More creative firepower at Apple means cutbacks at TBWA

Apple, as expected, seems to be taking more of its work in-house with Bloomberg reporting that Lee Clow’s famed TBWA/Media Arts Lab, probably the most successful of all the dedicated agencies, is laying off around 50 people.

Apple VP of marketing and communications Tor Myrhen, himself a former global CCO at Grey, says:”Apple’s confidence and trust in MAL as our singular ad agency is as strong as it’s ever been.” There just won’t be as much work it seems.

Since Myrhen moved over Apple campaigns have been firmly product-focussed, impeccably executed but maybe a bit cold. But since the iPhone took over Apple’s world that’s probably inevitable – the tech giant needs to make every seemingly minor improvement to its phones must-have for iPhone addicts.

But it’s another grim pointer for even the biggest creative agencies: some in-house ad agencies now have more talent than they do, leaving many creative departments a version of the gig economy. And because there’s no slack in the system, losing business – or getting less business – means big lay-offs. another reason for working for the client instead.

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About Stephen Foster

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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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