Apple's 2008 ad budget: Nearly a half billion dollars

NOTE: GrowthBeat is less than 2 weeks out! VentureBeat is gathering the best and brightest in modern digital marketing to help declutter the landscape, simplify the functions, clarify the goals, and point the way to success. Get the full scoop here, and buy your tickets while they last.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about how much money Microsoft is spending (and some would say wasting) on its new advertising campaigns to promote its brand. Of course you’ve seen them: The Bill Gates/Seinfeld ads and the newer “I’m a PC” ads. But there hasn’t been much focus on how much Microsoft rival Apple is spending on its advertising. You might think it’d be hard to get a figure out of the ever-secretive company, but BNET’s Technology Industry Blog was able to dig the figure up from Apple’s 10-K filing.

Apple had an advertising budget of $486 million in 2008. That’s up only slightly from its $467 million budget last year, but significantly ahead of its 2006 ad budget of $338 million. Why has it risen so much in the past two years? Hard to know for sure, though I’d guess it’s because of a certain device that launched in mid-2007: The iPhone.

While Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” ads are the ones that get a lot of hype because they’re humorous, its iPhone ads are arguably more effective and important. After all, they show the device in action, and for a lot of people, seeing is believing. That’s why getting air time on these ads is such a big deal for individual app makers like Loopt, Urbanspoon and Shazam — all of which saw their app downloads surge after being featured in commercials by Apple.

Microsoft’s latest campaign is said to be in the $300 million range, but that is just its contract with the ad firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky for these newest ads. Microsoft also presumably has a lot of advertising budget outside of that marketing effort, and also apparently has brought on Crispin Porter + Bogusky for its Zune ads now as well, according to AdAge.


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.