HTC signs Iron Man star Downey to boost sales

Taiwanese smartphone maker enlists actor Robert Downey Jnr for US$1b ad campaign

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 August, 2013, 3:51pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 August, 2013, 4:44am

Beset by flagging sales, Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC aims to ramp up its marketing efforts through an international rebranding campaign led by Robert Downey Jnr - the world's highest-paid actor.

The US$1 billion campaign, which is heavily weighted to cinema, online and digital media, will initially launch on the mainland, in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, Britain, Germany and Australia this Thursday.

HTC chief marketing officer Benjamin Ho told the South China Morning Post that the company's "Here's To Change" campaign was a long-term initiative that would evolve over time.

"HTC's innovation, authenticity and boldness have made us the change-makers in the mobile industry," Ho said. But he said the firm's efforts in developing the best Android smartphones lacked strong marketing support.

Ho said Downey worked closely with HTC's global agency 171 Worldwide, part of London-based advertising and public relations giant WPP, to shape the creative direction of the campaign. The actor's two-year contract with HTC was not disclosed.

Downey, the star of blockbuster film franchises Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, has topped Forbes' latest list of Hollywood's highest-paid actors, with an estimated US$75 million in earnings for the 12 months to June.

HTC's launch of a new brand campaign followed its poor second-quarter earnings results. The company last month reported an 83 per cent year-on-year fall in net profit to NT$1.25 billion (HK$323.6 million), despite the release of its much-lauded flagship smartphone the HTC One.

In a research note last month, Barclays said: "We believe HTC needs to take radical action with respect to its business strategy."