No one makes commercials like Apple. Or no one did, until the last year or so when everyone from Samsung to Google has caught up to Cupertino’s marketing genius.
In a move to retake its marketing crown in 2014, Apple is thinking different than partnering with a traditional advertising agency by assembling its own massive internal marketing team, according to an AdAge report, and it could rival the world’s top firms that have been around for decades.
After its decades-long relationship with famed TBWA/MAL has gone sour, Apple is looking to assemble a 1000-man marketing army by scooping top talent from the world’s most creative firms in an effort to boost innovation with its ads.
“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.”
Marketing has been one of Apple’s greatest strengths since the days of Jobs and the revered 1984 ad, but pressure from Samsung and others has caused Apple’s Marketing Chief Phil Schiller to question the company’s direction and reliance on outside agencies at the risk of alienating them in the process.
Apple is even going after some of the biggest names at TBWA/MAL to staff its ranks after going on a digital hiring spree in April that saw Apple add four shops – WPP’s AKQA, Interpublic’s Huge, Area 17 and Kettle – to its roster. The move has been seen by many in the industry as a sacrilegious breach of trust by having outsiders compete against Apple’s in-house team.
Other companies like Google also have their own marketing teams, but they’re much smaller with less than 100 members. In the days of Jobs, Apple would source most of its marketing needs through TBWA/Chiat/Day but now that he’s gone the company has started experimenting with its own ads with mild success, like Apple’s Pencil ad for the iPad Air was made in house last fall before airing nationally.