Apple taps Musa Tariq as new social media chief

Musa Tariq, former social media chief for Nike and Burberry, has been confirmed as the man charged with upending Apple's efforts to muster a potently effective social media presence. 

Tariq will be Apple's new digital marketing director, according to 9to5mac. A new social media campaign may be in the works to coincide with the rumored upcoming launch of the iWatch, in fall 2014.

The hire means one thing: Apple (NASDAQ:APPL) is intent on amping up its Web presence beyond providing access to apps and dispatching a few semi-savvy executives to Twitter. Tariq has a lengthy repertoire of social media aptitude: He buffed Oregon-based Nike's (NYSE:NKE) product portfolio and athlete relationships through demonstrable social media skill after giving Burberry (LON:BRBY) a social media foothold in China and leading social media for the company's annual London Fashion Show events.

The confirmation of Tariq's position was ironically first leaked on Twitter, when he changed his professional title to "Digital Marketing Director, Apple." No press release or notice required.

Tariq's catalog of successful social media ventures runs the gamut—from his Tweetwalk campaign, in which he shared images of outfits slated to hit the runway in a London fashion show, to his "Acoustic" campaign on YouTube, which he used to showcase musicians singing acoustic versions of popular songs.

At Nike, Tariq launched a video campaign that depicted athletes wearing and testing new Nike shoe designs that remained obscured by pixelated blurs to preserve the mystery and entice viewers. Tariq's transition from Burberry to Nike attracted extensive media coverage, and Burberry was markedly reviewed as having suffered a loss in light of the move.

Former Burberry executive Angela Ahrendts now acts as senior VP of Apple retail, and as the launch of the new iWatch creeps closer into view, Apple execs may be clamoring for the kind of social media expertise offered by Tariq that seemed so effective in tantalizing his employers' audiences in the past.

The hire perpetuates a noted trend by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who continues to sweep up Nike employees as he renovates the Apple leadership team. But one question remains: Will Tariq market the iWatch as a luxury fashion statement or a fitness-oriented wearable? Perhaps both.

*This story originally appeared in FierceRetail's sister publication, FierceMobileRetail.

For more:
-See this 9to5mac story
-See Musa Tariq's Twitter page

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