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Apple's in-house ad makers fall short of TBWA\Media Arts Lab, report says

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
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.
post #2 of 40
Oh come on, how the hell do you compare? Different times different circumstances. Apple should definitely keep it in house.
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post #3 of 40

The ad with the deaf woman was a dud?

 

I just saw that on tv a few nights ago, I though that it was decent.

 

I also thought that the ad with the big penis song was pretty good, I forget what it's called.

post #4 of 40
First, it is sad that other sites are posting numbers collected during the analysis while this site is not.

One Apple ad scored 611 while a TBWA ad scored 696. These scores tell me Apple IS NOT THAT FAR OFF THE MARK WITH ADS!

Apple is doing EXACTLY what Apple does... Learn from previous efforts to be better in the future.

Ding Apple for scoring lower than TBWA, not being an equal to Google Maps from Day One, etc. But look at what is truly happening. Apple is learning and improving. iTunes U has been drastically improved as reported by other sites then by AI. Maps is being improved nightly as reported by other sites then by AI. I have no doubts ads will be improved by Apple and reported on by other sites then by AI.
post #5 of 40
That graph shows three ads from each source in question. If you average them out for Apple vs. TBWA, the average scores are basically identical. Don't just believe me, though; try it yourself.
post #6 of 40

Seems like a stretch to make much significance out of those numbers, but that's bloomberg for you.

 

I've been loving all the recent Apple ads, my only complaint is that they make terrific 60 or 90 second ads, then trim them down to 30 seconds where they don't work as well and don't have enough time to make the emotional impact that they're capable of. If Apple is going to bother making them, seems like a big wasted opportunity not to pony up for the full spot.

 

The recent parenting ad was fantastic, anyone know if that was done in house or not?

   

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post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

First, it is sad that other sites are posting numbers collected during the analysis while this site is not.

One Apple ad scored 611 while a TBWA ad scored 696. These scores tell me Apple IS NOT THAT FAR OFF THE MARK WITH ADS!

Apple is doing EXACTLY what Apple does... Learn from previous efforts to be better in the future.

Ding Apple for scoring lower than TBWA, not being an equal to Google Maps from Day One, etc. But look at what is truly happening. Apple is learning and improving. iTunes U has been drastically improved as reported by other sites then by AI. Maps is being improved nightly as reported by other sites then by AI. I have no doubts ads will be improved by Apple and reported on by other sites then by AI.

It's all cool ... as Carlos Estevez would say ... Apple are winning. 1smile.gif
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post #8 of 40
Who is Ace Metrix and why do we care about them?
post #9 of 40
"TBWA\Media Arts Lab, which dreamed up iconic campaigns like the "Think Different" series."

Oh, yes, I remember that one. If included the Tibetan Dalai Lama except in Hong Kong, where the Chinese government would have gotten upset.

Perhaps that message should have been amended to: "Be different except where it takes courage and humanity." Or, as an Apple spokeswoman put it: ''The Dalai Lama really stands for our message in the United States. 'But in China, he may not get across the message that Apple is trying to send.''

What's Apple's TBWA-inspired message for the Chinese? The only one that comes to mind is that Apple doesn't care about the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Story at: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/04/17/world/apple-removes-the-dalai-lama-from-its-ads-in-hong-kong.html
post #10 of 40
How much cash does Apple have?
LOOOOOOOOOOOTS!
post #11 of 40

Not surprising. The saying about someone who would represent themselves in court of law having a fool for a client certainly applies here. Doing your own advertising is profoundly stupid.

post #12 of 40

"Greetings" was a bad ad? I liked it! It was nicely reminiscent of the "Hello" ad while being updated to the new phone and colourful style.

post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

Not surprising. The saying about someone who would represent themselves in court of law having a fool for a client certainly applies here. Doing your own advertising is profoundly stupid.

As opposed to hiring someone who will, if the pay is right, work for you adversary at the same time? Your logic is profoundly stupid and flawed, as is your analogy. In these times of Scamsumg and Gargoyle, Apple cannot trust anyone, better to hire the best and do their own PR.
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post #14 of 40

Ooooooooo, another prediction of failure for Apple. What a new concept this is. Not only is Apple doomed as far as products go but their marketing efforts are doomed too. Add this to the long list of other predictions of doom for the company. 

post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

"TBWA\Media Arts Lab, which dreamed up iconic campaigns like the "Think Different" series."

