Apple is losing its personality under Tim Cook, warns former creative director

“Without Steve Jobs, Apple is losing its personality,” Margi Murphy reports for The Telegraph. “That’s according to the former Apple creative director who helped Jobs build a cult following for the Apple brand. In an interview with The Telegraph, Chiat/Day director Ken Segall reveals how Steve Jobs was obsessed with creating an aura that made people ‘lust’ for his products.”

“This is something Apple is now missing, despite being one of the world’s most valuable technology companies, claims Segall. A failure to cash in on customer loyalty through emotional marketing campaigns might prove problematic for Apple as it prepares to weather a market that shows signs of cooling,” Murphy reports. “‘These days, Apple does a different campaign for a different phone which I always thought was a lost opportunity. They should be building a personality for the phone, a thing that people might want to be part of because it rises above the features of the moment.'”

“‘The passing of Steve Jobs created a completely different approach to marketing which we can see the results of,’ he adds. ‘They had some great moments and some not so great moments. As a marketer I look at that and can see the difference between Steve being there – and not being there – very clearly,'” Murphy reports. “In the late 80s, Segall took a job as Creative Director at BBDO, the ad agency handling Apple in Los Angeles, while John Sculley was chief executive officer. Segall then moved to work with Steve Jobs on his failed venture, NeXT, where he remained for three years. He was later installed again at Apple when Jobs took the reins again in 1997… Traditional companies have long counted on data, not gut instincts to make decisions and Segall feels that Apple, once a trailblazer, is no longer any different. ‘Tim Cook goes by recommendation of the people around him,’ he says. And those people are ‘a little vanilla.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Vanilla,” he spat.

As we wrote in March 2013:

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 we followed up in April 2014:

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.

And, as we wrote this past March:

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.


  1. Tim needs to ditch his political agenda and say, I don’t know, devote that time to Macs. A 4 year old Mac Mini and a weak Mac Pro deserved attention 3 years ago.

  2. When I come across blatant untruths in an article, it leads me to question all of the content.

    “Segall then moved to work with Steve Jobs on his failed venture, NeXT…”

    While NeXT did not become Apple, I seem to recall that Steve Jobs ended up OK with the results! A failure? Not by a reasonable definition of the word.

    1. I believe that the NeXT Co. failed but its technology succeeded after incorporating most of its NeXTSTEP OS into what became the newly formulated Apple OS X.

  3. I’d say they have already lost it, they are just another company at this point. I really appreciate their respect for their customers’ privacy, but otherwise, they don’t stand out much these days. They certainly don’t inspire me as they once did.

  4. Apple HAS great personality.

    Tim Cook, while he seems like a nice person, would definitely NOT be the life of the party. (unless someone has some photographs we don’t know about. Lampshade on the head type stuff).

  5. Never put a bean counter in charge of a business which is focussed on producing outstanding industrial design, customer service and creativity – anything with an intangible value.

  6. apple was taking more risks when jobs was around. jobs was managing his own creation whereas tim cook is a former employee and thus has a different approach to risk taking, bearing in mind that he is expected to keep the company in no. 1. what’s left to see is whether this no risk no creativity technically driven strategy will be enough. i suspect it will for the forthcoming years but apple will be prompted to eventually return to their crazy selves sometime. thinking about the Macintosh brand they havent released a truly new product design in almost 10 years. Apple wasn’t the kind of company that went by the “if it aint broken dont fix it” motto but instead “if it aint broken is an excuse to go ahead and push the encelope further and make something new”.

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