Ad enough: Apple to develop more TV ads in-house

thinkdifferent

One of the first things Steve Jobs did after returning to Apple in the late 90s was to bring back TBWA\Chiat\Day, the ad agency which had previously produced the memorable “1984” Macintosh commercial. The result was the famous “Think Different” campaign, which helped set Apple off on its present course. Now it seems that Apple is moving away from TBWA\Chiat\Day, toward producing more of its television ads in-house.

A report from Bloomberg cites sources with knowledge of the matter, and claims that Apple has assembled its own creative team consisting of at least two former employees the company hired away from Media Arts Lab, a division of TBWA that works exclusively for Apple. While this is a definite no-no in terms of business etiquette, so far they’ve had a fair amount of success — creating both last year’s iPad Air ad which showed off the tablet’s thinness, and also a spot featuring Robin Williams reciting lines from the movie Dead Poets Society five months back.

During Apple’s legal tussles with Samsung, the company’s unhappiness with TBWA was brought to light when emails from Phil Schiller noted that he didn’t believe Apple’s newer TBWA ads were effective enough at countering Samsung’s efforts.

Currently Media Arts Lab is still working on producing current iPhone TV spots and other ads for Apple, but the agency is also competing head-to-head with Apple’s own in-house team. Ad-monitoring company Ad Metrix shows that Apple’s advertising score — based on a survey of consumers — has risen from a 2013 low of 548 to 564 so far this year.

Do you think Apple’s current advertising is working? Leave us your comments below.

  • Jurassic

    It makes sense for Apple to have their own in-house ad agency. Many other large companies do this, and Apple can certainly afford to hire the best of the best.

    The other strategic reason for having Apple’s advertising done in-house, is because Apple by necessity is secret about products before they are released. Keeping development of advertising in-house for soon to be released products, eliminates a possible external source of leaks, and is a wise thing to do.

    • questor

      Meanwhile, there’s always a possibility leaks will come about through emails presented during a trial as happened in April 2014 when we found out about this divorce.

      I still can’t get over that the management of an ad agency wrote emails without proper capitalization and grammar. I say this because supposedly they specialize in marcom (marketing communications), and like many other employers demand “excellent written communication skills” on their job postings.

      Somebody needs to lead by example.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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