Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) products may be bestsellers, but the company works a fair bit on advertising for them: last year’s advertising budget was as much as $933 million. The company’s marketing efforts are overseen by Phil Schiller, senior vice president of product marketing, who, along with chief executive Tim Cook, has become a public face for Apple since the death of Steve Jobs last year.
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While Schiller is expected to front several keynote presentations at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference starting on Monday in San Francisco, it won’t be the first time on stage for him. Schiller has been part of many of Apple’s product launches with Jobs, providing something of comic relief alongside the presentation. But he was also responsible for working with Jobs on tasks such as defining target markets and technical specifications, overseeing Apple’s relationship with applications developers, and setting product prices. “Because Phil’s title is marketing, people believe he’s focused on what’s on the billboards,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster tells Bloomberg. “He’s much more important than people give him credit for.”
However, while under Jobs Apple’s advertising included several memorable campaigns; the company’s newer efforts seem to have fallen short of expectations. Apple has usually shunned celebrities in its marketing efforts, but brought in actors including Zooey Deschanel and John Malkovich to advertise Siri, the iPhone’s voice-recognition feature. The ad featuring Malkovich only managed 559 on the 900-point scale of ad-tracking firm Ace Metrix, a rare bad number for the company. Siri has also faced user criticism—with more than one customer filing a class-action suit against Apple claiming the personal assistant doesn’t work as advertised. The big challenge for Schiller, then, is to ensure that Apple’s upcoming products can meet the high expectations that come for the company.
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