Apple advertising agency TBWA / Media Arts Lab cuts 50 jobs

Apple Inc.’s agency TBWA / Media Arts Lab has cut around 50 employees, according to people familiar with the matter. The company said it was adapting to the changing needs of its one customer.

The staff cuts at the Media Arts Lab were made on Monday across several divisions, but most of the job cuts occurred in the strategy division that helps Apple deliver ads for its latest products.

“Yesterday was a difficult day as we had to part ways with some of our talented colleagues,” a Media Arts Lab spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Our relationship with Apple has never been stronger, but as the needs of our customers continue to evolve, we must adapt and continue to change the makeup of our teams.”

One of the people who left is Geoff Edwards, who started leading Media Arts Lab marketing for Apple services earlier this year. He helped launch the Apple TV + video streaming service on November 1.

“Apple’s confidence in MAL as a unique advertising agency is stronger than it has ever been. As we continue to evolve our marketing approach, we have asked MAL to do the same, ”said Tor Myhren, vice president of marketing and communications at Apple.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Apple’s marketing approach might have changed, but the iPhone maker has been building its own internal advertising capabilities for years. Apple has recruited creative talent from the agency world, including Myhren, the former Global Creative Head of WPP’s Gray, as well as Nick Law, the former Creative Director of Publicis Groupe and President of Publicis Communications who was hired as Apple vice president for marcom integration. .

Media Arts Lab, headquartered in Los Angeles, is part of the TBWA Global Store, which in turn is owned by Omnicom Group. The agency has served Apple for decades, including when the famous “1984” Mac commercial aired during the Super Bowl. He was also responsible for campaigns such as “Get a Mac”, which compared Apple computers to PCs and “Shot on iPhone” billboards and television commercials. More recently, the company has created advertisements for the latest iPhones and services such as Apple TV +.

Media Arts Lab works closely with Apple to develop messaging, ad, and advertising strategies for its devices. Apple executives, including chief marketing officer Phil Schiller and co-founder Steve Jobs, were known to meet weekly with the company in Los Angeles and at the iPhone maker’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Lee Clow, who worked closely with Jobs for years and ran the Media Arts Lab for decades, retired earlier this year and became an advisor as the agency’s president emeritus.

—Bloomberg News with Ad Age staff

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