Emails Show Phil Schiller's Displeasure with Ad Agency's Efforts for Apple in Early 2013

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Multiple insider details on Apple and its business practices are surfacing during the company's second patent trial with Samsung, including a series of tense emails between Apple's head of marketing Phil Schiller and Apple's longtime ad agency, TBWA\Media Arts Lab (via BusinessInsider).

    Following the January 2013 release of an article from The Wall Street Journal entitled, "Has Apple Lost Its Cool to Samsung?" Schiller emailed Media Arts Lab and told them "We have a lot of work to do to turn this around...."

    In the article, The Wall Street Journal lauds Samsung's aggressive marketing campaign for the Galaxy S3, which had the clever tagline "The next big thing is already here." Samsung has argued that the campaign was a tipping point for the company and that it infuriated Apple executives as the advertising was coming at a time when Apple's own advertising was in a slump.

    Following Schiller's email about the WSJ article, the ad agency wrote back a lengthy email outlining a plan to put the iPhone back in the spotlight, unfortunately comparing Apple in 2013 to Apple in 1997, when the company was on the brink of going out of business.

    The email went on to suggest that the agency be given more freedom to experiment with ideas and that Apple needs to consider specific questions, such as company behavior, sales approaches, and product roadmaps.


    Schiller was "shocked" by the email he received from Media Arts Lab, both at the reference to 1997 and the idea that the team should be given free rein to create ideas that had not been pitched in Marketing and Communication (Marcom) meetings.

    The advertising agency quickly penned an apology to Schiller and a few weeks later, another email exchange indicated Apple was happy with the advertisements the company was creating for the iPad, but still dissatisfied with iPhone advertising. Schiller noted that he watched Samsung's pre-Super Bowl ad, saying "I can't help but think 'these guys are feeling it'".

    While it's clear there was some serious tension between Apple and its advertising agency in 2013, the two did not end up parting ways. Later in the year, Apple launched its "Music Every Day" and "Photos Every Day" ads, which turned out to be highly successful. Apple followed it up with a heartwarming iPhone 5s commercial, ending out the year on a high note and picking up advertising in 2014 with the current "Your Verse" campaign.

    Article Link: Emails Show Phil Schiller's Displeasure with Ad Agency's Efforts for Apple in Early 2013
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2012
    Emails Show Phil Schiller's Displeasure with Ad Agency's Efforts for Apple in...

    That agent probably had a broken caps lock.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 31, 2012
    Buffalo, NY
    I am happy to see executives displeasured about things. It makes the company stronger
  4. macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2009
    Boston, MA, New York, NY

    Considering the agency refers to itself as "TBWA", would it kill the guy to type a capital letter?
  5. macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2011
  6. ryansimmons323, Apr 7, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014

    macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    I don't blame him for his displeasure!

    1997?? Are they deranged??!?

    Whatever you think about Apple, the company is/was nowhere near the state it was in 1997!

    Steve Jobs probably would of ended that email with a sly comment about the lack of capital letters. Along with some expletives.
  7. macrumors newbie


    Mar 3, 2011
    The lack of capital letters from an Ad agency makes me sad.
  8. macrumors 68020


    Jul 13, 2008
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Great response regarding how it's totally a marketing issue. That ad agency was essentially asking Apple to mend their values and core beliefs.. Oddly enough at a time when the ipad and iPhone were on fire.

    You know what? ***** it. I'm gonna go buy an AirPrint printer right now. I know it's random. But this article just made me like the Apple ecosystem even more.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 30, 2011
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2007
    Its almost reason enough to stop using them!
  11. macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2013
    Not surprised Schiller was annoyed - they almost tried to blame Apple. To be fair, whatever they did after this worked because Apple marketing's been on a roll since then.
  12. macrumors 603


    Aug 23, 2012
    McKinney, TX
    I've gotta be honest, I've never thought Samsung's ads were all that great. The Super Bowl spot was a boring let-down after the pre-SB spot garnered a ton of hype.

    That being said, I don't think Apple was all that great in the space last year either until the campaigns later in the year that were mentioned in the article and this year's stuff is awesome.

    In my mind, a campaign that focuses on the many ways people use these products to do amazing things is far more compelling than comparing pixel count or having actors act out a scenario which shows off a feature in ideal circumstances that doesn't actually work in most circumstances.

    I've always liked Apple's approach - focus on how great your own product is and not compare it to others. To me, that proves that Apple is still at the top - because every other company brings Apple into their ads as the de-facto king to compare to.

    Similar to what Apple did with the Mac vs PC ads - the Windows PC was (perhaps still is) the king in those days. But even those ads were humorous analogies of the two OSes....not making an iPad user look like an idiot for buying one because it doesn't have multiple logins.
  13. macrumors 68020

    Mar 23, 2006
    This feud with Samsung is more trouble than it's worth if it starts revealing inside info like this from an otherwise secretive Apple.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2008
    I'd be pissed off too if I were Phil. Samsung has been on point these past 2 years in marketing and throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Apple.
  15. macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2007
    Not to mention the terrible grammar -- "we have began"? Hope whoever wrote it doesn't get to do any copywriting...
  16. macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2012
    It was quite painful to read through.
  17. SvP
    macrumors 6502


    Mar 31, 2009
    Advertising agencies should not have the arrogance to propose "bigger screens" or "new looks". Ads should support a company, not run it. Marketing and the latest fad shouldn't influence future decisions. Overpaid suits.

    I think the whole samsung popularity is proof of idiocracy. The average becomes the norm.

    Apple should do it's best to stay in the market segment most people don't even understand. A leage of their own, where decisions are made that have so much sense the senseless fail to understand it alltogether.

    Read back the comments on the original iphone announcements: you see nay sayers and applauders, nothing in between. It's the "jesus phone" or "absolute crap". If you get that kind of responses, you are sure that your product isn't average.
  18. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    Comparing Apple of today to the Apple of 1997 directly to Schiller? Wft? Even in the most gloomy scenario there's no way you can say 2013 Apple is 1997 Apple. :rolleyes:
  19. macrumors 68000


    Nov 19, 2013
  20. macrumors 6502a

    May 29, 2009
    You're writing to the Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing at Apple and you decide it's not worth the effort to write in a professional manner using capitals?

    I have little doubt if Steve Jobs were around, he would give them an ultimatum - do better or you're fired.
  21. mbh
    macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2002
    The advertising guy can capitalize iPhone and PC, but he can't capitalize Phil or Apple? Who are these clowns? It's astonishing that Apple can't find anyone better to work with than someone who would compare their situation today to their situation in 1997. That's a pretty huge sign that these guys just don't get it.

    The Samsung ads are really nothing special. The fact that Apple can't run rings around them is sort of sad.
  22. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    Hey Apple employees do it too. :D

  23. macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2014
    I guess the person was fired or demoted to a less presigious account after this exchange...
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 20, 2008
    Apple really should let them go. The "Your Verse" series is awful.
  25. macrumors 68020


    Aug 28, 2008
    Beverly, Massachusetts
    I wonder what Apple would have done if Steve was around. I'm sure they would release new and updated products over the course of the year and not all at once, and the keynotes wouldn't be dry and boring, but other than that would there be anything major?

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