Apr 07


FT/14 comments • 4,379 views

Working from home yesterday afternoon I happened to catch this FANTASTIC PROGRAMME on CBBC. Here is the premise: a group of bright kids, and a group of businessmen, compete on a new product design brief – in the episode I saw yesterday this was inventing a new kind of ice cream. The businessmen included a market researcher who I had seen speak at the industry conference about how he was down with the kids and involved celebrities like Roll Deep and Kano (and erm Ian McCulloch) in his new groovy research.

Anyway Beat The Boss does what I had thought impossible (in fact I had never thought of it at all!) – televised market research that is REALLY ENTERTAINING. The programme follows the stages of new product development quite faithfully – idea generation, market research, pack and product design, and then a product test in the marketplace (i.e. a poll of other kids as to which idea is best – they do not know who has created what, obviously).

The reason the programme works so well is i. the unformed enthusiasm of the kid team, whose ideas are rarely particularly clever but you can see PRECISELY why they’ve done it, and ii. the expert team’s attempts at empathy with their target market, which seem often to be blindingly off base (though quite clever). The ice cream episode – which ended up a very close thing – demonstrated these. The bosses had come up with the “RAP FREEZE”, a microphone-shaped cone with a hard candy shell to simulate the mic head and a ‘lyrics quiz’ in place of the traditional joke on a stick. This was actually a pretty impressive thing to have come up with quickly for a TV show, so good work the bosses. However, the kids had taken a more direct route – they had gone round canvassing other kids about the kind of sweets they liked, and then simply PUT THEM ALL IN A TUB with some ice cream.

The resulting “Cool Combo” looked very extremely horrible but I was still a bit disappointed when the bosses won (the first episode where this has happened, apparently). My disappointment was immediately mitigated by the unseemly and real glee said bosses displayed at having narrowly beaten a bunch of small children.

Here is the website for the show (presented by her off the Apprentice, a far better use of her skills than working for sweaty old Alan S). I would particularly enjoy seeing the ‘design a boardgame’ episode, in which the “experts” come up with an amazingly boring looking game based on the BTB show itself, involving gripping looking piles of cards marked “MARKET RESEARCH” and “PRODUCT TESTS”. The kids meanwhile create a game called Pyramid Plunder in which you are chased by mummies. Guess who wins!


  1. 1
    Alan on 24 Apr 2007 #


  2. 2
    CarsmileSteve on 24 Apr 2007 #

    Ian McCulloch the snooker player, i assume?

  3. 3
    jona on 24 Apr 2007 #

    “presented by her off the Apprentice, a far better use of her skills than working for sweaty old Alan S” – I really thought you meant Margaret Mountford. She’s got some sort of business skillz for sure, but I really can’t see her presenting a CBBC show.

  4. 4
    Megan Lennox on 25 Oct 2007 #

    Hey is there any chance that you could bring rap freeze to Northern Ireland (Portrush) Please.

    Thanks Megan Lennox

  5. 5
    tehrim gilani on 28 Dec 2007 #

    I just wanted to know where do you get Rapfreeze from. i searched every where , i can’t find it please.

    cheers tehrim gilani

  6. 6
    Jmumford on 10 Jan 2008 #

    the show does not create REAL products, they create products to the briefs, they are not made for the general public

  7. 7
    lilmisssexyugotaproblem on 10 Jan 2008 #

    beat da boss is shit man and da woman who presents it is ugglyy fuck sake her voice is just annnoyingg man she shud get a life

  8. 8
    Luke on 21 Jan 2008 #

    the ice creams looked yummy

  9. 9
    MR kurby on 13 Feb 2008 #

    rapfreeze is a boring old cone with a scoop of ice scream (lol) ontop!

  10. 10
    MR kirby on 13 Feb 2008 #

    can i av a job on cbbc plz. i’m mr Kirby from the ke 7 school in melton mowbray. i love telly and men. i think we’ve gathered it’s not a horse!

  11. 11
    MR kirby on 13 Feb 2008 #

    hi i’m mr kirby (again) can i be on tv. i love the programme moon spinners and i have a boyfriend called tom.c. !

    tea time matthew


  12. 12
    MR kirby on 13 Feb 2008 #

    spama is nice to eat =]


  13. 13
    MR kirby on 13 Feb 2008 #

    lol lol lol lol he he he ha ha ha ! i’m gay!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    i think weve gathered its not a horse !!

    mr kirby its eating the paper !!!

    just leave it girls

  14. 14
    MR kirby on 13 Feb 2008 #

    the ice scream looks dodgey

    and the programs crap

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