HTC’s recent lows have been the subject of much talk lately. Despite making some of the most technologically advanced mobile phones on the market, the company’s value fell by 21% in Q2, with its stock price plummeting more than 88%. Several executives have walked away from the company, mostly due to company-wide distrust of HTC CEO Peter Chou, who has been described as ‘autocratic’ and ‘out of touch with the industry’.
Ben Ho, the company’s CMO, has claimed that HTC are quietly rebuilding their brand. This became apparent when Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr signed a 2-year deal worth $1 billion to feature in HTC’s latest ad campaign. The campaign started off with a series of teaser ads featuring Downey Jr playing an offbeat ad executive dissecting HTC’s initials to come up with several different slogans (“Hipster Troll Carwash”, “Hold This Cat” and “Humungous Tinfoil Catamaran” being some of the memorable few), in order to highlight what seems to be the company’s latest mantra: “Here’s to Change”, which seems to have ousted the former “Quietly Brilliant”.
Here’s to change, indeed. Whereas once HTC were known as the nameless (quietly brilliant, if you’re keeping track) company that built cellphones for other brands, this latest campaign completely eliminates any remainder of that image. Critics have accused HTC of not sticking to its guns and merely trying to go viral by bringing in a big name like Downey Jr to front the brand’s rebuilding, whereas others have praised the company’s efforts to try and yank itself out of its troubles. Whether HTC should focus on this costly marketing enterprise, or just go back to making the critically lauded phones they are so well known for, time will tell. At this stage the company is still warning its investors to expect slumps. Hopefully the end of Q3 and beginning of Q4 will mark a resurgence for HTC – and its new branding.