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Robert Downey Jr. Returns in New HTC One (M8) Promo, Clearly Just Here to Fulfill His Contract

Last year, HTC decided that it wasn’t failing because of lackluster products, it was failing because no one knew who HTC was as a company. To try and fix that, they signed Robert Downey Jr. to a multi-million dollar 2-year deal, so that he could star in a $1 billion campaign called “Here’s to change.” The campaign focused on the letters “HTC” and what that stands for. You probably remember the commercial that featured a Hipster Troll Carwash and showed RDJ being told to Hold This Cat. Clever, right? Not so much.

Most would argue that the marketing campaign was a disaster that did little to create brand recognition for HTC or push their products. In fact, we haven’t seen Downey Jr. in an ad for the company in some seven months. Well, until today. 

HTC uploaded a quick promo clip to its YouTube channel last night, starring the Iron Man lead. It’s not a commercial. It’s almost like HTC said to him, “We paid you all this cash, and we know that we failed, but you still owe us at least something for this year.” And this video was then born.

The clip features RDJ on what appears to be a movie set, followed by a quick dialogue on how he has an HTC One (M8) “pre-release sample” and won’t be sharing. He then urges you to go get one in his “serious” old English accent. It’s obvious that he means business and has been using the device regularly, you know, since he didn’t even bother to take off the IMEI and serial sticker from the back of the phone. Or HTC just handed him a brand new one out of the box for this quick clip before moving on.

I guess it’s better than saying “Blah, blah, blah, blah” for a minute straight, and then telling you to go “ask the internet.”

  • Matt

    No ad will do much for brand recognition if it never airs! Until “tuning in” to this post, I was completely unaware of the Robert Downey Jr./HTC partnership!

  • Tony

    i only saw few of RDJs commercials, however, this one is quite irrelevant. RDJ might have done well in promoting this product if he is sincere with what he says or if he really likes this kind of unit.

  • Justin F.

    Why do I feel like even if Droid Life said how much they enjoyed the video, every one else would still agree with them? The video obviously could have used some work, but would every one feel the same way if Droid Life didn’t come out and say, before you watched it, that it was bad?

  • Juvet Downs

    As I sit here watching this on my HTC one M8, I am highly convinced…..

  • Benito Wood

    But I leave my IMEI sticker on…

  • chris125

    Htc had to get their money’s worth somehow

  • BOB Dudek

    Good Lord(ship).LOVE my M7…..but..

    They have jumped the dam shark..for sure. WhoTF is green lighting this “most foul” rubbish.?

    ..I hate this bit..waiting…SALES free-fall..on HTC..around Mothers day or Memorialweeknd sales on the M8 will be quite”cheeky.”.. $ay the least.

  • BOB Dudek

    Good Lord(ship).

    They have jumped the dam shark..for sure. WhoTF is green lighting this “most foul” rubbish.?

    Really,perhaps…I hate this bit.. But..waiting…SALES free-fall..on HTC..around Mothers day or Memorialweeknd sales on the M8 will be quite cheeky..to $ay the least.

  • crazed_z06

    What. the. F?

    That was bizzare.

  • George Davis

    How is it possible that two actors I like and respect (Robert Downey Jr. and Gary Oldman) both manage to come across as pompous, silly and unlikable whenever they appear in an HTC commercial? It’s kind of uncanny in its consistency, but not a consistency you’d actually want in your marketing department. HTC needs to clean house and start over. Hire some people who know how to focus on the device and its features, instead of how badly they can damage an actor’s image.

    • creed

      Maybe because they’re pompous, silly, and unlikable?

      • George Davis

        Except they only come across that way in HTC commercials.

      • NexusMan

        Maybe because HTC sucks.

  • kingdom2120

    my neigbour recently purchased an almost new silver Mercedes CLA-Class CLA45 AMG by parttime working online from home… visit here ..>.


  • LionStone

    Dang, I guess we shouldn’t expect any early release phones from HTC, ever 🙁

  • MichaelFranz

    all i heard was blah blah blah blah….im iron man, blah blah blah

  • Dave S.

    He sure phoned that one in.

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      Badumm Tsss


    wow that was awful

  • Cael

    HTC is pretty much known for the Incredible, Evo, and Desire basically. They should have just called it the HTC Incredible One on Verizon, HTC Evo One on Sprint, they could have kept the HTC One name for ATT and T-Mobile because they got the first [reject] Ones.
    HTC One it everywhere else. Then blew out some mid range HTC Desire One’s. HTC Butterfly One. Everyone would have knew about the One.

    HTC did no weaning what-so-ever.

  • AndrewOBarnes

    Not sure why the sticker would mean anything. I got my M8 from Verizon the day of the announcement and it still has the sticker on it also… http://qr.net/stx3

  • MikeSaver

    Classic HTC

  • Luis Crespo

    I guess it’s just me, but I really like the Gary Oldman commercials.

  • flosserelli

    This probably won’t even be put on television. HTC execs are probably scratching their heads saying “WTF is this crap? Don’t even bother buying airtime for this. Just put it on the company Twitter feed and YouTube channel.”

  • BenG

    Was that RDJ or my drunk uncle at Thanksgiving?

