htc robert downey jr

Back in 2013, HTC gave Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. a boatload of money to become its image, as part of a billion-dollar promotional campaign dubbed Change.

Two years later, not a lot of things have changed (especially if you take that literally and look at the M9), but HTC is still struggling to effectively market its products. And the latest “shorts films” made by Downey for the new M9 probably won’t change that.

To be fair, these are not actual commercials. They are a “series of shorts representing the creative collaboration between Robert Downey Jr., Russell Scott of Jetset Studios, and HTC. Using color as a unifying metaphor, the shorts channel many artistic influences into a narrative that finds Downey and his scene‐partner, Brian Schaeffer, navigating a genre‐bending series of adventures.”

There’s RDJ swinging a baseball bat at a chicken. There’s Brian Schaeffer as a merman assaulting RDJ with a fake moon. And there’s a bunch of other weird and wonderful situations. The M9 itself only appears at the end of each clip along the “One Life. Make It Count.” slogan.

Check out the 10-video playlist.

While the artistic value of these shorts may be way above my head, I can’t help thinking that HTC gave RDJ a little too much leeway. Sure, these clips will bring HTC some attention, but HTC is a relatively well-known brand anyway. Perhaps some good old conventional marketing focused on the M9 would have been better for the company at this point?

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