HTC is preparing an extensive two-year marketing campaign featuring Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr, according to two sources who spoke to Bloomberg. The deal is said to be worth $12 million and will span television, print, and billboard advertising around the globe, with Downey maintaining a level of creative control.
HTC has struggled to keep the pace with rival Samsung's marketing muscle, despite positive reviews of products such as the flagship One smartphone, and was also recently hit with a series of high-profile departures. The company said last month it had sold around five million One phones since its March launch, compared to Samsung's 10 million shipments of the Galaxy S4 in its first month.
"We haven't been loud enough," said chief marketing officer Ben Ho in his first meeting with the press this March. Ho added that the company would be retiring its long-serving "Quietly Brilliant" tagline in favor of a campaign based around the themes of "bold," "authentic," and "playful."
Downey returns as Iron Man in 2015
An HTC spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company had nothing to announce today, but said of the One that it has garnered "overwhelmingly positive feedback from media and consumers alike. Anyone with a penchant for metal should be able to appreciate its appeal."
The rumored Downey campaign wouldn't be the first time HTC has experimented with celebrities; the One launch was marked by a risible commercial featuring James Van Der Beek of Dawson's Creek. Downey's star power is a little more assured, however — not only will he reportedly have final say over the material, Marvel announced today that he is set to return as Iron Man in the second and third Avengers movies. The first sequel is set for release on May 1st, 2015.