Apple is known nearly as much for its carefully-crafted and iconic marketing campaigns as it is for what it sells, but in recent years there's a perception that the company is losing its edge in marketing as well as in product innovations. However, recent reports have indicated that Apple is putting a renewed focus on on its ads through its own in-house advertising agency, and AdAge has just released quite a few more details about that initiative. It sounds like the scale of Apple's project is quite a bit larger than first indicated: AdAge claims that the company it furiously building the business, with plans to have 1,000 people eventually working in that internal agency, making it comparable in size to Grey Advertising (a firm that handles Canon, Gillette, and DirecTV, among others).
Apple is hardly done working with outside firms, despite these ambitions — in fact, it sounds like the company is already leveraging its internal agency to attempt to get better pitches from the other ad companies it works with. AdAge claims that it is pitting longtime ad partner TBWA / Media Arts Lab against its internal agency in an effort to find the best creative ideas — a practice that certainly goes against standard operating procedures, but one that the external agency will likely have to put up with to continue to keep such a lucrative client.
To staff up that massive internal advertising team, Apple has been targeting senior talent at a number of agencies, including TBWA / MAL — but while Apple has successfully poached some talent, it sounds like a lot of others are resisting due to the perception that Apple isn't as renowned for its ad creative as it was in years past. Indeed, documents from the recent Apple / Samsung trial revealed that senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller felt that Samsung was outdoing Apple in marketing. Whether Apple's new internal focus on advertising will make a difference remains to be seen, but it looks like the company is getting ready to tackle its perceived shortcomings in a big way over the coming months.