Apple Inc’s Schiller: Samsung Ad “feels it”, while iPhone Ad Struggles

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By Athena Yenko | April 8, 2014 4:20 PM EST

"I watched the Samsung pre-superbowl ad that launched today. It's pretty good and I can't help but think 'these guys are feeling it' (like an athlete who can't miss because they are in a zone) while we struggle to nail a compelling brief on iPhone" - this was the very own words written in an email from Apple Inc's Senior Vice President for Worldwide Marketing Philip W. Schiller.

In the midst of the second California Apple vs. Samsung trial, an almost heated exchange of email between Schiller and Apple Inc's ad partner TBWA/Media Arts Lab dated Jan 2013 emerged.

The email revealed that Apple Inc's own marketing expert admitted that Samsung "had" it over Apple.

The correspondence, copy published by Business Insider, started in an email from Schiller expressing his apprehension over an article published by Wall Street Journal -   Has Apple Lost Its Cool To Samsung?

Mr Schiller told TBWA that together, they "have a lot of work to do to turn this around."

However, the first email from Mr Schiller had WSJ's headline in large fonts - something that might have put TBWA off.

TBWA responded in what could be viewed as a bit overboard.

In bullet form, TBWA suggested for a company-wide response of changing the company behaviour towards lawsuit, employment and charity; clarify the company's next innovation; change the conversation in terms of marketing; and come-up with new tactics on sales.

TBWA also requested an emergency meeting with Apple's top-ranking executives, including CEO Tim Cook and design Chief Jony Ive.

The breaking point was when TBWA pointed out a situation in 1997 when marketing had apparently brought Apple back from abyss. TBWA suggested that to achieve the same effect, TBWA should be allowed to explore new marketing ideas outside of what was being agreed during (marcom) meetings.

Mr Schiller was shocked with TBWA's response.

"To come back and suggest that Apple needs to think dramatically different about how we are running our company is a shocking response. To suggest we need to give you more free reign to spend money to explore ideas that you have not ever tried to bring up during marcom is shocking."

TBWA was quick to apologise for its rather bold response.

However, Mr Schiller remains adamant that the agency lack the prowess seen from what Samsung delivered. And due to a faulty advertising move, Samsung aced it against Apple.

"That's sad because we have much better products. Something drastic has to change. Fast," Mr Schiller wrote.

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