Trump's apprentices learn a few lessons from P&G man

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Procter & Gamble Co. Digital Media Manager Surya Yalamanchili survived his first brush with The Donald's boardroom Feb. 11 on NBC's "The Apprentice: L.A." but not without reinforcing some Proctoid stereotypes.

Yalamanchili (such a fun name to say!) opened a whole can of P&G marketing wisdom on Team Arrow's project-an in-store promotion of Sue Bee honey. Needless to say, he annoyed the hell out of teammates as he inquired about household penetration of honey, and banding about jargon regarding reasons to believe and unique selling propositions. He even waxed analytical about "the first moment of truth" (that's Procter-speak for stuff that happens in the store).

Despite all this, they didn't sell as much honey as Team Kinetic. Yalamanchili showed great restraint in not pointing out that Arrow did get $1.13 more per bottle than Kinetic, and likely more profit, even if it didn't sell as much. As P&G Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley would say, price promotion is just like a snake eating a frog: You get a big bump at the front, but it doesn't amount to much in the end.

But Team Kinetic only needed to rent market share. And Team Arrow leader Aaron took the fall, despite his efforts to shift blame to what he called "robotic" marketing efforts of P&G's finest. It was Yalamanchili's first taste of defeat in five episodes, having just been shifted to Team Arrow the prior week as a turnaround specialist.

Somewhat puzzling was Yalamanchili's recounting of spending three hours each Friday in packaging meetings-odd for a digital-marketing manager. But a P&G spokesman said he's changed jobs out of skin-care marketing since the show was taped last year. A rare P&Ger to make brand manager level at under 25, he's a wunderkind who's definitely got his day job should he not survive the next boardroom.

Live from Las Vegas: Roehm & Womack

Julie Roehm and Sean Womack, coming off much-talked-about appearances in Northwest Arkansas and Manhattan, take their act to the Venetian in Las Vegas on March 19 as keynote speakers at the Conference on Marketing of the Institute for International Research.

Those who have had enough of Unruly Julie-and, really, how can you ever get enough?-will hope what happens in Vegas truly does stay there. But the IIR is betting that those of you still reading this make up a substantial market. It put out a press release last week making the pair the event's headliners, upstaging hotelier Steve Wynn, authors Daniel Pink and Chris Anderson, and Jaya Kumar, chief marketing officer of Frito-Lay.

Roehm & Womack (that does sound like a lounge act, come to think of it) had originally booked the appearance before getting sacked by Wal-Mart Stores for what the company said were improprieties, including an alleged affair, which both have denied.

An IIR spokeswoman conceded that following what she termed "the fiasco" it wasn't certain the dynamic duo would make the Vegas appearance, where they will ply their newfound consulting careers in new media.

Urinating baby dolls 2.0

Hasbro's Baby Alive is back, and in anatomically correct boy form. The wide-eyed wetting doll, which gained fame in the early '70s, will crawl out again in the fall, this time outfitted with a penis. New Baby Alive Wets N' Wiggles drinks, gurgles and then begins to wiggle as he wets. But little girls should be careful when changing his diaper, as his teeny weeny produces a wide arc of fake pee. Little girls should also be on the lookout for little boys who'll no doubt see this toy as nothing more than the world's funniest water pistol.

Contributing: Jack Neff and Stephanie Thompson Complain about gender stereotyping to kwheaton@crain.com
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