Madison Avenue execs describe Apple’s ad sales team as “slow, cocky and downright stingy”


Apple is missing out on iAd sales opportunities because the company is too “slow, cocky and downright stingy” according to Madison Avenue media buyers cited in a piece in Advertising Age.

One exec told Ad Age that Apple doesn’t even have official sales targets for its ad business.

Cary Tilds, chief innovation officer for GroupM, said that Apple doesn’t have a big sales team. “It’s not their main focus to tell everyone in the world how amazing advertising in iAd is,” she said. “It’s just not as loud” … 

Apple came in for particular criticism for its unwillingness to share anonymized information about the behaviours of its customers, which media buyers say would be incredibly valuable when it comes to targeting ads at the right customers.

Apple’s refusal to share data makes it the best-looking girl at the party, forced to wear a bag over her head.

Apple had originally aimed iAds at big-name brands, with a $1M minimum spend, later reduced to $500,000 and then $100,000 before introducing the iAD Workbench program which allows micro-campaigns to be created from just $50.

Apple is believed to be focusing its ad sales efforts on iTunes Radio, with in-app sales taking a backseat.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. rettun1 - 9 years ago

    So execs are mad because Apple isn’t laser-focused on advertising and because they won’t sell customers’ personal data to 3rd parties? Got it.

    Not everyone wants to be Google.

    • rzozaya1969 - 9 years ago

      I liked your remark..

    • Gary Frost - 9 years ago

      So what is new? That is Apple and the way things are, but eventually they will hare a specific individual tasked with “getting it all together”. This has been typic of a lot of ventures Apple “stumbles” into, at least test is they way it seems to me, Apple does’t sell that customer data, but they can generate profiles of general customers of Apple and that pisses off the Ad market. Their policy is the correct one and is a good faith relationship with their customers. People wonder why Apple costs more

      • Gary Frost - 9 years ago

        Appel’s cost structure does make them boat loads of money, but it also provides resources for good customer service and other support. This includes privacy because the aren’t trying to make a buck to subsidize there low cost structure.

  2. kenrmtn - 9 years ago

    Good, and that’s why Apple is more trusted with personal data then any other player out there.

    And really who cares if a pushy advertising designer (exec) is upset about not getting “My or anyone Else’s” Personal information.

    Apple has the largest playing field with the most customers that have been proven to “Spend” money, now compared to the the “others” that see hardly no revenues due to the freemium market and users wanting everything free and not willing to spend its a given that Apples got a winner.

    Those who complain are just like the losers on Wall-street that still haven’t figured Apple out or even understand a Business model that has proven to work time and again even with all of these years of increasing profits, the blank look on the finger pointers still show just how mis-understood Apple is.

  3. Tony C (@Muadibe10) - 9 years ago

    Another reason why I am an Apple customer, and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future.

  4. Steffen Jobbs - 9 years ago

    What’s “anoymized”? Anonymous?

  5. rlowhit - 9 years ago

    This type of outside comments about how Apple isnt playing within standards makes me comfortable knowing Apple is still Apple.

  6. Len Williams - 9 years ago

    Ben, this is the second article in as many days where you come off sounding like a representative of the anti-Apple press — or you’ve taken a page from the ranks of click-bait journalists with provocative headlines. Your article could have been headlined instead, “Apple defends user privacy rights by not giving out customer information.” Instead you take the viewpoint of the advertisers on how bad Apple is by being “stingy” with customer information. I look at Apple’s actions in this regard as being EXACTLY the kind of behavior I expect from Apple. Apple is concerned with their customers’ right to privacy more than they are at appeasing ad agencies, yet you turn this into a bad thing on how nasty Apple is. What’s with you?

    • Ryan Landon - 9 years ago

      He’s got a point, Ben. According to the majority of responses by your readers, “Apple defends user privacy rights by not giving out customer information” would be a much, much better title.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      I’m not sure how an article that waxes lyrical about my love of Apple products can make me anti-Apple. :-)

      Personally, I have no objection to anonymous information being passed to advertisers, for example enabling them to target owners of the iPad Air, that just means the ads are likely to be more relevant to me. But in this purely news piece, I’m not expressing an opinion, only reporting what has been said.

      • Len Williams - 9 years ago

        Right now I have no confidence that ANY of our electronic usage is private or anonymous at all. I believe NSA snoops and the electronic surveillance carried out by other security agencies in the U.S. and by many other developed countries (Britain, France, Canada, Russia, Japan, Australia, China, Germany, both Koreas, etc., etc.) has rendered all of our phone calls, texts and online usage completely transparent. Anything that limits access to my activities by private companies is a good thing in my books.

        I do believe that you love your Apple products, but I don’t call feeling slightly embarrassed about bringing them out lest you be thought of as a fanboi as “waxing lyrical”. That oft-used meme that “Apple users are rich, trendy, know nothing idiots who pay too much because they’re brainwashed, which makes them fanbois” is ridiculous and never was true. Be bold and forthright in your waxing and less timid. Who cares what the dweebs think.

        I love my iPhone, Mac Pro and MacBook Pro and I don’t give a hoot (and a lot of other stronger things) if someone thinks I’m only trying to be trendy or an fool. I simply couldn’t care less. I’ve stopped paying attention to people with low tolerance levels.

      • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

        I certainly agree we have to assume the NSA and other government security agencies can access anything they wish.

  7. hmurchison - 9 years ago

    It’s because Apple is not an advertising company and thus they are not annoying.

  8. Gary Frost - 9 years ago

    So what is new? That is Apple and the way things are, but eventually they will hare a specific individual tasked with “getting it all together”. This has been typic of a lot of ventures Apple “stumbles” into, at least test is they way it seems to me.

  9. Anthony Koyer - 9 years ago

    Tell Madison Ave to just talk to the Government. They ALL our information at hand to share!

  10. Gary Frost - 9 years ago

    Again, when there is a new hire to run the program you can be assured that Apple will get its original price and more. Their demographic is just to much to ignore. Consider the iTunes sales volumes during this recent holiday. Did anyone come close? No, and the difference between the amount an Apple customer spends between the rest? Staggering. And is no need to break out the demographic other than the general customer base. Get real Ad guys. Apple will create its own ad system that by-passes the whining ad folks and create a direct Ad buy program. Apple will become an even tougher player. You know what the experience is here in other market areas. So get real!

  11. Boo hoo. Apple won’t share. Well good! As Apple’s customer, I don’t want them to share with you Mr Ad-head. I trust Apple with my data. I don’t trust you. Kudos Apple!


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear