Popcorn isn't just for movies anymore. Contestants on 'The Apprentice' this week popped out promotional stunts for snack company Popcorn Indiana with hopes they would go viral online. Turns out that it takes more than just losing the challenge to hear "You're Fired," as Tyana Alvarado, 41, learned. If you're not totally a team player, you're out.
With a billion dollars on the line every year in unpopped corn, the popcorn industry certainly isn't peanuts. Viral video expert Charlie Todd provided advice to the teams. Todd is known for stunts such as staging people wearing underwear on the New York City subway, leading to a video with millions of views on YouTube.
Octane, the men's team, replicated a pillow fight with bags of popcorn on Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower. It looked like hundreds of people got involved and, despite rain, people spilled out into the street hurling popcorn at each other. However, there was a concern about violence, because popcorn is a family-friendly product. Project Manager Clint Robertson had complete confidence in his team's stunt.
Fortitude, the women's team, showed people having snack attacks while exercising in the gym. Todd expressed support for the concept but said they didn't go far enough and the event seemed very staged. The Popcorn Indiana executive agreed.
The men won this challenge; their reward is an audience with publishing mogul and occasional political candidate Steve Forbes.
Alvarado didn't like her team's concept or end product. Problem was, she didn't offer alternative ideas.
"Every single member of your team wanted you fired," said Donald Trump to Alvarado on the episode.
The lesson this week was best expressed by team member Brandy Kuentzel: Don't come to me with your problems unless you have a solution. Teammate Kelly Smith Beaty echoed the sentiment: You don't get to check out of a business because you don't agree.
Despite the ultimate responsibility lying with aggressive project manager Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy, Trump sided with the team and fired Alvarado. However, looking back, Alvarado found she made other errors.
"My biggest mistake was thinking this 'game' was being played on merit," Alvarado told AOL Jobs. "My second biggest mistake was trusting anyone on the team."
Despite Trump's judgment, she took a different lesson away from the experience.
"Being on 'The Apprentice' taught me to value my capabilities even more so than I already did," she said. "I will never doubt myself or think there is anything I can't do."
Behind the scenes
Alvarado let us in on the fact that much of what is taped never makes it on air. She says that viewers often suggest on blogs and fan pages that contestants didn't try the right ideas, and they're often wrong.
"We are all highly intelligent people with creative ideas," she said. "Unfortunately, due to the time constraints of the show, most of it does not make it to the television screen."
Where's Alvarado today?
Before the show, the Los Angeles resident sold real estate. Realizing that sales and real estate are what she loves, she has found a way to do both.
"Since being fired, life has been a little hectic," Alvarado told AOL Jobs. "I am currently working two jobs: one in advertising sales for an entertainment industry handbook, and I'm now with the Keller Williams Hollywood Hills office."
The show has led to other opportunities, but for the time being, she's staying with her current plan. For someone who got fired for not offering a solution, working for herself is her best solution.
-- Read more about The Apprentice Season 10