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Help This Company: HTC and Robert Downey Jr. give us two minutes of awkward sight gags

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Apple has its dewy lifestyle ads, Samsung its combination of aggressive insults and sheer unfettered lunacy. And if a new ad starring Robert Downey Jr. is any indication, HTC has decided to just throw initialisms at the wall and see what sticks. The company released a short teaser of the campaign on Monday, and now we've got a full two minutes that will be shown on TV and in theaters as well as online. Eventually, HTC has said it's going to start showcasing the actual features of its phones, but for now, we're still firmly in non sequitur territory. Does HTC stand for Humongous Tinfoil Catamaran? Does it stand for Hold This Cat? Does it stand for a sinister cube full of kissing cheerleaders, rolling clowns, and jujitsu apes, all trapped in terrariums at the whim of a madman?

The upshot, we're told, is that HTC is a "Happy Telephone Company," which is perhaps unintentionally much funnier than any of the self-consciously random sight gags. Granted, HTC's name has always been a bit of a mystery to most people (most recently, it was "High Tech Computer"), but the real purpose is just to make sure you know that there is a company, and it is named HTC. Given that HTC has often underperformed even in the wake of highly praised hardware and software, the idea makes sense: it's supposed to be a way to pull itself out of Samsung's shadow and give its phones a chance to shine. After all, if you repeat the name enough times, people will start remembering it, right? Sadly, it's tough to get through all those repetitions without wincing.