ID Comms

TBWA changes testify to anxiety about $1bn Apple

More evidence emerges that Apple is rocky at TBWA – or that TBWA is rocking in anticipation.

Unknown-2TBWA has replaced long-serving LA boss Carisa Bianchi with TBWA/Media Arts Lab exec Luis DeAnda (left), which may mean that the new, more conventional Apple is looking for a more conventional agency relationship than it has had from from the year dot with Lee Clow’s Media Arts Lab. Clow’s operation, despite its place in advertising legend, has been struggling to re-animate Apple, which has not gone unnoticed among Apple marketing execs who are, presumably, getting stick from above about the depredations of Samsung.

At the same time Apple has hired Wolff Olins global CEO Karl Heiselman in a top, as yet unspecified, marketing role which may also demonstrate its concerns over its current creative efforts. Heiselman worked for Apple in the 1990s under Steve Jobs before leaving to join the Omnicom-owned design agency. Omnicom also owns TBWA.

All this may be just the usual to-ings and fro-ings at a big agency with a big account. Others are not so convinced. My friend George Parker of Adscam fame is convinced that Apple’s long-term relationship with TBWA, which goes back all the way to Chiat Day’s celebrated ‘1984’ ad for the launch of the Macintosh, is on the skids. As we’ve remarked before, when a big company is struggling the agency usually cops it.

Apple may also be mindful that old enemy Microsoft is currently reviewing both its creative and media accounts. Whoever lands this one will surely be out of the running for Apple. So if Apple is going to make a big agency move it had better get its skates on.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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