In extremely competitive environments when the stakes are high it’s the ad agency you chose to ultimately carry you across the finish line. The titans of commerce know this well. A quick review of some of the big advertisers makes this abundantly clear. A look at the soft drink industry, beer industry, travel industry, auto industry makes this fact apparent. It is as much about the marketing as it is about the product itself.
Since the battle is about creativity and media acumen these big advertisers compete for the best agencies to market their products and the most successful companies stick with a winner when they find them. Although they may be able to pay for an in-house department these billion dollar companies seldom do and most often rely on the expertise of an award-winning advertising and marketing firm.
Steve Jobs, when he began Apple knew this instinctively that it was about branding and marketing if he was going to challenge IBM. He understood it was about creating a buzz and that required creating the best advertising in the industry. To do this, the first thing he did was hire Chiat/Day and set out to create a commercial for his new Macintosh in 1984 that would challenge the norms. The commercial was hugely successful and expensive but it launched the entire cult brand identity of Apple.
Steve was later fired by his board, a board that cut expenses and didn’t see the value of advertising and especially spending money to hire an ad agency so they fired Chiat/Day as well. The Apple Brand soon lost its way without Steve Jobs and his ad agency and by 1997, ten years later, the board begged Steve Jobs to come back.
So, what was one of the first things Steve Jobs did after being rehired: he hired his advertising agency back and began another successful marketing campaign “Think Different.” The campaigns were extensive and utilized new media choices which were unheard of at the time.
So what is the result of this magnificent partnership between Apple and agency? Apple has gone on to become one of the most valuable brands in the world. It is amazing what choosing the right agency and working with them can do. In fact, it can make all the difference in the world.
John Manlove is the president and CEO of John Manlove Marketing & Communications.