Robert Downey Jr. Stars in HTC Global Ad Campaign (Video)
Taiwanese technology company HTC is bringing in Hollywood’s highest paid actor in an effort to turn around its slipping share of the smartphone market. After unconfirmed reports in June and a video tease late last week, the company has confirmed that Robert Downey Jr. will be headlining its new global ad campaign, "Here's to Change."
According to sources close to the deal cited by Bloomberg, Downey is getting paid approximately $12 million to be the face of HTC for two years. The actor was also given final say over the spots’ creative elements.
The first HTC “Change” TV commercial will air in worldwide markets, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Russia, China and Australia on Thursday.
HTC released two teasers for the ad last week, showing a suited figure with Downey’s jaunty profile swooping in to HTC headquarters by helicopter and high-fiving an executive waiting on the rooftop. The latest teaser picks up where the first two left off, revealing Downey entering a boardroom full of bickering HTC senior staff, who are told to “Focus up -- subversive thinking has arrived.” Downey then pulls out a file from a locked briefcase and says, “Humongous tinfoil catamaran” -- an apparent riff on the HTC acronym. Later spots will reportedly continue the theme, with Downey speculating what the brand stands for: "Hipster Troll Carwash," "Hold This Cat," and other oddball "creative concepts."
After scoring North America’s second-biggest box office opening ever with $174.3 million, Downey’s Iron Man 3 was the highest grossing Hollywood film in China in the first half of 2013, pulling $160 million. It also set box office records in several markets in Asia and Europe.
HTC is hoping that proven star power can help reverse the brand’s recent fortunes. In the first quarter of 2013, HTC’s revenue fell 22 percent over the same time last year, and profits were down from $247 million to $41.7 million. The company has warned that it might see a loss in the third quarter, as its market share continues to slip while Samsung and Apple remain on top and Chinese brands such as Huawei, ZTE and Xiaomi are on the rise.
The crowded and competitive Asian smartphone sector is creating new opportunities for top Hollywood stars to cash in on lucrative endorsement deals. The HTC Downey campaign follows a similar move by Taiwanese technology company Acer, which hired Megan Fox for a series of ads last year, in a similar bid to close the gap between rival electronics powerhouse South Korea and its flagship Samsung.
Downey -- already the world’s highest paid actor according to Forbes, with estimated earnings this past year of $75 million -- signed on in June to reprise his role as Tony Stark in Disney’s forthcoming Avengers 2 and 3. Apart from advertisements, he’ll next be seen in Jon Favreau's Chef and director David Dobkin's drama The Judge -- both due out in 2014.
Watch the HTC teaser ads below: