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Apple and the creatives behind its memorable "1984" ad have embarked on a new direction in the company's marketing, but a new report says there's dissent in the Apple advertising camp over marketing chief Phillip Schiller's leadership style.
Despite the generally positive press reception for Apple's most recent ads, a report in Businessweek contends that some personnel within TBWA\Media Arts Lab â which works exclusively with Apple on its advertising â are dissatisfied with Schiller's handling of Apple's advertising efforts. Schiller, who took the ad reins in the wake of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs' death, has shown "less clarity" in what Apple's ads should convey, according to sources.
Apple's current marketing chief retained some of the policies that Jobs implemented in the ad process, those sources say. Schiller, for instance, still gives approval to potential ads based on nearly TV-ready productions instead of relying on storyboards.
But Schiller doesn't appear to command the same respect Jobs did. Whereas Jobs' word on ads was final, the report holds, Media Arts Lab personnel are said to be frustrated when Schiller nixes an ad idea.
Under Schiller's leadership, Apple's ad strategy has seemed to shift once every few months. Last summer, the company rolled out a new "Genius" campaign with a high-energy Apple Genius helping users through simple Mac problems in different locations. Those ads, though also made by TBWA, were widely panned, and Apple pulled the campaign shortly after its debut.
More recently, Apple tweaked its iPad advertising, moving away from the understated tone of prior campaigns and giving an energetic overview of the app ecosystem. These fast-paced spots, dubbed "Alive" and "Together," appear to have given way to spots like the quieter "Photos Every Day," "Music Every Day," and "Designed by Apple in California."
The latter debuted at Monday's Worldwide Developer Conference following the unveiling of iOS 7 and Mac OS X Mavericks, and it is much in the same style as recent ads focusing on the iPhone's camera and its use as a music player.
The new campaign will focus on Apple as a brand rather than any particular product the company produces. The overall thrust will be the way that Apple's products work together seamlessly in order to enrich their users' lives. As in the newest ad and the two preceding, the forthcoming campaign is likely to feature Apple products only in the periphery of any particular shot, with the people using the devices much more the object of attention.
TBWA\Chiat\Day has had a hand in Apple's most memorable ads, from the iconic "1984" spot to the "Think Different" campaign to the silhouetted iPod dancers and the "I'm a Mac" series.