The first fruits of Robert Downey Jr’s two-year spokesman deal with HTC are rolling out to YouTube.
In the clip, veteran actor Jon Polito calls a boardroom full of suits “pumpkins” and tells them to focus because “subversive thinking has arrived.” Downey Jr apparently embodies that subversive thinking. Entering the room with a briefcase handcuffed to him, he puts a closed envelope against his head, as in the classic Johnny Carson bit, and blurts out “Humongous Tinfoil Catamaran!” Pictures have surfaced of Downey Jr filming in Miami on a yacht covered in tinfoil so it’s clear where the full clip will take this.
It’s a play on HTC’s acronym that signifies a change in thinking for the company. The spot ends with the new tagline “Here’s To Change.” HTC doesn’t anymore get much use out of its original name, “High Tech Computer.”
The first full clips will begin showing up on YouTube August 15 and in movie theaters and on TV shortly thereafter. The second phase of ads will focus on HTC’s hardware and software advances like BlinkFeed and BoomSound while the third phase will center on use-cases for the company’s portfolio.
The ads have a pleasant washed-out Instagram filter look to them and Downey Jr has cache plus commercial experience—he’s the TV voice of Mr. Peanut. But it’s going to take a lot of clever ads and charisma to right HTC’s ship.
Last month, the Taiwanese phone maker reported an 83 percent drop in second quarter profit, the latest in a long line of disappointments ranging from fleeing execs to lackluster sales. But the company’s hero phone, the HTC One, has earned glowing praise and its beginning to show up in a variety of flavors, like the smaller Mini and the reported larger Max, that could court more consumers.