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    YOU FAIL HTC…. Hey… PHONE….TV SCREEN….FEATURES. . . . . PHONE……..TV SCREEN…..FEATURES. All people need ot see on the TV is the Phone and features…. AKA APPLE….AKA Samsung… No one gives a damn about RDJ holding a phone yapping about nothing.

    How hard is it? They have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to Marketing… ZERO IDEA.

    • morpheus282

      Marketing? That’s just liquor and guessing.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio
    • Cael

      OMG you win!

  • hyperbeatser

    that was terrible

  • Guest

    And Robert Downey Jr. just made more doing that crap than I will my whole life.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      There’s still time. If that one guy can make $50k a day off flappy POS… There’s time.

      • El_Big_CHRIS

        I wish I could come up with an idiotic idea to make a boatload of $. All of the things I think for an app are useful and probably would never skyrocket like Flappy Bird or that malware app 🙁

  • JSo

    He was funny. But as the title says…”clearly just here to fulfill his contract.” I still like the Hipster Troll Carwash commercial though.

  • Intellectua1

    That didn’t seem serious or convincing. I’m waiting on part 2 where Ashton Kutcher runs out and tell us we just got punked

  • VV

    Instead of paying actors such as RDJ and Gary Oldman whatever their absurd fee is, HTC should have just saved that money to further push their marketing in other areas. Now they’re stuck paying those actors for meh commercials.

    • Cael

      Clearly, THIS is the instance where they should copy Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft. They need to take the competitors’ phones and show what the One can do and why it’s better.
      For instance:
      *People watching video on a Galaxy*
      – Oh we can’t hear the sound on your Galaxy but it’s ok I have my phone.
      – OMG What is that? It has dual speakers on the front?
      – Yeah it’s the all new HTC One with boomsound!
      Not hard at all.

      I wouldn’t market that camera though. Competition would trash them in the rebuttal commercials.

      • meatydojo06

        you friend, should be in marketing. Well done!

        • Cael

          Well HTC just gave me their marketing email address (they’d probably give it to anybody), lets see what happens!

      • Nicolas Pipitone

        How is it that some random person from Droid-Life just pitched a better commercial than HTC? He must be some marketing genius in disguise here in the comments section…. ooooor may it’s just cause HTC’s Marketing department really is “that” bad. I really love RDJ and used to love HTC but these commercials just make me feel bad for both of them even if he is walking away with a ton of money.

      • No thanks

        I can just see it now, instead of just blasting music in public areas out of 1 phone speaker, vagrants can blast it out of 2 speakers!

        • Cael

          Yeah that is why it is a gimmick.

      • meatydojo06

        You are gaining some traction here! We are consumers,if we thinks it’s brilliant…it may well be. Good luck!

  • d-rock

    I kept my IMEI sticker till I gave the M7 to my mother!

  • ImmaDroid

    They really know how to come up with the most awkward and not funny commercials ever! I feel weird after i watch them…

  • TopXKiller

    Funny RDJ video, terrible HTC commercial

  • johntb

    I dislike the Iron Man franchise more now. or I at least never liked him. #motoxlove

    • The Narrator

      Let me guess, you like Justin Bieber though.

      • johntb


  • Erik Cho

    Maybe it’s just me and I’m missing the point … which is entirely possible. But this kind of seemed almost like a plug for a future Sherlock Holmes movie with a blurb about HTC and the HTC One thrown in. Just my two cents.

  • Drome

    tragic. no commercial is literally better than this commercial. This just makes HTC seem even more out of touch and grasping.

  • John Davids

    I am very concerned for the future of this company and that makes me sad…competition breeds innovation, availability, and affordability.

    • Intellectua1

      Die HTC Diiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeee!!!

  • Kevin

    Not sure why the sticker would mean anything. I got my M8 from Verizon the day of the announcement and it still has the sticker on it also…

    I will agree the promo seemed a little forced and half-hearted, too bad cause RDJ is an awesome actor and person IMHO.

    • Just curious, why would you leave that sticker on there? All of that info is on the box and in your About screen in the phone.

      • Kevin

        I guess I just never really thought to take it off.

        Of course after all this I just took it off and boy does the M8 look even more sexy without it.

        • rawr

          Do you also have the anti finger print plastic on your electronics and the stickers on your hats?

          • Wishinitwas

            Or the “features” stickers on the bezel of your television *shudder

        • Good move. 😀

      • John Davids

        No offense to the OP or anything, but that has always been the marker I look for see how nerdy / geeky someone is. I have never met a true nerd that isn’t driven right up the goddamn wall when NIB stickers are left on electronics. Or that clear plastic film they put on high-gloss plastic. I am incapable of seeing that on any device and NOT immediately taking it off.

  • villian1998

    Does he do a “bump” off the phone?

    • Jonathan Williams

      He did a few lines off his M7 with the car washing trolls before this ad.

  • Logan Jinks

    That was weird. It’s like he just showed up, they hit record, and said “Go”. I doubt if a script was even written.

    “Ok Robert, here’s the new phone. Just remember to mention the bit about MWC.”

    • Pretty much.

    • The Narrator

      That’s what he does in all of his movies

    • Stone Cold

      Worst part is they released this as a commercial.

    • michael arazan

      I think he felt bad for taking their money, this looked like a Free-Be he threw at them, or he was contracted for 3 commercials and only did 2 and made this on the set of his current movie on the way to the bathroom