Apple Computer?s longstanding advertising agency has walked out on the ailing PC supplier only months after chief executive Gil Amelio admitted that the company desperately needed to ramp up its campaigns to improve market visibility.
BBDO - which has handled Apple?s advertising for the past 12 years - walked out on the $90 million a year account on Thursday after Apple decided to invite other firms to pitch for the business. The agency said it was insulted by Apple?s decision and had no intention of pitching for the business which it has handled since former Apple CEO John Sculley retained its service in the 1980s.
Feelings were running high at BBDO, where senior executives said they had become increasingly dissatisfied with Apple?s high turnover of staff - including five marketing directors in two years - and supply problems which meant that Apple was often unable to deliver the products which BBDO was advertising.
BBDO?s decision to quit caught Apple on the hop as did the emotional comments from Rosenshine. The company staged a hasty conference call to put forward its side of the story and accused BBDO of inconsistent performance. But David Roman, Apple?s vp of advertising and brand communications, insisted: ?Having [BBDO] resign was not the purpose of doing the review.?
The timing of the split could scarcely be worse for Apple. Earlier this year Amelio admitted that the company had not devoted enough attention to advertising and paid the price. ?We lost our edge in advertising and that?s unacceptable,? he said. ?Customers tell me?your advertising is fluff, soft and not very visible.? In a bid to improve this situation, Apple is planning new television ads for the autumn.
The domestic Apple account is run by 40 BBDO employees and represents 20% of the agency total income. Affiliates of parent BBDO Worldwide will continue to handle Apple's $130 million international ad business.
Ironically, despite the longrunning relationship with BBDO, Apple?s best remembered advert - the 1984 launch of the Macintosh complete with Big Brother - was created by another agency, Chiat-Day.
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