Apple ad agency Media Arts Lab cuts about 50 jobs as marketing plan 'evolves'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2019
Media Arts Lab, Apple's longtime advertising partner, this week axed about 50 employees as the company hews to the tech giant's evolving ad strategy, a report said on Tuesday.


Still from the "Welcome Home" ad directed by Spike Jonze and starring FKA twigs. | Source: Apple


Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports the downsizing occurred on Monday and impacted various divisions of the agency. According to the report, "many" cuts were made within the strategy division of the organization, responsible for helping Apple dream up new ad material.

Media Arts Lab, a subsidiary of advertising firm TBWA\Chiat\Day, counts Apple as its only client and has had a close partnership with the iPhone-maker for decades.

"Yesterday was a difficult day, as we had to part with some of our talented colleagues. Our relationship with Apple has never been stronger," a Media Arts Lab spokeswoman said. "But as the needs of our client continue to evolve, we must adapt and continue to evolve the composition of our teams."

The agency created a number of memorable Apple campaigns over the past couple decades, including the iconic "1984" TV ad, the "Get a Mac" campaign, and more recently well-received holiday commercials and the award-winning "Welcome Home" ad for HomePod. In May, the director in charge of the HomePod spot departed to start a social media platform for musicians.

Apple began to move ad creation in-house in 2014, but the internal team's early efforts were initially panned. Rumors at the time claimed Apple was mulling a break with Media Arts Lab, but those claims were unfounded.

"Apple's confidence and trust in MAL as our singular ad agency is as strong as it's ever been," Tor Myrehn, Apple's VP of Marketing Communications, said in a statement to Bloomberg. "As we continue to evolve our marketing approach, we've asked MAL to do the same."

Most recently, the agency in May assigned new directors to handle ad output for iPhone and Apple's subscription services.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    50 pairs of feet hits the streets is not good... someone’s covering their butts...it can’t all be rainbows and unicorns....
    toysandmegatorguy
  • Reply 2 of 9
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,769member
    Ever since I'm PC I'm Mac, Apple's ads have been unmemorable, cookie-cutter, and worst of all, humorless.  Two basic templates: one has a loud, thumping track played over jump cuts of hyperkinetic choreography (be it of people or objects), the other has slow, soothing music providing a backdrop for a series of 5-second hyper sentimental mini-vignettes.  One or two spots grab your attention.  Iterations of the same basic mindless patterns get pretty boring. I used to stop and watch Apple ads, now, just like with any other ad, I change the channel or get a bite to eat.  Is that really the audience now?  Shallow and with very short attention spans?

    Apple's ad strategy is the only thing that I can truly say got worse in the post-Jobs era.  This is where Steve's 'taste' (as he used the word), his unique perspective standing in the crossroads of technology and the humanities/liberal arts (also paraphrasing him), is sorely missed.
    edited November 2019 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 9
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,115member
    Don’t need as many new ads if you don’t update your macs.
    edited November 2019
  • Reply 4 of 9
    rain22rain22 Posts: 132member
    The last 6 years have been the worst ad's in in Apple's history - outside of the "Welcome Home" standout. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Whatever happened to the simple brilliance of Chiat/Day ads we used to see? Today’s ads are mostly just wallpaper for the mind.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,805unconfirmed, member
    Oh shut up. The original AirPods ads were some of the best in history.

    P.S. This news shows the iPhone sales are declining!!! Because Trump!!
    /s
    edited November 2019
  • Reply 7 of 9
    Whatever happened to the simple brilliance of Chiat/Day ads we used to see? Today’s ads are mostly just wallpaper for the mind.
    Agreed. It is the difference between people who know what they are doing (Chiat/Day) and people who *think* they know what they are doing. Since the relatively affordable computer has replaced the once cost-prohibited tools of the trade, many professions are now flooded with people who *think* they know what they are doing. They buy a computer and maybe some software, then fancy themselves a journalist, or photographer, or graphic designer, or musician, etc. with very little knowledge, education, or experience in tow. They *think* they know how it works. They *think* they know what they are doing. Their plan is to "fake it until they make it". Very few do. And the side effect is that those industries and professions get watered down by mediocrity. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 9
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,317member
    Why do some of you pretend to know what you're talking about when it comes to this stuff? Why are you SO confident in your views that Apple's ads have all been horrible post-Steve? What makes you SUCH experts? Apple has had some EXCELLENT ads the last few years. They haven't all been amazing, but so what? No single ad will appeal to everyone. Also, what worked during Steve's time won't work now. Things change and evolve. All I see here is a bunch of extreme opinions, always skewed towards rose-tinting the past. Would love to hear some brilliant ad concepts from all you genius proclaiming all of Apple's ads to be trash.  
  • Reply 9 of 9
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,769member
    slurpy said:
    Why do some of you pretend to know what you're talking about when it comes to this stuff? Why are you SO confident in your views that Apple's ads have all been horrible post-Steve? What makes you SUCH experts?
    This?  https://www.cultofmac.com/23449/adweek-names-get-a-mac-as-best-campaign-of-the-decade/

    edited November 2019
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