Apple's Advertising Revamp Include Plans for In-House Team of 1,000 Employees

Last week, it was reported that Apple has begun producing some of its television ads internally rather than relying on longtime partner TBWA, and now Ad Age has an extensive look at the company's evolving ad strategy that is seeing much more work being brought in-house.

Amid criticisms that it has failed to innovate, Apple is increasingly taking marketing into its own hands. It's madly building an internal agency that it's telling recruits will eventually number 1,000 -- the size of Grey Advertising. It's pitting TBWA/MAL against this internal agency with "jump balls" to mine the best creative ideas, a controversial tactic with outside agencies, let alone an internal one. It's going after some of adland's boldest-faced names to staff its in-house shop -- in some cases, it's even poached executives from TBWA/MAL. And, in what once would have been seen as a sacrilegious breach of the Apple-MAL bond, it's been inviting some of the ad industry's top shops to pitch on major projects.

The report notes that Apple's hiring efforts have frequently received a "frosty reception", with some ad executives feeling that Apple has lost its creative energy while others worry about the cost of living in Cupertino.

"Powerful" iPhone 5s ad delivered by TBWA/Media Arts Lab

Still, it's clear that Apple has been working to shake up its advertising efforts over the past several years, with Apple executives having serious issues with some of TBWA's work. Apple had reportedly considered dropping TBWA, but the two longtime partners have continued to work together even as Apple has looked to other internal and external groups for new creative sparks.

The lengthy report is an interesting read highlighting Apple's sometimes controversial tactics with respect to TBWA, as well as an examination of what the future may hold for the relationship between Apple and its longtime ad agency. Amid continued growth by Apple and concerns over the quality of some recent ad campaigns, it's understandable that Apple has been looking at various strategies for raising its advertising game, but just how things will play out over the long-term remains to be seen.

Top Rated Comments

losthorse Avatar
111 months ago
-- removed by user --
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
currocj Avatar
111 months ago
Welcome $150k ad exec ... you can afford the granny unit behind this $3M cottage, next to the highway on ramp. Good luck. Signed, San Francisco Bay Area resident.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
daddywags214 Avatar
111 months ago
Not a great article

That article has a noticeably dismissive tone toward Apple. They use the weak tactic of 'shotgun argumentation'. They make several incredibly bold claims about Apple's fading creativity and the frosty reception to recruitment, and substantiate the claims with quotes by mostly anonymous single sources.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
i.mac Avatar
111 months ago
So, instead of innovating, we will just market some more...

I wonder how many engineers they could have hired for the same cost of 1000 marketing professionals.

Let's see*:

Apple = 65% innovation + 15% dividends/buy back stocks + 10% marketing + 5% lawyers + 5% other

Samedung = 35% innovation + 30% lawyers to defend stolen IP+ 30% marketing + 5% 'me first' stunts


*based on annalysts numbers
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mrxak Avatar
111 months ago
I don't think the ad agencies "get" Apple anymore. Maybe they never really did. A lot of the ideas that seem to have come out of outside ad guys have been pretty awful lately. It seems the only Apple ads to work well are the ones you find out later Apple took over creative control to make.

Then you've got those emails that came out in court, between Apple execs and their agency. Shows the ad guys have no freaking clue.

So good, Apple will do it all in-house. They probably should've been doing that all along.

And for everyone worried about Apple hiring marketing guys instead of engineers, it's not like Apple is strapped for cash, and it's not like they weren't hiring outside marketing people anyway. They're just shifting it where they have more control, where they can fire people that don't work out, and in the long run it'll probably be cheaper. Would you rather pay an ad company looking to make a profit, and doesn't understand your business, or would you rather pay your own guys internally, who you can train in your culture, and keep the profit yourself?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tiger8 Avatar
111 months ago
So, instead of innovating, we will just market some more...

Marketing **is** innovation. I'm a techie myself but I don't underestimate how important marketing is. Most popular products aren't necessarily the best, they are the ones marketed best.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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