AWSI: Hoping To Compete; HTC Tries to Stay Relevant

This post has been in various stages of writing since the Robert Downey Jr. ads showed up.

$12 Million Man to Save the Day...

$12 Million Man to Save the Day…

The focus seems to be on making the name HTC memorable — “It’s anything you want it to be,” we’re told.   So we’re given possibilities that include:

  • Humungous Tinfoil Catamaran
  • Hot Tea Catapult
  • Hold This Cat
  • Hipster Troll Carwash
  • Happy Telephone Company

Check out the visuals…

Humongous Tin Catamaran

Humongous Tin Catamaran

Hipster Troll Carwash

Hipster Troll Carwash

The "Punchline."

The “Punchline.”

Ugh!  Our feeling is Hate This Campaign!

For sure, HTC is skating uphill into a headwind when it comes to competing in a smartphone market dominated by Apple and Samsung.  LG has made some inroads.  BlackBerry and Microsoft (Nokia) are definitely bringing up the rear.

The HTC One has gotten really decent reviews.  TechCrunch said:

… the HTC One is easily the best device that the company has ever crafted, and it’s perhaps the single nicest Android phone I’ve ever used. Despite some minor faults, I haven’t so much as picked up any of the other Android smartphones scattered around my office during my time with the One unless I absolutely had to. It’s really that good.  And yet, after releasing a smartphone to near-universal acclaim, HTC’s future is still unclear…

So it seems like making the name HTC memorable isn’t the issue here.  It’s getting people to recognize the HTC One IS the one they should buy.


Granted, it just showed up at Verizon, and I suppose this is a way to get consumers to rush in asking where the HTC display is.  Like the headline says, Hope To Compete.

Aug 19 Ad in WSJ

Aug 19 Ad in the WSJ


HTC has numerous challenges.  For example, on August 19, the same day Dr. Dre’s Beats ad ( appeared in The Wall Street Journal, an article with the headline “Beats Electronics Looks to Scratch HTC,” appeared.  Bamm!! Certainly not a glowing endorsement for HTC.

The article noted:

  • Two years ago, Mr. Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre sold a 50.1% stake in Beats Electronics to HTC for around $300 million, to only a year later buy half of that back for around $150 million—a discount given Beats’ substantial growth in the intervening months.
  • HTC incorporated audio software from Beats into a line of phones, and other phones were bundled with Beats headphones. HTC last year also provided Beats with a one-year, $225 million loan that was secured by all of Beats’ assets, according to HTC’s annual report.
  • While HTC originally saw Beats as a way to court the youth market, the collaboration ended up souring with differences in opinion on strategy, said a person with knowledge of the partnership.

At the time of the article, it was stated that HTC’s shares have lost nearly 90% of their value since April 2011, when HTC was second only to Apple in U.S. smartphone sales.

In retrospect, it looks like Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp., was trying for some instant street cred when they first entered the Beats relationship.  And now they are hoping Iron Man Downey Jr. can save them.


Most people we’ve noticed are well into their service provider contracts with Apple and Samsung phones.  Getting them to switch to a supposedly “superior” phone created by a company that may be on the ropes (like Palm, like BlackBerry, like… you get the point) is going to be tough to accomplish.

So here’s a ponderable…

In June it was announced that HTC signed Robert Downey Jr. for a two-year, $12 million marketing campaign.
Are there better uses of $12 million?

Seems to us that by Hucking This Campaign, HTC may be able to Help Their Company.  Then again, the buyout could be huge.  In that case, let the Iron Man do more head-to-head marketing, with humor, like Samsung cleverly did vs. Apple.


The Emerald Nuts campaign was way better than this and appropriate for people making decisions in the snack aisle of a grocery store for a commodity product.

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  1. That’s sad to see HTC in such a struggle — their One is way superior to the Galaxy S4 or any other android smartphone these days. If for nothing else, for the design and its solid feeling.

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