It's being reported this afternoon that Media Arts Lab, a unit within Omnicom Group agency TBWA that’s been dedicated to Apple advertising, laid off as many as 50 staffers Monday due to changing times at Apple.
A TBWA/Media Arts Lab (MAL) spokeswoman said in a statement to CNBC Tuesday that “Yesterday was a difficult day, as we had to part with some of our talented colleagues. Our relationship with Apple has never been stronger, but as the needs of our client continue to evolve, we must adapt and continue to evolve the composition of our teams. Decisions like this are never easy, nor are they taken lightly, but unfortunately it is the nature of the advertising business. We are incredibly grateful for the many contributions of those who are leaving us and the impact they have made at MAL and on the work."
Apple has a decades-long relationship with Omnicom Group agency TBWA, the agency behind the iconic “1984” commercial, which introduced Apple’s first personal Macintosh, and “Think Different.” In 2006, TBWA created TBWA/Media Arts Lab as Apple’s bespoke creative agency. Lee Clow, the founder of Media Arts Lab and a close friend of Steve Jobs, officially retired earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Apple’s often lauded in-house creative operations group has been adding to its ranks. Apple recently hired Evelyn Neill, previously of TBWA/Chiat/Day, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Avi Dan, founder and CEO of Avidan Strategies told CNBC that "[Media Arts Lab] is competing now with one of the best agencies in the business, and that’s the in-house agency of Apple." He added that by marketing a widening array of products and expansion areas, the company might be seeking more intricate creative operations and relying more on internal resources to do that. For more on this read the full CNBC report here.
TBWA was founded in 1970 in Paris, France, by William G. Tragos (American, Management), Claude Bonnange (French, Marketing), Uli Wiesendanger (Swiss, Creation), and Paolo Ajroldi (Italian, Client Services). The first letter of each founder's name provided the initials for the new organization. They were purchased by the Omnicom Group in 1993.