HTC was too quiet, for too long. At least that’s what the company’s Chief Marketing Officer Ben Ho told the press in March, when he revealed that HTC would retire the “Quietly Brilliant” tagline, in favor of a more “bold”, “authentic”, and “playful” image.
The embattled Taiwanese company has already begun to be louder and more aggressive, openly criticizing its much larger rival Samsung and highlighting the areas where the One trumps the Galaxy S4.
Now it looks that HTC is going to tap into the star power of the bold Mr. Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr.
Sources told Bloomberg that the actor has signed a two-year marketing deal with HTC that is worth a cool $12 million. The star from Iron Man, The Avengers, and Sherlock Holmes will be promoting HTC’s products in television, print, and billboard ads, said Bloomberg, although he will only do it as himself and not as Iron Man or other characters he impersonates. Downey will reportedly have a say on the creative aspects of the marketing campaign.
HTC refused to either acknowledge or deny the deal, though the reply from a company spokeswoman seems to allude to a deal with the Iron Man star:
The HTC One smartphone's all-metal design has drawn overwhelmingly positive feedback from media and consumers alike. Anyone with a penchant for metal should be able to appreciate its appeal.
Sally Julien, HTC
Many industry watchers have decried HTC’s weak and inconsistent marketing efforts, especially when opposed to Samsung’s deluge of ads and promotional campaigns. The Korean giant spent $400 million for ads in the United States last year, compared to a paltry $46 million in HTC’s case.
Samsung has been successfully betting on star power, with celebrities ranging from Seth Rogen to LeBron James appearing in its ads. The latest celeb deal involves rapper Jay Z, who will make his new album available in advance to Galaxy users.
HTC doesn’t have the financial might of its rival, but celebrity endorsements like the deal signed with Robert Downey Jr. could do wonders for its sales. The actor is set to star in the next Iron Man in 2015, as well as in The Avengers 2 and 3, in the coming years. Will he sport an HTC device in any of these flicks? We hope so, but that involves a deal between HTC and the studios, which, while possible, it’s only speculation for now.