Inside Apple’s spin machine: Understanding Apple’s mastery of the media

“Apple’s public relations (PR) department is probably the best in the world — certainly more impressive at shaping and controlling the discussion of its products than any other technology company,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac. “Before customers get their first chance to see or touch a new Apple product, the company has carefully orchestrated almost every one of its public appearances: controlled leaks and advance briefings for favored writers, an invite-only media debut, and a special early review process for a group of pre-screened, known-positive writers. Nothing is left to chance, and in the rare case where Apple doesn’t control the initial message, it remedies that by using proxies to deliver carefully crafted, off-the-record responses.”

“Except for a few big exceptions, such as the memorably off-pitch quotes above, Apple’s ‘tell them what to believe’ PR strategy has worked incredibly well for years. But it has also created tensions between the company and the people who cover it, as well as within Apple itself,” Gurman reports. “The company’s long-time head of PR, Katie Cotton, left the company earlier this year as CEO Tim Cook openly sought to make a major change in the way Apple interacted with the press and its customers. As the hunt for Cotton’s replacement is still in progress, and the depth of Apple’s commitment to change remains unclear, we look today at the techniques Apple has used to quietly manipulate its coverage over the years.”

Gurman reports, “Two months in the making, this article is the product of over a dozen interviews with journalists, bloggers, and PR professionals, including many who have worked at Apple.”

Read it all in the full article – highly recommended – here.

[Attribution: Fortune]


    1. Just avoid the comments. I didn’t, as as a result am in a sour mood. It seems there really does exist a race of Haters that awake on signal and mobilise, like the minions of Paxton Fettel in F.E.A.R.

  1. I will visit the article later, based on your recondition. But the takeaway at the moment is that Apple shapes our impression of their products as being superior, when they are not. Effectively, airbrushing their products with rhetoric. Granted, they have a PR team, as every company should have, but truth is truth, and their products stand in their own. PR at Apple is meant to counter act negative spin from other organization, because they can’t compete otherwise. With that said, Apple does not have the best track record. It’s difficult to be at the top, they are doing a good job otherwise.

      1. That’s why I said they don’t have a great track record. We should not get confused in understating Apples products as PR manufactured and then say they have good PR. They have insanely great products and mediocre PR.

      2. Certainly while Steve Jobs was around, there was a PR policy not to get into pissing matches with other companies. Instead it was the typical lack of response from Apple when asked about these situations.

        Of course Jobs himself broke the rule with his ‘thermonuclear’ lawsuit comment about Goggle ripping off iOS IP. And there are subtle other exceptions of course (“I’m a PC…”). Nonetheless, I consider it a very good idea in general because, as we see every single day around MDN, pissing matches are a TOTAL waste of time and only serve to generate energy to heat your surroundings. Keep it cool is Apple’s approach.

        -> Hmm. Frozen, stranded in a shack in the Antarctic because the Shoggoth wrecked your plane? Start an argument! ♨ There, that’s more cozy.

  2. I don’t know.. Much of this is standard PR stuff, Apple just does it very well, like almost everything they do.

    Mark’s article reads a bit pouty, like he was angry at Apple for not being invited to the Sep event or maybe it was that HealthbookHealth stuff from before…

    What surprised me reading this is that Apple PR is actually honest and clearly signs the emails to publications hinting at – genuine, true – stories that hit on the competition.

    This is refreshing in light of e.g. Samsung’s PR strategy of paying students and bloggers to act as anonymous commenters – or post faked videos that make competition look bad, like the recent galaxy ice water challenge (and spreading it widely across many publications)

    However Mark manages to make this seem like Apple is the one being the evil here…

  3. PR Department is best in the world ? And MDN gives this story highly recommended ? After MDN bashes Apple PR department for the PR after the Maps app rollout and other Apple mishaps.

    More likely, Apple PR department rides easily on the coattails of Apple products. But to say that the PR department is the best in the world is blind favoritism from a lack of experience with other PR departments.

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