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Apple and TBWA/MAL Splitting?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Though change is uncommonly common in our industry, we are taken aback when something that we see as normal is disrupted. For good marketing strategy, the main ingredient that many corporate marketers seem to forget is consistency. Keeping a consistent message, creative, and team can bring forth success.

Apple has been a star example of that. Apple and its partner agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day have been working together ever since the team launched the "1984" ad. TBWA even created a team called TBWA/Media Arts Lab that would work solely on the Apple account.

But alas, change is inevitable. Now talk is spreading about Apple parting ways with MAL and creating its own 1,000-person in-house agency.

We all should have seen this coming.

Few things are rockier than the agency/client relationship. The heads of each side really need to be on the same page and have a good working relationship with each other. When these companies linked up, it was Jobs and Clow running the show. Now that Jobs has passed, and Clow is retired, it seems that the new reinholders may be looking in different directions. It's not a bad thing, but it does mean that the relationship is going to change.

Now an article in Mashable exclaims how odd it is for a big company like Apple to build its own in-house agency, since many companies like them rely on outside agencies. 

Again, the moment we rely on conventional thinking is the moment when we stop thinking creatively. Though we agree with the author that big brands have struggled with maintaining an in-house agency, we do not find it as impossible to create. 

It will be interesting to see what happens. According to the article, Apple brought in some heavy hitters — a former W+K partner, and they even poached some creative from MAL.

If Apple follows their focus on consistency, its agency — whether outside or in — will be okay.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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