HTC: Time for a change

HTC has launched its biggest ever global ad campaign, which will feature a new ‘Here’s to Change’ strap line and the face of Robert Downey Jr, star of Iron Man.

Downey Jr, who was named last month by Forbes as Hollywood’s highest-paid actor, has signed a two-year contract with HTC, rumoured to be worth $12m, in a bid to help revitalise the brand.


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This is the first time HTC has used a celebrity in its advertising, but it is thought the A-lister will help promote the hugely speculated ‘phablet’ HTC One Max, which has been leaked in several online pictures over the last few weeks.

The company follows in the footsteps of many of its rivals which have been using celebrities for some time to help draw attention to their products. Earlier this year BlackBerry welcomed singer Alicia Keys to the stage during the unveiling of the BlackBerry Z10, while Dave Ghrol, lead singer of Foo Fighters, made a guest appearance at the iPhone 5 launch in 2012.

Out with the old…

Stepping away from its former ‘Quietly Brilliant’ slogan, HTC’s new strap line has been designed to highlight the Taiwanese manufacturer’s technical ability to create handsets that stand out from the market.

Last year the firm’s marketing budget stood at $1bn, a figure which it plans to equal this year. However, while this may seem like a lot it’s a figure that’s significantly smaller than the budgets set aside by the likes of Samsung, which is rumoured to have splashed out around $10bn on promoting its products during 2012.

Ben Ho, chief marketing officer at HTC, said: “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 more innovative technologies.”

The campaign is expected to run until the autumn, after which new products will be integrated into the creative. Ho added: “Our original and playful Change platform is different from anything else out there and aligns our brand with the same qualities our phones are already known for.”

Standing out from the crowd

This year the company has already witnessed huge success with the HTC One. Talking about the 2013 flagship Ho said: “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 HTC One.”

That said, during the second quarter of the year HTC saw its profits plunge to its lowest levels in eight years, so achieving mass market success is going to be vital for the brand’s long-term future as a leading smartphone manufacturer.

The humorous campaign has been implemented to help turn the company’s fortunes around and is like nothing ever seen from the phone maker. The new adverts will play on the brand name and create several acronyms from HTC including “hipster troll carwash” or “hold this cat”. The first advert is scheduled for release on 15 August before expanding across TV, cinema, print and outdoor.

While the adverts feature glimpses of the HTC One, it’s the first time that that manufacturer has launched a major brand strategy rather than focussing solely on a single product.

Changing for the better

HTC will be measuring the success of its new advertising platform against metrics such as brand preference, brand awareness and social activity. It is also thought to be spreading its new strategy internally to govern its workforce’s approach to developing new technologies.

According to analytics firm comScore, HTC currently holds 12.1% share of the market thanks to the sales of its pay as you go and pay monthly phones, but if its new campaign pays off its profits should receive a much-needed boost before the end of the year.

Fiona Naughton, HTC’s global market development director, said the new ‘Change’ campaign celebrates and highlights HTC’s impact on the mobile industry over its 17 year history, while hopefully reinforcing its position as a leading innovator of smartphone technology.


Written by Sarah Hazelwood of Phones 4u, the Best High Street Retailer of 2013 and home of #projectupgrade.

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