A new report Monday by AdAge asserts Apple is doubling headcount across its internal marketing and advertising teams, ostensibly in a bid to tighten the message and produce even more marketing and advertising in-house. Saying the timing of the hiring spree is telling would be an understatement.
Apple’s Fall was recently called “blockbuster” and we have every reason to believe 2014 will be a landmark year as the firm readies the rumored iWatch, iTV, iPhablet, 13-inch iPad Pro and other gizmos unbeknown to us yet.
With that in mind, Apple is going to need some of the world’s top creatives to get its message across, retain the narrative and talk its non-gullible customers into purchasing new-category products…
According to AdAge, Apple’s hiring spree includes growing its in-house group from about three hundred to as much as five to six hundred creatives.
It is now seeking talent to work on the brand itself and wants to bulk up its ranks of high-level creative directors and heads of innovation. As part of its recruiting efforts, Apple has approached senior creatives known for innovative work.
Observers said Apple is driven not by a desire for more efficiency, but one to keep intellectual property within its walls and retain more ownership over its creative work.
By contrast, the deceased Apple CEO Steve Jobs kept the headcount at a minimum.
Jobs famously channeled his energies into portraying Apple as a product rather than marketing-centric company. Under Jobs’s regime, the company “was fairly strict about the headcount in that group,” the article notes.
“The group didn’t grow proportionally to the company as it went through astronomical growth, and that was partly because Steve wanted Apple to be seen as a products company, not a marketing company,” one company executive told the publication.
Apple’s new ad for the forthcoming Mac Pro seems to fall in line with Jobs’s legacy.
AdAge last week reported Apple was “on a hiring binge,” placing job offers for more than two dozen iAd executives ahead of tomorrow’s iTunes Radio launch. Reportedly, the firm was seeking creative types who’d oversee rich media iTunes Radio ads for such brands as McDonald’s, Pepsi and Proctor & Gamble.
As for its internal advertising and marketing army, the company’s thus far been collaborating with outside ad shop for most of its advertising and marketing communications, most notably with San Francisco’s Eleven and Apple’s longtime ad agency, Minneapolis-based TBWA/Media Arts Lab.
“That’s not expected to change,” writers Ann-Christine Diaz and Rupal Parekh note.
However, Apple’s in-house team has been tackling more projects, “doing everything from site design to tutorial videos for Apple products to maintaining a large internal commercial-production facility”.
In the absence of a major new product announcement, Apple cunningly resorted to running the new ‘Designed in California’ TV and print (see above) branding campaign, designed to bolster up customer loyalty and re-energize fans until the next new thing is ready for prime time.
Back in February, The Wall Street Journal asserted that heightened competition had forced Apple’s PR people to “work a little harder” to get the company’s message across. The new PR strategy is more proactive and said to include sending reporters more favorable third-party reports about the company from time to time.