I’ve been seeing a lot about Apple and their agency TBWA. In this piece, correspondence between Apple’s SVP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, and [only noted as] ‘the agency’. This all comes to light due to documents in the Apple v Samsung patent case.

A few more things come to light.

The message from the agency was in response to a request from Apple to address the attention Samsung’s ad campaigns were garnering.

The message was pure ad agency. Embarrassing. They wanted more money and freedom to develop lots of new content then Apple can choose what they like (pay to explore without a plan). They wanted more meetings. Unnecessary, unproductive and expensive.

Brilliant. It’s a good thing that Schiller is smart and can see a con in a poorly worded email. I can’t even imagine how anyone would think that response was okay.

Oh, yeah. Complacency.

Schiller’s response was shocking. Well, he used shocking in some form four times in the four paragraph response. But he was shocked. The agency’s response was lame.

My favorite part:

“we actually have 2 pretty huge brand-level ideas right now that we love and yet can’t find a way to talk about in marcom, without just simply going out and making them. it’s more like a nike model where they shoot a bunch of stuff and then pick which to run from finished work.”

They actually have 2 pretty huge ideas? They can’t find a way to talk about it without making them? They’re modeling nike?

Did this person start in advertising last week? (By the way, the lack of capitalization didn’t go unnoticed in the article.)

So what I see here is a major, huge, big holding-company agency with the depth of the Platte.

Complacency can happen in any agency (or marketing department), in any role – from planning to creative – to the point that only a shake-up will get attention.

We don’t know what happened next, but it’s clear that Apple wanted more than regurgitated ideas and to write a blank check to develop content they may or may not use – not to mention more meetings.

What we can see is that even the big guys can have their lame, lazy moments.

It’s hard to get to the top of the heap. It’s harder to stay there.

As I’ve said many times: if something needs change and you don’t act, it will be done for you – and you won’t like the outcome.