HTC Goes Hollywood; Ropes in Robert Downey Jr for Global Marketing of Smartphone

June 22, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

What’s an actor doing at a phone maker’s publicity office? Well, celebrity endorsements are not new and the question doesn’t demand an elaborate answer, for sure. The phone maker’s new deal with  actor Robert Downey Jr  will extend to a full two years, and is aimed at taking global marketing of its devices forward.

The deal is said to be worth about $12 million, and will help promote its smartphone brand in a big way.

But then, if you thought Downey Jr will feature in the publicity efforts as the characters he plays in films, including popular Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, you are probably wrong.

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Instead, he will just be himself and will not have the authority to have the last word over the creative elements . Downey Jr is likely to be featured in television, print and billboard ads for the company’s flagship device, the slim, metal encased HTC One handsets .

You would probably understand the desperate kick start by HTC by roping in a hot star. The smartphone vendor, if you would remember, was once the top seller in the US, but has now plunged to ninth place in global smartphone shipments.

Sales have plummeted 68 percent and its global market share is off a whopping 76 percent from its peak in the third quarter of 2011. Facing stiffing competition from global leader Samsung and others like Huawei Technologies and ZTE, HTC has no other way but to work out top class marketing ideas to remain relevant. The roping in of one of Hollywood’s top stars for its ad campaigns explains its desperation.

However, Sally Julien, a spokeswoman for HTC, has been quoted as saying that the company has nothing to announce on a new marketing campaign and that the all-metal design of its device has received positive feedback from media and consumers alike.  Wonder what magic would Robert Downey Jr work for the brand now! Watch this space.

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