In post-Jobs era, TBWA
will be keeper of flame
2001: Hello, iPod. Music listening is changed forever. Apple
shrugs off its “computers” cape and takes on an entirely new
directive as a digital-products company. Launch is accompanied
by award-winning Silhouettes campaign that made stars out of
then little-known bands.
2001: Apple opens its retail stores. The stores are as much
marketing for the company as they are a delivery vehicle for its
products. Their architecture, design and unique customer-service
offerings make the stores tourist meccas in many cities.
2003: i Tunes unveiled. The first time an online music
(and content) market actually took off. The iPod’s
success made the content-delivery business a logical
next step for Apple.
2005: Mac Mini. No display; tiny, cute and cheap.
2007: iPhone is born, and its user-friendly multi-touch interface changes our
expectations of phones. It leads to three more iterations so
far, the last of which was announced
shortly before Mr. Jobs’
“STEVE LEAVES BEHIND a company that
only he could have built, and his spirit
will forever be the foundation of Apple,”
wrote Tim Cook to employees last week,
upon the death of Steve Jobs. And to
continue the legacy of its founder, the
newly minted chief must rely on the
folks who understand “the Jobs way.”
One of his biggest assets in that
endeavor will be the institutional knowl-
edge housed within the four walls of
TBWA/Media Arts Lab.
Thanks to Mr. Jobs’ respect for—no,
obsession with—the craft of advertising,
MAL has enjoyed a uniquely seamless
relationship with its client, dictating the
marketing strategy as much as it has
executed on it.
Mr. Jobs was as loyal to TBWA as
Apple was to him. The agency was first
hired in 1983, launching the Macintosh
computer with the famed “1984” spot.
The account stayed there for a few years
before moving to BBDO when Mr. Jobs
was ousted. When he was asked back in
1997, he rehired TBWA, and “Think
Different” broke in September of that
For a long time, that loyalty resulted
from the marriage of top client executive
and top creative, Mr. Jobs and Lee Clow,
the ad man whose beard and flip-flops
are as consistent as Mr. Jobs’ black mock
turtleneck and jeans.
But in recent years, the relationship
extended beyond Mr. Clow—the
chairman of MAL—to its chief cre-
ative officer Duncan Milner, a 20-year
veteran of TBWA, and its president
James Vincent, who joined in 2000. The
same goes for Monica Karo, who runs
media-planning and buying around the
world for Apple as president of integrat-
ed accounts at OMD.
2008: iPod Touch. Little
bit of this, little bit of that.
2009: App Store is
born. It figures.
LEADERS REFLECT ON HIS LEGACY
Colleagues, friends, competitors, presidents—you name it, and in some way,
Steve Jobs influenced what they did. Here’s what was said in remembrance.
2009: MacBook Air.
Desire in an
“There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the
fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a
device he invented.” — President Barack Obama
whether the device
will be replacement
for laptops and
“Through his innovation, creativity and foresight, Steve Jobs
enabled companies in all sectors to become closer to
consumers all around the world. His inspiration and legacy
will be felt by all of us for years to come.”— Keith Weed, Unilever
chief marketing officer
the company had dialed back its online
advertising further recently in part
because even in his advertising Mr. Jobs
didn’t want to support Flash, a technology Apple has eliminated from devices
such as the iPhone and iPad.
Mr. Jobs’ complete control over the
message also flies in the face of current
marketing dogma that the consumers
themselves should tell the brand story
through actions on Facebook or conversation on Twitter. Apple barely has a
presence on either platform. Apple just
recently set up a You Tube channel, but
that, too was to better control the brand
experience. Comments on Apple videos
are always turned off.
Just like Apple products are not
about the technology, the focus on tactics, targeting and algorithms didn’t
make sense to Mr. Jobs the marketer.
“Steve Jobs was a great visionary and a respected competitor.
We extend our deepest condolences to his family and to all of
the employees of Apple.” — Research in Motion Ltd. co-CEOs Mike
Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie
“The move to analytical marketing,
which is a great addition to the arsenal
has become a de facto substitute for the
narrative side of marketing,” said Mr.
So why don’t more companies think
about marketing like Steve? “Too
much of marketing is pulled into tactics
with a lack of meaning and strategy,”
said Jim Stengel, former CMO of
Procter & Gamble and now UCLA
adjunct professor and author. “The tactics and the meaning have to come
from leaders and there are too few of
them out there.”
“Steve Jobs is one of those rare heroes who defines an era. His
genius changed everyone’s life.”— Omnicom Group CEO John Wren
“He was the most amazing person I have ever known. He was a genius. He
was an innovator. He was the best client we ever had. He was my friend. To
work with him, to share his vision, to share his passion, to be trusted by
him with his ideas, is one of the great honors that we all have been able to
share. We who worked with him every day will miss him. We who worked
for him but never met him will miss him. We who work for TBWA but
never worked on Apple will miss him. What Steve Jobs did was simply
make everything and everyone better. I will miss him. “— Lee Clow, chairman
and global director of Media Arts Lab and chief creative officer of the TBWA network