As Mr. Jobs, arguably the brand's beating heart, steps away from
his role as CEO to become chairman, one can only hope his
successor, Tim Cook, adheres to the marketing formula that , while
far more rotary than iPhone, has helped propel the company to
record revenue and profit.
"There's exceptional sentiment that [Apple is ] all about
product design and proves that user experience is all that
matters," said Noah Brier, cofounder of content discovery startup
Percolate and former exec-director strategy at the Barbarian Group.
"Then why does Apple spend $400 million on the most traditional
kind of advertising?"
Among largest spenders
Apple is among the top 100 U.S. advertisers by spending with $420
million dedicated to advertising last year, according to Ad Age
Data Center. What's more, the largest piece of that pie -- almost
$200 million -- went to network TV.
Considering Apple billboards are a fixture in any high-traffic
urban area -- near Penn Station in New York and along the highway
heading east into Chicago -- it's no surprise that Apple is the No.
10 outdoor spender among all U.S. marketers with $33 million in
"You don't create a massive consumer company with just great
product design," Mr. Brier added. "If it was true, they wouldn't go
out and spend that kind of money."
To boot, as other advertisers and media buyers focus on
performance and efficiency in online advertising, Apple's $24
million in measured internet media most likely went primarily to
high-end home-page takeovers on newspaper sites belonging to the
Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today. These aren't
budget banner buys, but high-profile real estate more akin to the
back cover of a magazine.
In another old-school move, Apple has stuck with one ad agency,
Arts Lab, for the better part of 30 years. That's a rarity in a
world where marketers switch agencies just about as frequently as
new iPads come out. Apple and TBWA have been together, on and off,
since the "1984" Super Bowl spot.
Illustrating how closely linked Mr. Jobs has been to the
marketing and the ad agency, TBWA was replaced by BBDO in 1986 -- that 's one year
after Mr. Jobs was ousted at Apple. TBWA came back on the account
in 1997, the same year Mr. Jobs rejoined the company.
More than just advertising
But Mr. Jobs' marketing genius embodies more than just advertising.
Apple launched its first brick-and-mortar store in 2001, "designed
and built to serve as high-profile venues to promote brand
awareness and serve as vehicles for corporate sales and marketing
activities," according to Apple filings. Since then, those stores
have catapulted Apple to be a gold standard in retail, too.