According to data from research firm Ace Metrix, Apple's recent string of in-house advertisements don't stack up to those created by longtime go-to agency TBWA\\Media Arts Lab, which dreamed up iconic campaigns like the "Think Different" series.
Using raw viewer data from Ace Metrix, Bloomberg compiled a list of Apple ads aired over the past year and found commercials made by the Cupertino company's creative team do not perform as well as those outsourced to TBWA\\Media Arts Lab, a unit of TBWA\\Chiat\\Day put together for the sole purpose of serving Apple's needs. To gauge the effectiveness of a particular ad, Ace Metrix collects data points from "hundreds" of TV watchers to generate a "viewer score."
The research firm's numbers have the Apple team's aggregate score at 548, compared to 580 for TBWA. The two best-performing ads released over the past year were thought up by the outside agency, including a recent iPhone ad titled "Powerful" and last year's heart-warming holiday spot. Incidentally, the Christmas ad received high marks for "likeability" and "relevance," but not for pushing customers to buy an iPhone.
Apple's creative team comes closest to TBWA's efforts with a fitness-minded commercial for the iPhone 5s titled "Strength," which according to Ace Metrix scored 611, putting it just behind the aforementioned "Powerful" campaign premiere.
Apple's in-house churned out a few duds with its most recent "Your Verse" iPad ads featuring travel writer Cherie King and composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. The company has acknowledged that the overarching idea, as well as the well-accepted "Verse" campaign premiere spot, was dreamed up by its marketing team.
Responsible for the past year's worst performer was Apple with an iPhone 5c spot titled "Greetings" that featured people from around the world using the handset to say "hello" in various languages.
In 2013, rumors circulated saying Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller was at odds with the outside agency. It was later revealed through email correspondence unearthed during Apple's second California court case against Samsung that Schiller was shocked at TBWA\\Media Arts Lab's response to increased pressure from Samsung's anti-Apple ad campaign.
Schiller expressed his concern in early 2013, citing a Wall Street Journal story titled "Has Apple Lost Its Cool To Samsung?" and telling TBWA, "We have a lot of work to do to turn this around."
A subsequent memo from TBWA recommended what amounted to a drastic reshaping of Apple's corporate structure. The firm later apologized for the "over-blown" reaction, but later correspondence with Schiller showed the marketing chief was becoming increasingly troubled by Samsung's growing advertising power.
If data from Ace Metrix is to be believed, Samsung's latest Galaxy S5 ad — featuring the handset's waterproof features — is far better than any commercial to come out of Apple or TBWA. The S5 spot scored a 739, the second time an ad from the Korean company's agency 72andsunny hit above 700. Apple's all time best-performing spot was a FaceTime commercial from 2010 that received a score of 696.
As recently as April, reports claimed Apple is trying to distance itself from TBWA, but the rumors have gone unverified and the agency continues to create for the tech giant.