Carolyn summed up their campaign, "I think it's quite boring."
When Trump asked who should be fired, Chris immediately said Markus. Chris tried to put the blame all on his shoulders', but Trump interrupted him, saying that Markus was the only one who said their campaign didn't work - even if his words were disloyal. When it came down to it, Chris decided to bring just Markus back to the boardroom to face possible firing.
Chris and Markus came back to the boardroom to meet their destiny. Trump was confused as to why Chris would bring Markus back with him, since others on the team admitted culpability while Markus wasn't at fault for any of the bad decisions. Chris said he believed in the decisions that Mark made, which, according to Chris himself, made Mark's mistakes his own mistakes.
Trump had a hard decision to make. He didn't think Markus was a
strong candidate but on the other hand, Chris was the project
manager and made emotional decisions rather than logical ones.
Ultimately, Trump couldn't believe that Chris would bring Markus
back to the boardroom instead of Mark. A true leader wouldn't make
that kind of decision, leaving Trump with only one choice. He
looked Chris in the eyes and crisply stated, "You're fired."