- Steve Jobs’ former ad man Ken Segall thinks Apple CEO Tim Cook is getting “vanilla” advice and that the company is not taking enough risks in its marketing.
- He said that the tone of Apple’s advertising had changed significantly since Jobs’ death in 2011 and that the firm was failing to create personalities around new iPhones.
- Apple is poised to unveil its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday, during which we’ll hear more about how the iPhone X has been received by customers.
Ken Segall, an advertising veteran and one-time ally of Steve Jobs, is worried that Apple is losing some of its chutzpah under CEO Tim Cook.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the former creative director at the ad agency Chiat/Day said Apple was not taking some of the marketing risks it did under Jobs and was failing to create personalities around new iPhones.
Segall worked on definitive campaigns such as “Think Different” and created the name iMac, so he knows which branding worked for Apple after Jobs’ return to the company in 1997.
“The passing of Steve Jobs created a completely different approach to marketing which we can see the results of,” Segall said. “As a marketer, I look at that and can see the difference between Steve being there – and not being there – very clearly.”
Segall suggested this could be because Cook was heeding advice to play it safe. “Tim Cook goes by recommendation of the people around him,” he said, adding that those people were “a little vanilla.” Segall continued: “In a big company environment people tend to get safer … In the old days, Apple used to do things that get a lot of attention.”
This isn’t the first time Segall has criticised a post-Jobs Apple. In 2016, Segall said Apple’s iPhone naming policy had “served to confuse customers” and made the job of marketing problematic.
He alluded to those concerns in conversation with The Telegraph. “They should be building a personality for the phone,” he said, “a thing that people might want to be part of because it rises above the features of the moment.” He said that would help Apple rise above the competition at a time when smartphone sales are slowing.
Business Insider has contacted Apple for comment.
Apple will post its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday, during which we’ll hear more about how the iPhone X has been received by customers. There was some encouragement on Monday, when UBS wrote that Apple was successfully persuading people to move up the iPhone price scale. This could bolster revenue and help it weather maturation in the smartphone market.
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