Oh, yes, I remember that one. If included the Tibetan Dalai Lama except in Hong Kong, where the Chinese government would have gotten upset.

Perhaps that message should have been amended to: "Be different except where it takes courage and humanity." Or, as an Apple spokeswoman put it: ''The Dalai Lama really stands for our message in the United States. 'But in China, he may not get across the message that Apple is trying to send.''

What's Apple's TBWA-inspired message for the Chinese? The only one that comes to mind is that Apple doesn't care about the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Story at: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/04/17/world/apple-removes-the-dalai-lama-from-its-ads-in-hong-kong.html

You do realize that China controls the media.

----

Back to the topic, how do they get these scores? Who created those terrible Mac Genius ads?
post #16 of 40

Geeze, who gives a s***?

Apple's worst commercial is better than 99.8 percent of all other commercials one sees on TV.

post #17 of 40
Why is Apple bringing the ads inside. Leaks? If apples pipeline is really as great as Apple says it is, they may be fringing the ads inside just for that reason.
post #18 of 40
Takeo is right! I have been in an in-house department and several agencies. There is too much pressure to stroke your peers and supers. It's not a creative environment. What Apple might have done is buy a really cool little agency and let them work on apple as a client. THAT would have worked better than bringing advertising inside. This type of thinking is not good for Apple or any large firm. If it spreads it will kill creativity all around. To be a top ad athelete you gotta be mean, lean and hungry. Apple people are none of that. Talk to any of the middle management. They're fat and work very hard to keep anyone from knowing what they do !
post #19 of 40

It is exceedingly rare for companies to have successful in-house advertising departments. There are a lot of reasons for the failures that inevitably occur, but the biggest one is that the creatives are not left alone. Every red-butt VP and division manager thinks they know what makes a good ad and tend to interfere with the creative process. However, the ads Apple created themselves are pretty good and have decent metrics.  Naturally, Apple would be the one company to make this work. Time will tell.

post #20 of 40
TBWA didn't come up with the slogan, `Think Different.' Apple asked everyone to submit slogans, and he submitted his own, `Think Different,' which he liked best and lots of folks were venting how it's not grammatically correct, but then he touched upon the ``Just Do It'' and ``Got Milk'' campaigns in the Cafe for everyone to see.

He then took it to TBWA and together they expanded it what we got with Dreyfuss.
post #21 of 40
Nothing makes an agency work harder than the threat of an account coming up for review. Having an in-house shop in "competeition" with the outside guys might be kind of brilliant. No need to make threats (repeated threats would lose their impact anyway), because the threat is ever present. It's better than giving part of the account to another agency, because Apple controls it.
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post #22 of 40
Not sure about in house - seems like you have more flexibility with outside teams. If you don't like the direction things are going, you can always try a different firm next time. Not so here. But I don't know many details of what Apple is doing. I will say the orchestra one was not good to me. It was nice for a mini movie, but it didn't get across the feeling of apple. It was cold, muted, slightly depressing and lonely.. I liked it when the commercials were all about the products. The hero!
post #23 of 40

Why isn't it mentioned that Ace Metrix has Samsung as a customer?

post #24 of 40
Either way, Apple rules the most significant ad metric - customer satisfaction.
post #25 of 40

What a shitty, sensational article lacking in any kind of context or perspective, and making grand assumptions based on near meaningless data. Apple's recent ads have been brilliant. For those in this thread boldly proclaiming how "profoundly stupid" this move is, and how its known that companies cant do their own advertising, you're forgetting the fact that Apple is not your typical company, and have tourinely succeeded when the established thinking proclaimed they weren't supposed to succeed, doing what they "shouldn't" have done. There's no reason to think Apple can't succeed at this too, and having more in-house control over adverting has a ton of advantages, including the fact that they know their product more than anyone else. 

