- Apple is restructuring its relationship with TBWA\Media Arts Lab to meet changes in its marketing focus, per Adweek.
- The tech giant’s new strategy includes an emphasis on digital marketing as well as regional campaigns rather than translating or localizing larger campaigns for different global markets.
- “TBWA\Media Arts Lab is reorganizing and introducing a new operating model to keep pace with the way people consume media and content. This will result in a reduction in areas such as localization and further investment in areas such as digital, social, data analytics, content creation and a more diverse set of strategic skills. We will also have greater integration with media partners at OMD,” an agency spokesperson told Adweek.
The news of a shift in marketing strategy for Apple is noteworthy because the brand has been known for big, TV campaigns designed to make a splash and generate buzz. That the brand will now be investing more in digital speaks to how consumers are spending more time on digital devices. The focus on data points to the need for digital experiences to personalized.
Apple’s move comes at a time when big brands are both rethinking agency relationships as well as struggling to find digital marketing’s place within an overall marketing program. Although marketing spending is moving to digital, which has taken over the top spending spot from linear TV this year, a wide variety of options, channels and tactics make digital marketing overall more complex than the relative simplicity of creating and buying linear TV spots.
The range of digital possibilities along with the strength of digital marketing in its agility and flexibility has yet to prove to be a great fit with the traditional combination of big brands and big agencies. Apple didn’t respond to Adweek’s request for comment on the new strategy, but the tech giant has made cuts to its marketing spending that have resulted in layoffs at TBWA\Media Arts Lab’s Los Angeles headquarters and other offices around the world.
Buoyed by iPhone sales of 78 million, Apple last month reported fiscal Q1 revenue of $78.4 billion and “all-time record” quarterly diluted earnings of $3.36 per diluted share, up 3% from $75.9 billion and earnings of $3.28 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue from services, including digital music, Apple Pay, cloud storage and applications, rose 18% in Q1 to $7.2 billion, beating analyst exceptions for $6.9 billion.
“Apple has started its new fiscal year on a fairly positive note, finally pulling out of the tailspin of lower sales which have dogged it over the past year,” retail analyst Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail (formerly Conlumino), said in an email to Retail Dive. “However, the revenue uplifts have come off the back of fairly soft prior year comparatives, especially so in the North American market. Even so, the performance will come as a relief to Apple, which pinned its hopes on the release of new iPhones and MacBook Pros.”