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HTC kicks off $1 billion “Change" campaign, Robert Downey Jr. takes center stage

HTC just confirmed the marketing deal with actor Robert Downey Jr., who will be the frontman of a two-year long ad campaign worth a billion.
August 12, 2013
htc change hold this cat

Is this the “big thing ahead” that HTChas been teasing lately? We don’t know for sure, but the “Change” campaign that HTCjust kicked off is certainly going to be massive.

HTC officially confirmed today that Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. would be the frontman of a sprawling marketing campaign focused on the idea of change. In June, we reported that Downey inked a $12 million deal with HTC that would see the actor starring in various ads as well as providing “creative input” for the marketing campaign.

As its name suggests, the campaign will focus on the idea of transformation, with HTC’s devices promoted as powerful devices that can adapt to every user’s needs. To reflect this quality, the first spots in the “Change” campaign will be based on humorous combinations of words that start with the letters H, T, and C, such as “Hipster Troll Carwash” or “Hold This Cat”.

Here’s the first spot in the campaign, based on “Humongous Tinfoil Catamaran”.

HTC told Engadget that the campaign will stretch over 24 to 36 months and that its total value will reach $1 billion, which is more than HTC’s entire 2012 budget for marketing and sales. While the first spots won’t feature HTC’s phones prominently, future ads in the series will be centered on the unique software and hardware features of HTCdevices.

Many market watchers have commented that HTCneeds to double down on marketing if it wants to retain any hope against Samsung and Apple, and the “Change” campaign looks like a step in the right direction. Robert Downey Jr. is arguably one of the most beloved actors of our times and his star power should, in theory, boost the popularity of HTC’s devices.

With that said, $1 billion is a pretty serious gamble, especially at a time when HTC’s bottom line is suffering.



Robert Downey Jr. ushers in record investment and Change brand positioning

Taipei, Taiwan – 12 August 2013 – HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today unveiled its most ambitious campaign to date. A long-term integrated strategy that celebrates HTC’s 17 years of disruption and innovation in the mobile industry, the Change brand platform will embody the message that HTCinspires innovation by standing for “anything you want it to”. Featuring a broad range of digital, social, PR and above the line activity, the global Change platform will kick off with a series of ad creative fronted by Robert Downey Jr. which hits a broad spectrum of media outlets on August 15th.

With Robert Downey Jr. as the instigator of change, the creative ads exploreimaginative HTCword associations to invoke interest and talkability amongst consumers. The narrative follows the well- known actor and director as he kicks-off the realm of change made possible by HTC. Designed to demonstrate HTC’s role as a change maker the ad creative will feature a range of possible HTCacronyms including Humongous Tinfoil Catamaran and Hipster Troll Carwash. This will be supported by a series of social engagement and experiential activities that will bring the campaign to life.

Ben Ho, CMO of HTCcomments, “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 HTCOne. 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. With this campaign, we are affirming what HTC’s role is in the mobile market which is to define change and to lead the industry in developing the newest and most innovative technologies.”

Shot on location in Miami and directed by Hungry Man’s Bryan Buckley, and featuring music composed by Beacon Street Studios in Los Angeles the first on-air ad creative will be supported by HTC’s biggest multi-channel social media, TV, print, outdoor and in-store campaign to date, and will be followed by KSP feature-led activity focused on the innovations of the award-winning HTCOne smartphone family.

The face behind the Change

Recognised as one of the most popular faces on the big screen, Robert Downey Jr. has signed a two- year deal with HTC. In addition to starring in the ad, he has injected his own style, working closely with HTC’s global agency 171 Worldwide (WPP Group) to shape its creative direction, putting change at the core of HTC’s brand by offering a variety of unique interpretations of the HTCacronym.

Celebrating the change-makers

The brand platform will roll out in three phases with the initial advertising campaign highlighting HTC’s brand with a playful take on what it means to different people. The second phase will feature executions which highlight how HTCinnovations-like BlinkFeed TM, Video Highlights TM and BoomSound TM-have changed the face of the mobile industry. The following ad spots will then focus on how HTCproducts empower individuals to drive change in their own lives.

Changing the media mix

Aligning with the preferences of HTC’s target audience, the ATL campaign will be heavily weighted to cinema, online and digital media. Experiential events in key markets, like the UK, US and Taiwan, will also bring the brand message to life for consumers, who will be able to experience the various creative interpretations of HTCfor themselves. Extending the interpretation to consumers, a word randomiser app hosted on and promoted via a range of social channels including Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, has also been developed to allow people to identify the most outlandish possible interpretations of HTC, building on the variety of permutations first introduced in the ATL campaign.

The Change ad creative was developed by HTC’s global agency 171 WorldWide ‘with the media’ campaign managed by Omnicom Group’s M2M Media and on-going PR activity provided by Nelson Bostock Group in EMEA and Waggener Edstrom in North America.