Apple has always set a high bar with their advertising, and that high bar has led to frustration with their long-time partner TBWA/MAL and the formation of an internal advertising team that Apple hopes to build to one thousand members. That's a huge team, and as previously reported, they're already producing work for Apple.
The in-house team has been competing directly with TBWA/MAL to produce spots, and Apple has even pulled in other outside firms to compete, as reported by Advertising Age:
[Apple is] madly building an internal agency that it's telling recruits will eventually number 1,000 -- the size of Grey Advertising. It's pitting TBWA/MAL against this internal agency with "jump balls" to mine the best creative ideas, a controversial tactic with outside agencies, let alone an internal one. It's going after some of adland's boldest-faced names to staff its in-house shop -- in some cases, it's even poached executives from TBWA/MAL. And, in what once would have been seen as a sacrilegious breach of the Apple-MAL bond, it's been inviting some of the ad industry's top shops to pitch on major projects.
Apple's exploration of outside firms has touched on numerous agencies, including those that have known conflicts of interest by contracting with Apple's competitors. Four digital advertising firms have been contracted by Apple, and even several prominent advertising executives have been approached by Apple for jobs at the company.
With a famously insular approach to product design and marketing over the past several years, it's interesting to see Apple changing their approach and becoming both more open and more closed with their marketing process.
Source: Advertising Age