Campaign India Team
Jun 21, 2019

Cannes Lions 2019: 'A brief so narrow that it can dance on the head of a pin'

Apple's VP for marketing communications Tor Myhren points out why being simple is hard

Cannes Lions 2019: 'A brief so narrow that it can dance on the head of a pin'

"A computer saying hello to me, is that marketing? Is it marketing a product or a business?" It's questions like these that Tor Myhren, VP, marketing communications, Apple set out to answer in his session "simple is hard" on the concluding day of the Cannes Lions 2019.

For a brand that's been setting new standards for nearly four decades, Myhren said, "Legends set the bar. We are just trying hard to get there."

Speaking about a coffee table book that the company had created, he said that when the company found that the paper on which the book was being printed was not upto Apple's exacting standards, the company set out to produce its own paper for the book.

It's that obsession that made everything the company introduced iconic, he said, giving examples of even power adapters and pods where the brand has its own signature style.

"Simplicity is not simple," he said adding that apart from simplicity, Apple's culture also has humanity and creativity at the heart of everything it does. "We chase simplicity with anything we do. It always runs in our DNA." 

"There are a 1000 nos for every yes. Every idea is subjected to debate and questioned. Every product that makes it, fights through and comes to the other side," he said.

He said the company did not do focus groups or tested products, but trusted its creative instinct and taste.

Another reason he attributed for the brand's success in communication was that it had just one agency and the partnership was existing for over 20 years. "Trust is the most important in great creative partnerships," he said adding that in the hyper-competitive world, ''they (the agency) know stuff before the world knows".

Emphasising that creative tension is competitive between agency and client, he said that agencies never left a meeting stuck in a bubble. "We make decisions at the table," he said.

Speaking about the brand's continued success, he said, "Strategy is sacrifice. It's the art of reducing to get that one thing. Strip it down to find the truth of the product," he said.

He said Apple's agency was often provided a "brief so narrow that it can dance on the head of the pin".

On the media agency front he said, "Media is art," and Apple chose quality over quantity. "We are picky about where we show up. We may not be efficient but we are most effective. Twice as expensive is okay, if it's twice as good," he said, adding that Apple would only advertise with digital partners who agreed with the company's privacy policies. 

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