Apple Responds To Samsung Ad Push By Thinking Beyond Different
June 11, 2014

Apple Responds To Samsung Ad Push By Thinking Beyond Different

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

Thirty years ago Apple created one of the most iconic TV commercials ever for a computer. The now infamous "1984" ad, which featured a young woman throwing a sledgehammer at a large screen depicting "Big Brother," aired during the Super Bowl and it cemented Apple's iconic "Think Different" tagline in the public consciousness. This was a not so subtle dig at IBM's tagline "Think," and its well-known moniker "Big Blue."

It showed that Apple knew how to craft clever and memorable ads.

In recent years Apple's ads have become as memorable as the products they're trying to sell. From the recent Mac vs. PC commercials a decade ago to the "There's an App for That" campaign for the iPhone, it has been clear Apple's marketing team knew what it was doing.

The most recent Apple ads are far from memorable, however.

According to the advertising industry trade magazine AdAge, South Korea's Samsung has been outspending Apple while also making ads that seem just as iconic. Ubergizmo reported last November that Samsung's marketing budget was around $14 billion, or about 5.4 percent of its annual revenue. By comparison Apple reportedly spends just 0.6 percent of its revenue on advertising.

Apple apparently realized that it needs to not only "Think Different" but also think big.

In a response to Samsung's ad push, Apple is now planning on using an in-house ad agency for future promotions and the efforts could include a team with a staff of about 1,000. That is about the size of one of the giants of the ad industry, Grey Advertising, which caters to such clients as Canon, Gillette and DirecTV.

However, while Apple is building this massive in-house team, media reports suggest the tech giant isn't giving TBWA/Media Arts Lab – its current agency – walking papers. Instead Apple could pit its longtime ad partner against its internal ad team to get the best creative ideas. This could go against standard operating procedures for the ad firm, but it has been argued it may be necessary to keep the lucrative client.

This change may also be necessary for Apple to get back its ad mojo, which some in the industry seemingly feel Apple has lost in recent years. The build-out of the internal team has reportedly included recruiting from various top agencies, including TBWA/Media Arts Labs – but reports also have suggested many ad pros have expressed some reluctance in joining Apple.

"I don't feel that energy from Apple," a top agency exec was quoted as saying in the AdAge story. "The revolution has come and gone, and I'm not sure a job at Apple would be a creative opportunity. If I were going to go brand-side, there are a lot more interesting companies I'd rather work for, like Coke or Pepsi."

That unnamed source is not alone in expressing his concerns.

Even Phil Schiller, Apple's senior VP of global marketing, seemed to believe that Apple wasn't doing all it could in the ad game. In a series of emails that were disclosed in April as part of the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung legal battle, Schiller reportedly expressed concerns Samsung was gaining an edge in advertising and marketing efforts.

What all this will cost in financial terms has not been reported, but it will likely be far more than the $650,000 price tag for the "1984" ad, which was directed by Ridley Scott. For the record, that ad was originally hated by the board of directors, so much so that Jobs offered to pay for it to air himself. Jobs' resolve ultimately proved that thinking different works for Apple.

YOU TOO CAN THINK DIFFERENT: 101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising