Power Players 2009

Apple's Steve Jobs Is Ad Age's No. 11 Power Player

Rising Mobile Dominance and a Beloved Brand -- It All Begins With the CEO

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Last Year
THE POWER: Few mass brands spark the fervency and dedication Apple does, and the man responsible for it all is Steve Jobs. With the wildly popular iPhone and its associated App Store, Apple has become the most important player in mobile communications, a crucial arena for every marketer. Expectations are that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company will soon launch a tablet computer that will likely further change how people communicate and perhaps breathe new life into newspapers and magazines. Apple can also boast one of the most successful ad campaigns of recent years with its "I'm a Mac" effort that's forced rival Microsoft to get serious about marketing. Mr. Jobs keeps close tabs on the ad strategy in regular meetings with TBWA creative legend Lee Clow.

THE NUMBERS: The iPhone had a 13% share of the worldwide smartphone market midway through 2009, up from 2.8% a year before, according to Gartner, and Apple says more than 500 million iPhone apps have been downloaded. Mr. Jobs and company celebrated record earnings last quarter. The Mac's share of the personal computer market is also creeping up. In measured-media terms, Apple spent $323 million in 2008, according to TNS. Over the first six months of 2009, spending dropped by almost 27%.

THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: Phil Schiller, senior VP-marketing, reports directly to Mr. Jobs and is responsible for product marketing and developer relationships, among other responsibilities. Jonathan Ive is the resident -- and publicity shy -- design genius.

THE CHALLENGE: Music sales are slowing, and Apple is forced to play up the iPod's alternate features -- which it's done to great success given record sales for the product last quarter. The iPhone is soon to be rolled out in China, no automatic slam dunk but key to snatching international share from Nokia and Research in Motion. The health of Mr. Jobs, who received a liver transplant this year, is always a concern, and Apple would do well to articulate a succession plan for the 54-year-old executive.

THE AGENCIES: Omnicom's OMD handles media and Apple hands out small assignments to independents Eleven and Mono. But the key relationship is with TBWA's Media Arts Lab.

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