 

Some of you can't see a foot beyond your own noses, and its as if history has taught you nothing about what Apple can and can't do. 

post #26 of 40

I think Bloomberg's responsible for the figure rather than the pollster, but what a terrible figure. Bars to the left and right of a center point for each ad (with the other value presumably set to zero) because the designer was too lazy to figure out how to color bars differently? It's just unbalanced and ungainly, and makes the reader have to wonder why the data's presented that way before concluding that there's no good reason for it. If the figure were clearly attributable to Ace Metrix, it would offer further reason for doubting their ability to judge aesthetics.

post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

Why is Apple bringing the ads inside. Leaks? If apples pipeline is really as great as Apple says it is, they may be fringing the ads inside just for that reason.

What leaks? I know that when Apple launches a new product, they've already shot a commercial. The production crew/actors in the ads of course have signed strict NDAs. So again, what leaks?

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post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

What a shitty, sensational article lacking in any kind of context or perspective, and making grand assumptions based on near meaningless data. Apple's recent ads have been brilliant. For those in this thread boldly proclaiming how "profoundly stupid" this move is, and how its known that companies cant do their own advertising, you're forgetting the fact that Apple is not your typical company, and have tourinely succeeded when the established thinking proclaimed they weren't supposed to succeed, doing what they "shouldn't" have done. There's no reason to think Apple can't succeed at this too, and having more in-house control over adverting has a ton of advantages, including the fact that they know their product more than anyone else. 

Some of you can't see a foot beyond your own noses, and its as if history has taught you nothing about what Apple can and can't do. 

Yes, I can't really tell the ad campaigns apart. I like the internally created ads, like Your Verse, which did the impossible: stop talking about tech in terms of specs and talk instead about how it affects your life. And TBWA has done a very good job for Apple. Sure, there were plenty of stinkers (Lemmings), but also many more incredible ads and marketing campaigns. I don't know what this scoring data really means, other than do the ads make people smile or frown? Is that ultimately a meaningful metric?

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post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

First, it is sad that other sites are posting numbers collected during the analysis while this site is not.

One Apple ad scored 611 while a TBWA ad scored 696. These scores tell me Apple IS NOT THAT FAR OFF THE MARK WITH ADS!

Apple is doing EXACTLY what Apple does... Learn from previous efforts to be better in the future.

Ding Apple for scoring lower than TBWA, not being an equal to Google Maps from Day One, etc. But look at what is truly happening. Apple is learning and improving. iTunes U has been drastically improved as reported by other sites then by AI. Maps is being improved nightly as reported by other sites then by AI. I have no doubts ads will be improved by Apple and reported on by other sites then by AI.


My take on this is that Apple opened their in-house ad shop to put TBWA on their toes... this isn't saying Apple is serious about their in-house shop, but it would be embarrassing for TBWA to be shown up by an upstart. The two will work a lot harder to shine and for Apple it's a Win-Win.
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post #30 of 40
And you can bet that this "survey" was promoted by some friends of Lee Clow and the spurned teams at TBWA who are jealous of their ex-colleagues work.
post #31 of 40
This is ridiculous. Ace Metrix do not know the real purpose/aim of these ads but you can bet Apple are not creating these ads aimed purely (possibly not even remotely) at the "viewer scores" determined by Ace Metrix.

Until we know for a fact what Apple's aims are and can reliably determine a particular ads effectiveness against those/that specific criteria then the whole process of trying to determine effectiveness is futile.

There are many reasons for creating ads and increasing sales might not even be one of them!

Then again, it might be the only reason. So it could be that these ads created by Apple are far better than those made with TBWA or it could be as extreme in the opposite direction. Basically this "report" is a waste of time and effort, serving only to advertise/raise the profile of Ace Metrix.
post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

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.

The "Your Verse" campaign is being tagged as TBWA in a few online sites as is the Pencil one:

http://www.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/34491355
http://www.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/34493296
http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2014/apple-ipad-air-your-verse-anthem/ ("The Your Verse campaign was developed at TBWA\Media Arts Lab.")
http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/tag/tbwamedia-arts-lab/
http://www.coloribus.com/adsarchive/tv-commercials/ipad-air-your-verse-anthem-18667755/
https://www.facebook.com/TBWASingapore/posts/610337852353322

The Dead Poets Society script was to be used as inspiration for Think Different so it makes more sense that it originated at TBWA. Apple might have done some of the scenarios depicted in the overall campaign themselves though.

