Apple creating ad agency, to hire 1,000: Report



Apple is reportedly unhappy with its long-time advertising agency TBWA/Media Arts Lab and will be creating an internal agency to handle its advertising work. The iPhone maker is trying to hire top talent from the advertising world and focussing more on digital ads, according a report by AdAge.

This step towards taking marketing and advertising in its own hands has reportedly come as a fallout of arch rivals Samsung and Google having gained more mindshare with better and more impactful ads.

Nowadays, Apple often pits ideas by its internal teams against the ones by TBWA/MAL, with the former winning more than the latter. Apple is even inviting other ad agencies to bid for projects, a scenario that was unimaginable under founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

A creative executive who has worked on Apple marketing projects was cited in the report saying that since the death of Steve Jobs, TBWA/MAL “is not innovating because they’re only doing what they know.”

During Apple’s patent trial versus Samsung in April this year, it was revealed via court documents that one of the South Korean manufacturer’s ads “drove Apple crazy.” Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller was so anxious about the campaign that he emailed CEO Tim Cook to suggest a change in its ad agency.

In its bid to bolster the advertising and marketing team, Apple is approaching top advertising professionals, but is also being turned down by many. One of the people whom Apple contacted said that the iPhone maker does not present the right creative opportunity and the energy is missing.

Another says that the cost of living in Cupertino, where Apple has its headquarters, is too high, making the cost of living too high even at the salary that the company offers.

In fact, the report has said that Apple is contacting so many people that advertising professionals got the impression that it was just “dialling numbers.”

Apple has even been turned down by a few agencies, prominent among them Pereira & O’Dell. Co-founder PJ Pereira said that it said no to Apple because of its relationships with Intel/Toshiba and Microsoft.

However, Apple has met with some success. It has been able to snag Bill Davenport, a well-known advertising executive and partner at Wieden & Kennedy. Though it is not yet known what position he has been given, AdAge sources said he will lead in-house production.

Apple is, in fact, hiring for a full-fledged production department that not only handles the creative process, but also the business affairs.

Karl Heiselman, the CEO of Wolff Olins also joined Apple in a marketing-communications division. Other big names who have joined the company are Tyler Whisnand of Wieden & Kennedy and 180 Amsterdam co-founder Larry Frey.

TBWA/MAL has, of course, not taken too kindly to Apple’s change in tactics. A former executive said, “It is one thing to open up your account to a bunch of different agencies, but to build out your own troops, give them the brief months in advance and then give it to the agency – it’s the most disrespectful thing.”

Apple has even tried to poach three TBWA/MAL executives, Hector Muelas, Ricardo Viramontes and Larry Corwin.

However, even after Apple sets up its own advertising team, it will reportedly continue to work with TBWA/MAL, though what work will go the latter’s way is not yet clear.

Cook and Schiller have given their nod to ramping up the advertising team, with Apple now looking to hire as many as 1,000 people. This is a huge number, especially compared to Google’s Creative Lab, which has just 100 people.

Apple’s marketing strategies have also changed, with more focus on digital content. This in contrast to its strategy of emphasizing only on print and TV ads under Steve Jobs. In order to bolster its online marketing efforts, it has brought four agencies to its roster, WPP’s AKQA, Interpublic’s Huge, Area 17 and Kettle.

The iPhone maker’s advertising budget is also rising, though the change has been small. In 2013, it spent $1.1 billion, while the figure stood at $1 billion and $933 million in 2012 and 2011, respectively. This is, however, insignificant compared to Samsung’s 2013 marketing budget of $14 billion.

Filed in: News, Technology News

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