Apple Renews Advertising Efforts With Four New Digital Agencies

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will soon be partnering with four more digital ad agencies in a move that may signal a renewed marketing effort from the iPhone maker, reports advertising industry news site AdAge. Apple’s new agencies include large multinationals such as WPP’s (NASDAQ:WPPGY) AKQA and Interpublic Group’s (NYSE:IPG) Huge, as well as smaller companies like Area 17 and Kettle. According to “people familiar with the matter” cited by AdAge, the agencies’ work for Apple will cover a wide range of advertising issues, including user experience and digital strategy.

Apple’s addition of the four new agencies follows the recently revealed news that the Cupertino-based company once considered parting ways with Omnicom Group’s (NYSE:OMC) TBWA\Media Arts Lab, its longtime ad agency that created the company’s iconic “1984” Super Bowl commercial. According to email evidence introduced into the court record during the ongoing patent-infringement trial between Apple and Samsung (SSNLF.PK), Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller was unhappy with Media Arts Lab’s marketing efforts.

Apple “may need to start a search for a new agency,” wrote Schiller in an email to Tim Cook obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “[W]e are not getting what we need from them and haven’t been for a while.” Ironically, Schiller pointed out Samsung’s 2013 Super Bowl ad to a Media Arts Lab executive as an example of how the Korea-based company was winning the advertising war.

“I watched the Samsung pre-superbowl ad that launched today,” wrote Schiller to Media Arts Lab’s James Vincent in an email cited by AdAge. “It’s pretty good and I can’t help but think these guys are feeling it (like an athlete that can’t miss because they are in a zone) while we struggle to nail a compelling brief on iPhone.”

Samsung’s successful “Next Big Thing” advertising campaign portrayed Apple users as older and out-of-touch with the latest smartphone technologies, while Samsung users were portrayed as young and hip. In the summer of 2013, Media Arts Lab launched the “Designed by Apple in California” advertising campaign. According to a consulting firm that uses consumer surveys to analyze the effectiveness of TV commercials, the “Designed by Apple in California”  ads scored well below average with viewers, reports Bloomberg.

Later that same year, an unnamed executive cited by AdAge reported that Apple was planning on doubling the size of its in-house marketing and advertising team in an effort to keep tighter control on its brand messaging. Apple spent approximately $1 billion on advertising its products worldwide in 2012, reports Bloomberg. According to AdAge, Apple increased that amount to $1.1 billion in the 12-month period ending in September of 2013. Despite the addition of four new agencies, Apple has no plans to discontinue any of its current agency relationships, reports AdAge.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)

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