The fact this TV audience sample ranks the Gigantic ad so highly suggests a lot about their preferences. If a TV audience ranked Justin Bieber more highly than John Lennon, should Apple feel they'd have to pander to them? I don't think so.

Apple hired some of the people from TBWA:

http://adage.com/article/agency-news/apple-marketing-a-game/293605/

"It's madly building an internal agency that it's telling recruits will eventually number 1,000 -- the size of Grey Advertising. It's pitting TBWA/MAL against this internal agency with "jump balls" to mine the best creative ideas, a controversial tactic with outside agencies, let alone an internal one. It's going after some of adland's boldest-faced names to staff its in-house shop -- in some cases, it's even poached executives from TBWA/MAL. And, in what once would have been seen as a sacrilegious breach of the Apple-MAL bond, it's been inviting some of the ad industry's top shops to pitch on major projects."

If they do manage to get a team of 1,000 people, they can have subteams compete for the best ideas and you know these people will keep up with ads created by outside agencies, it's not like they're going to live in a bubble.
post #33 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post
 

It is exceedingly rare for companies to have successful in-house advertising departments. There are a lot of reasons for the failures that inevitably occur, but the biggest one is that the creatives are not left alone. Every red-butt VP and division manager thinks they know what makes a good ad and tend to interfere with the creative process. However, the ads Apple created themselves are pretty good and have decent metrics.  Naturally, Apple would be the one company to make this work. Time will tell.

 

That's just it - Apple are unique. Remember what computers looked like before Apple? Or mp3 players? 

 

They have so much money that they are like a whole world in themselves. Just because an advertising team is in-house doesn't mean that they can't be fired.

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post #34 of 40
I think that a lot of Apple's recent advertising -- whether produced internally or externally -- is self-conscious and tepid. They've just not been up to Apple's traditionally high standards. In particular, the music and the narration often grate.

This is just my subjective view.
post #35 of 40

Jobs recorded a version of "Here's to the crazy ones". Isn't it about time they used it?

I'd like to hear it also read by Tim, Jonathan and Craig.

post #36 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I think that a lot of Apple's recent advertising -- whether produced internally or externally -- is self-conscious and tepid. They've just not been up to Apple's traditionally high standards. In particular, the music and the narration often grate.

This is just my subjective view.

They used to make humorous adverts:






I love the one with the Vista wheel of fortune ("didn't you make this?"). The ad with the Manilla envelope was iconic.

I guess the Genius ads were supposed to continue the humour element but they didn't hit the right note. It's hard to keep making iconic ads when there's not a new product category. I don't think they've been doing too badly though. I liked the following ads:






Having a lack of humour is where Samsung's line ad did some damage because it tried to make Apple look like the stuffy corporation. It has to be done right though or it can end up far worse.
post #37 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


They used to make humorous adverts:
 

Some incredibly good memories there from watching! Thanks.

 

I stopped watching after the "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" series so as to not get depressed. That was perhaps the last truly, insanely great burst of advertising creativity from Apple. To this day, I believe that series was largely responsible for changing people's mindsets about Macs, and Apple more broadly (although, Ballmer helped).

post #38 of 40
As a creative director on Madison Ave during advertising's heyday I agree with this observation. IMO neither TBWA or Apple has produced breakthrough creative in years. Apple ads conform more to the Proctor & Gamble formula these days, frosted pablum that won't rock the boat or make any waves. Back in the day Jay Chiat would rather have quit the account than produce worn out formula ads.
post #39 of 40

I enjoyed those ads, Marvin. 

 

That manila/Air ad is amazing; one of the best!

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post #40 of 40
I agree with takeo. There needs to be an element of objectivity and perspective in the process, plus on occasion 'razzmatazz'. I do think though, as a user and enthusiast, that Apple Apple marketing, including it's own sales website, is rather lame and, dare I say, dated and 'in the clouds'. They don't do justice to an amazing range of stellar products.
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