Apple’s Ad Agency Media Arts Lab Cuts 50 Employees as Client’s Needs ‘Evolve’

TBWA/Media Arts Lab, Apple’s advertising agency, has cut about 50 employees, according to people familiar with the matter. The firm said it was adjusting to the changing needs of its only client.

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According to a new report from Bloomberg, the staff reductions at Media Arts Lab were made Monday in several divisions, but many of the job cuts happened in the strategy division that helps Apple come up with ads for its latest products.

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

Apple’s VP of Marketing Communications Tor Myrehn said that Apple asked Media Arts Lab to evolve its marketing approach as Apple evolves its own approach too.

“Apple’s confidence and trust in MAL as our singular ad agency is as strong as it’s ever been,” said Myrehn. “As we continue to evolve our marketing approach, we’ve asked MAL to do the same.”

It was not immediately clear exactly how Apple’s marketing approach might have changed, but the iPhone maker has been bolstering its own in-house advertising capabilities for years. Apple has recruited creative talent from the agency world, including Myhren, the former global creative chief at WPP’s Grey, as well as Nick Law, the former chief creative officer of Publicis Groupe and president of Publicis Communications.

TBWA and Media Arts Lab has created some of Apple’s most iconic commercials. The famous 1984 Super Bowl ad for the Macintosh came from MAL as well as the Get a Mac campaign and Shot on iPhone ads. The company lost artistic guru Lee Clow who retired earlier this year. Clow was the head of TBWA for decades and worked with Steve Jobs on the Think Different ads, the 1984 spot, iPod ads, and numerous other creative commercials.

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