Branding Agency CEO Karl Heiselman to Join Apple's Marketing Team

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karlheiselmanKarl Heiselman, Global CEO of branding agency Wolff Olins is set to leave his position to join Apple in a marketing communications role, reports Ad Age. The move comes as Apple works to double the size of its in-house creative design team as competition from Samsung and Android heats up.

Mr. Heiselman confirmed by email that he accepted "an exciting new role at Apple after 14 fantastic years at Wolff Olins," but referred further questions to Apple. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Wolff Olins describes itself as a "brand and innovation firm for the future," specializing in helping leaders reinvent their business or category. The company claims multiple high-profile clients, including AOL, Mercedes-Benz, Target, DoCoMo, and Apple's charity partner (Product) RED.

Heiselman's expertise in brand innovation could come in handy at a time when Apple is aiming to bolster its brand image. The company began working to boost its in-house design team numbers back in September and has also recently partnered with four new advertising agencies.

Apple has faced increasing pressure from competitors like Samsung over the course of 2013, with the company reportedly being unhappy with Samsung's "The Next Big Thing" advertising campaign. Its growing in-house design team and its new partnerships come as it prepares to release a multitude of new products later in 2014, including the iPhone 6, the iWatch, revamped MacBooks including a new ultrathin 12-inch MacBook Air, a lower-cost iMac, updated iPads, and a new Apple TV set-top box.

Heiselman previously worked for Apple as a design contractor in the early 1990s, before Steve Jobs took over the company. It's unclear what his exact role will be at Apple after his return.

Top Rated Comments

mdelvecchio Avatar
89 months ago

I've been wondering that since this year began.

It's not getting better.

Products are stalling, except for iProducts, and a lot of bizarre decisions and behavior are coming from the top. Apple could take a giant slide over the next few years.

doom! dooooom! apple is SO DOOMED!! any year now. yep, aaaany year...

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If this hire means we're in for another year of being told we are 'holding it wrong', I'm starting to feel sick to my stomach.

the iPhone 4 antenna issue was fiction. they still sell it and it continues to work just fine. any phone gripped hard enough over its antenna will register signal degradation, and the YouTube vids of it happening to all phones are easy to locate.

If you have the right products, word of mouth speaks for itself and you don't need to create BRAND.

not so. building a greet product is the first step. advertising and marketing are very real needs. consumer spending habits don't change themselves.

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Well lots of the people that made apple what it was under Jobs, have retired, moved on, quit, been fired, or died. It's really a completely different group of people now.

actually you have no idea what you're talking about -- unless you work in apple and can produce a comprehensive staffing report. but you don't, and you can't.


Unfortunately, as artists, they had a tendency to try to give me what THEY knew was best, instead of what *I* thought was best.

it's called product design. they have to make a million decisions because no product is magic and must be clearly defined prior to production. if you want something that you think is best, then get into painting.


Now that Apple isn't really run by artists any more,

oh dear lord.

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Is Apple really this nervous ?


no. it's just your narrative to believe they are. I'm not sure why...apple is the biggest, most successful, most profitable tech firm in the history of the human race.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zxxv Avatar
89 months ago
So what can we expect? an apple blowing a samsung...out of the water?

this guy was responsible for the 2012 UK olympics symbol that is almost universally accepted as Lisa Simpson giving a blow job. The others believe it to be a ZIONist sign. Does anyone at apple know what they're doing anymore?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ryth Avatar
89 months ago

Apple has faced increasing pressure from competitors like Samsung over the course of 2013...


I mean really? Pressure? As shown in the court documents today, Samsung is LYING about their sales.

Samsung's internal documents indicate that the company's own public representation of its competitive position in the tablet market was not true, and that the company appears to have intentionally misled its own investors and the analysts covering its business with false statements about the health of its tablet sales.


I think everything Samsung has done is all smoke and mirrors...it's a shame the majority of analysts don't care about integrity.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
notrack Avatar
89 months ago
Hmmm, hope none of this will come to the Apple brand. I understand that they want to further develop the brand and maybe make a bigger step at once. But I hope it won't go towards neon/grafitti/childish/cheap/80s.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
albusseverus Avatar
89 months ago
Judging by the discussion, somebody needs to spell this out—Brand is a public relations fiction in service of one purpose only—the PR company's first priority—to convince a customer that they need PR.

"Consultants" convinced gullible companies that they could reproduce Apple's "cool and success", not by developing deeply thought-out products (ingeniously against the conventional wisdom), but by buying more PR to get themselves a "brand"?

If this hire means we're in for another year of being told we are 'holding it wrong', I'm starting to feel sick to my stomach.

If you have the right products, word of mouth speaks for itself and you don't need to create BRAND.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lesser Evets Avatar
89 months ago

Does anyone at apple know what they're doing anymore?


I've been wondering that since this year began.

It's not getting better.

Products are stalling, except for iProducts, and a lot of bizarre decisions and behavior are coming from the top. Apple could take a giant slide over the next few years.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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