“It may be time for Apple to ‘think different’ about its advertising,” Julia Love reports for The Mercury News. “The company that won hearts and minds with an Orwellian “1984” spot introducing the Macintosh computer and the enduring “Get a Mac” campaign has failed to impress with recent ads, according to advertising professionals who discussed the company’s approach. Though Apple’s gadgets have gotten sleeker and faster in recent years, the ads have lost their bite, they said.”
“Searching for its next hit, Apple has taken advertising into its own hands. Though it still works with its longtime agency, the tech giant has made a string of hires to expand its in-house creative team, betting that it cannot only churn out elegant and popular gadgets like the iPhone 6 but also craft ingenious ads for them,” Love reports. “But ad industry professionals say they are still waiting for the valley’s most celebrated advertiser to return to form… ‘The work hasn’t been great for a while, in my opinion,’ said Russel Wohlwerth, a principal at External View Consulting Group. ‘The big question is will it ever come back. It is a critical time for Apple.'”
“‘I now have Apple board members asking, ‘What is going on with advertising and what are you doing to fix it?” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, wrote to Media Arts Lab in 2013, according to emails revealed in Apple’s patent trial with Samsung earlier this year,” Love reports. “Apple considered firing Media Arts Lab, the emails show. The company ultimately stuck with the agency but beefed up its in-house ad team with some high-profile hires, a push first reported by Bloomberg News. Apple has also made it clear it is willing to spend heavily on the effort. ‘That giant sucking sound you hear is freelancers being pulled out of San Francisco and being dragged in to Silicon Valley,’ said Paul Venables, founder of San Francisco ad agency Venables Bell & Partners. ‘They are just getting booked for endless terms with gobs of cash being thrown at them.’ Representatives for TBWA and Apple declined to comment.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: What happened? Steve Jobs died. Some talents are extremely difficult to replace.
Steve Jobs held a three-hour meeting every Wednesday afternoon with his top agency, marketing and communications people to approve each new commercial, print ad, web ad, and billboard. Does Tim Cook? If he does, does he have anything close to Jobs’ sensibilities in this area? Judging from Apple’s marketing since Steve left the building, he does not. Therefore, Cook needs to find a marketing guru to take Steve’s place, conduct these Wednesday meetings, and hold his marketing peoples’ feet to the fire until he/she is extremely satisfied.
As Apple CEO, Steve Jobs focused on two things – product design and marketing. He was a genius at both. His talents cannot be replaced with one person. In fact, his talents in either discipline cannot be replaced by one person. Jony Ive and Phil Schiller without Jobs cannot be expected to perform as if Jobs was still working with them. [Hence Apple’s subsequent Marc Newson hire to be Jony Ive’s muse/sounding board. – MDN Editor, Nov. 7, 2014]
A team of people – talented people who actually get it and who are all on the same page – is an absolute necessity for Apple’s success, but it creates a problem: Jobs was a single filter. A unified mind. The founder. A group of people simply cannot replicate that. This is not to say that they cannot do great work (we believe Apple does, and will continue, to do great work) just that Apple is fundamentally affected by the loss of Steve Jobs and has to figure out a new way to work.
Apple building 1,000-person internal advertising agency – June 10, 2014
Apple shifts TV ads production in-house as rift widens with TBWA\Chiat\Day – June 5, 2014
Apple debuts ‘Chicken Fat’ television ad (with video) – June 5, 2014
Emails show Phil Schiller shocked over Apple’s ad agency suggestions – April 8, 2014
Apple’s advertising dilemma aired at $2 billion trial – April 4, 2014
Samsung again mocks Apple customers in iPhone 5 queue via new Galaxy S III ad (with video) – September 19, 2012
Apple pulls ‘Genius’ ad series from its website, YouTube channel – August 22, 2012
Samsung runs print ad attacking Apple’s iPhone 5 in major U.S. newspapers – September 16, 2012
Samsung Super Bowl ad mocks Apple iPhone users – February 6, 2012
Could the Apple-TBWA love affair, one of advertising’s most-storied matchups, survive without Jobs? – January 24, 2011