Apple's Secret Marketing Strategy Gets Them More Bang for their Buck (AAPL)

Jun.29.06 | About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

By Carl Howe

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) has a wonderful look inside all the security and secrecy used at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to create excitement around its brand. The article seems to think that all of this is over the top, considering the roadmaps continually announced by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) that make their announcements anti-climaxes. But the article does note the results that Apple reaps from its novel approach:

The mystery helps Apple attract crowds at its retail stores and generally garner much more visibility than its relatively modest advertising budget would suggest. Apple spent $287 million on advertising last fiscal year, compared with $995 million for Microsoft and $1.1 billion for H-P, according to the companies' filings with securities regulators. While new wares from Dell Inc. or H-P rarely get front-page treatment, Mr. Jobs has repeatedly appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Fortune showing off a new iPod or Macintosh computer.

AAPL logo Said another way, Apple achieves visibility and coverage worth at least $600 to $700 million a year from its tight-lipped ways, all because it doesn't pre-announce. We've commented before that we think that Sony's (NYSE:SNE) imitation of this strategy on its Playstation 3 gaming console is smart marketing. But today's Journal article proves that this isn't just good marketing; it's good business.

AAPL 1-yr chart:

AAPL 1-yr