HTC's new ad campaign takes flight with 'Iron Man' star

The new spots will tap into the presence and creative input of Robert Downey Jr. and reportedly cost $1 billion.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
HTC's new spot with Robert Downey Jr.
HTC's new spot with Robert Downey Jr. HTC

HTC is counting on the lure of one of today's hottest actors to rev up consumer interest in its brand.

The mobile phone maker revealed Monday that it has signed a two-year deal with Robert Downey Jr. to be part of an ad campaign that is its most ambitious to date, according to HTC. Downey, who stars in the ads, also is working with HTC's ad agency to shape the direction of the campaign.

HTC is spending a healthy chunk of cash on the new promotion.

"As a publicly traded company in Taiwan, we cannot disclose exact investment figures, but last year we spent around $1 billion on sales and marketing," an HTC spokesperson told CNET. "We will invest roughly the same on marketing initiatives during the life cycle of this campaign."

Rolling out in three phases, the new campaign will tout HTC's role as a "change maker" and offer a playful look at what the HTC brand means to different people, the company said.

The first phase of ads will attempt to convince consumers that HTC inspires innovation by standing for "anything you want it to." Playing with that theme, the ads will kick off on August 15 and feature Downey firing up phrases that match HTC, such as Humongous Tinfoil Catamaran and Hipster Troll Carwash.

The second phase will tout various HTC phone features, such as BlinkFeed, Video Highlights, and BoomSound. The final phase will promote the ways that HTC products "empower individuals to drive change in their own lives," the company added.

"HTC's innovation, authenticity, and boldness have made us the change-makers in the mobile industry and led us to launch what influencers regard as the best phone in the world, the HTC One," HTC Chief Marketing Officer Ben Ho said in a statement. "Our original and playful Change platform is different to anything else out there and aligns our brand with the same qualities our phones are already known for."

The campaign does sound ambitious. HTC is clearly trying to promote its brand rather than its specific products, at least in the first series of spots. And Downey is sure to bring a quirky, creative touch to the ads.

HTC certainly needs a marketing boost right now. The company has gotten stellar reviews for its HTC One smartphone. Yet, rival Samsung still outshines HTC in both market share and consumer buzz.