Corporate Video Pioneer-Turned Apple Exec Steps Down

In 2015, Sweetow wrote about the Burberry CEO who was recruited to lead Apple’s retail sales division. This week, she announced she is stepping down. Ahrendts’ videos with the iPhone 5 helped propel the smartphone video medium.

Excerpt from Chapter 16 of Corporate Video by Stuart Sweetow

Burberry, Instagram and Apple

When Apple developed a prototype of the iPhone 5, London fashion manufacturer, Burberry, forged a deal with Apple. Burberry, a 150 year old luxury-brand company, would film their fashion shows and music events using the iPhone, and Apple and Burberry would cross promote fashion and phones.

Burberry’s CEO—Angela Ahrendts took a chance by using iPhones to film fashion shows, rather than taking the safe, traditional approach with broadcast HD cameras and studio post-production. Burberry’s videos would sometimes be Instagram videos, shot portrait mode with no external mikes or post. Just a quick upload to their Instagram page, followed by uploads to YouTube and eventually to the company’s website. Broadcast cameras still recorded music events and other shows that Burberry hosted, and YouTube followers shared the videos.

The gamble paid off. Individual YouTube videos commonly exceeded 100,000+ views, with a women’s wear show highlights video at 700,000 views, and a commercial, with British models Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, earning five million views. Subscribers to the company’s YouTube channel totaled nearly 200,000—a rarefied level that most retailers could only dream of.

Apple’s Tim Cook, referred to Burberry’s CEO—Angela Ahrendts as “wicked smart.” After the Apple-Burberry promotion, Ahrendts got a promotion of sorts—herself. Tim Cook hired Ahrendts to be the senior vice president of retail and online sales for Apple.

Fast forward to today. Wicked-smart Angela Ahrendts announced her departure from Apple effective April, 2019. According to The Business Journals Article “During her tenure, Ahrendts revitalized Apple’s retail stores, stressing an experiential retail experience and pushing the company to open locations in luxury locations like the Champs-Élysées in Paris.”

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