Adobe Takes Bite Out of Apple -- With Love

Company Runs Ads Objecting to Apple's Rejection of Software

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NEW YORK ( -- Adobe fired back in the war over Flash today by taking out full-page ads deriding Apple over its rejection of the company's software.

The full-page, two-color screed says, "We [heart] Apple" in large-point type, with the kicker at the bottom reading, "What we don't love is anybody taking away your freedom." The ads are appearing in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as in banner ads (written, of course, in Flash) that link to a full letter from Adobe.

The brewing skirmish was touched off when Apple announced a few weeks ago it would no longer support Flash software for its growing iPad, iPhone, and iTouch devices. Most digital advertising vehicles use Flash.

The interesting fact is that while Adobe paid to articulate its position to the public, Steve Jobs simply wrote an extended blog post on the matter.

Adobe's letter, despite being clear and concise, is written in PR-speak; Mr. Jobs' version is, well, very much in his own voice. Just to the right of the Adobe letter on its website is a more personal epistle from Adobe founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke titled, "Our thoughts on open markets," emphasizing the "we think, they decide" approach to this ongoing battle over a technology that most may never care to understand.

So far, in public relations terms, Apple holds the lead, not necessarily for being right (who knows, really?), but for expressing itself in human terms, especially at a time when social platforms have altered consumer expectations. Corporate cant or gimmicky ads don't compare to a quirky critique, even a curmudgeonly one.

But the real winner here is Omnicom. The Adobe ads running today were created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, which is the sibling agency of Apple's shop, TBWA/Media Arts Lab, both part of Omnicom. There's nothing like a good technology showdown to get the ad dollars flowing. And if there's a clear loser in this it's thorn-in-Apple's-side Gizmodo, which got no Adobe ad love. The banner placement list includes tech blogs Engadget, TechCrunch, Wired and ArsTechnica.

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