Apple (AAPL) Reveals Its Biggest Marketing Secret

Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller, who is currently on the witness stand in the trial of Apple (AAPL) versus Samsung — Apple claims that Samsung copied its designs for the iPhone and the iPad and is asking for billions of dollars in damages — is offering a rare insight into the company’s internal operations and its advertising techniques.

Schiller testified Friday that Apple relies on two strategies to promote its devices to users:

Free widespread media attention showing the public its products through positive reviews, and products placed in film and television shows.

The media is so pro-Apple’s products that when the iPhone was launched in 2007, the company didn’t do any advertising for a period, according to Bloomberg:

Schiller, discussing the iPhone, said Apple decided not to pay for any advertising during a brief period after the device was introduced in January 2007 and when it went on sale later in the year.

“We didn’t need to,” Schiller said. He read from several rave reviews of the iPhone and iPad, explaining that such stories did a better job than advertising to build buzz.

Apple also relies heavily on product-placement, Bloomberg says:

“We would love to see our products used by stars,” Schiller told the jury.

One of Apple’s employees works closely with Hollywood on so-called product placement so its gadgets are used in movies and television shows, Schiller said.

Apple however, during the trial provided a new chart with some insight into how much the co. spends on advertising:

[via theverge] For the iPhone: fiscal year 2008, $97.5 million. FY 2009, $149.6 million. FY 2010, $173.3 million. FY 2011, $228.6 million. For the iPad? FY 2010, $149.5 million. FY 2011 , $307.7 million.

So, obviously Apple needs some help when it comes to advertising and doesn’t rely only on free press coverage to promote its devices. But for a company whose CEO (Tim Cook) has promised a “double down” on already established secret policies, Schiller’s remarks offer rare glimpses of decision making at the world’s most valuable company.

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