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Talk of the Day -- HTC's hope for change

Talk of the Day -- HTC's hope for change

The news that Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. has signed a contract with Hollywood star Robert Downey Jr. to be the face of its marketing campaigns made headlines in local newspapers Tuesday, with some comparing the ups and downs in Downey's career to the challenges HTC has faced. The following are excerpts from the local papers on HTC's multi-million dollar gambit: United Daily News: Ben Ho, HTC's chief marketing officer, confirmed Monday a report that first surfaced in June that the Hollywood A-lister will star in the company's TV commercials targeting major international markets including the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany and Australia. Ho would not disclose the price the company is paying, but press reports said the two sides have signed a two-year contract worth US$12 million (NT$360 million). HTC's budget for marketing in 2013 is around US$1 billion, about the same level as last year, but the strategy will focus on a smaller number of campaigns featuring major international celebrities, said Ho. The goal is to increase HTC's brand recognition by 30 percent to 40 percent. The 48-year-old star of the "Iron Man" movie series was HTC's first choice for a spokesman. "He was the first person that came to mind," said Ho. The star was arrested several times between 1996 and 2001 on drug charges and spent months in jail, partly to help treat his drug addiction. He made a comeback when he was asked to join the cast of popular TV series Ally McBeal in 2000. Downey's career hit rock bottom once but he was able to overcome the odds and climb back onto the peak on the strength of "Iron Man," said Ho. "Both Robert Downey Jr.'s desire to outperform himself and his career path share many similarities with HTC," he said. Apple Daily: It is good value for money to have Downey appear in HTC commercials but despite the contract, HTC's spending on marketing is dwarfed in the face of the resources allocated by Samsung and Apple, its main competitors. Compared with HTC's NT$1.38 billion, Samsung's 2012 budget for marketing in the United States amounted to NT$12 billion, while Apple spent about NT$10 billion. In addition to the effect of the new ad campaign, whether HTC can reverse its fortunes also hinges on new smartphones the company is due to launch before the end of the year. The company's new HTC One, which was launched early this year to good acclaim, fell off the list of the world's five top-selling smartphones due to delays in the supply chain. Its share price has tumbled to NT$158 from a peak of NT$1,300 per share in 2011. Liberty Times: Both electronic manufacturing service (EMS) companies and brand name manufacturers are facing tough challenges in the current global economic climate. The former need to find ways to cut costs in order to win new contracts while the latter have to add value to the products they make. With a less than sanguine outlook for the third quarter, HTC is in dire need of a breakthrough. Whether the signing of Downey will bring the change the company hopes for remains to be seen. (Aug. 13, 2013)


Updated : 2021-04-12 06:49 GMT+08:00