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Apple marketing revamp could involve enormous in-house ad team of 1,000 creatives

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Riled by Samsung’s clever ad campaigns poking fun at Apple’s core customers and frustrated that its own more recent marketing initiatives appear to be missing the mark, the Cupertino company is reportedly putting in place its own in-house team in a bid to get things back on track.

We heard last week that the tech giant is assembling a team to create its own TV ads as its long-running relationship with agency TBWA\Chiat\Day – maker of the legendary Macintosh ad that aired during the 1984 Super Bowl – apparently comes under increasing strain.

An AdAge report Tuesday has furnished us with a few more details of Apple’s ad-based ambitions, which are said to include plans for a 1,000-strong – that’s right, a thousand – army of creatives all working toward bolstering its brand.

Apple is said to be already in the process of staffing its in-house agency, snagging at least a couple of people from Media Arts Labs (MAL) – a unit of TBWA.

AdAge claims Apple is even pitting TBWA/MAL creatives against its in-house ad team in a bid to drive competitiveness to produce the most effective ideas, a method generally frowned upon in the marketing world.

With Apple facing increasing competition from the likes of Samsung and other global tech players, the iPhone maker appears to be rattled by its apparent inability to hit back effectively at rivals’ powerful ad campaigns with ones of its own that connect strongly with consumers.

The situation was highlighted by correspondence between Apple’s senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller and TBWA/MAL president James Vincent revealed during the recent Apple/Samsung patent trial that showed Schiller’s alarm at Samsung’s marketing moves.

“I watched the Samsung pre-Super Bowl ad that launched today,” Schiller wrote in the email sent last year. “It’s pretty good and I can’t help but think these guys are feeling it (like an athlete that can’t miss because they are in a zone), while we struggle to nail a compelling brief on iPhone.”

While the idea of 1,000 people setting to work on a TV ad for Apple’s expected iWatch may seem absurd, we nevertheless can’t wait to see what the team comes up with. Considering the kind of time and money such a vast project could swallow up, let’s just hope the words “cooks” and “broth” don’t spring to mind when we see the result.

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Trevor Mogg
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