GWD Ltd and ‘The Apprentice’

Towards the end of last year we were very happy to be involved with BBC One’s successful television show ‘The Apprentice’. For those of you who have not seen the show (where have you been?!), 16 young entrepreneurs compete in a number of business-related challenges culminating with the winner being given the opportunity to work with Lord Alan Sugar.

Towards the end (episode 10 of 14) of the last series the contestants, now whittled down to six, were given the following task (and this is from the official BBC ‘teaser’: “…teams must produce and brand a new chocolate range to pitch to buyers. They are to concoct three unique chocolate flavours, come up with a brand name and design the packaging for their range.”

A chocolate company with whom we have worked for many years (creating all of their packaging) was chosen by the shows’ directors. Given the extremely quick turn around required – in this case 24 hours – the task could only be fulfilled with the help of GWD Ltd, due to proximity, knowledge of the chocolate company involved and our experience in manufacturing quality packaging for the confectionery industry.

The teams of contestants concocted their chocolate flavours, created the final products, came up with their branding and design and chose their box from the five or six options available (drawings of which we had provided the design agency in advance). The boxes were created that evening and packed by the chocolate company to be presented the following morning. As mentioned, the whole process took less than 24 hours. 25 boxes were created for each team.

chocolate boxes for the apprentice
Chocolate boxes for the apprentice

As you can see one of the boxes is acceptable…..

confectionery packaging essex and UK
Confectionery packaging essex and UK

Whilst the other is, er, perhaps less so, and was roundly castigated by Lord Sugar in the boardroom at the completion of the task….

packaging solutions or chocolates
Packaging solutions or chocolates

….and you can probably see why. The teams pitched their chocolates to retailers with the losing team receiving a fair amount of disdain and zero uptakes. The former however, had some successes including an order of 7000 units from the Co-op.

The whole experience was highly enjoyable and was a good indicator of how quickly we can work here at GWD and how well our systems work under extremely tight deadlines.

Noel Greenwood is the Managing Director of GWD Ltd, the designers and manufacturers of presentation and promotional packaging.  You can reach him on (01279) 416093 or at the company’s website:

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