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Robert Downey Jr. Anchors $1 Billion, Acronym-Based HTC Campaign

What does HTC stand for? Whatever you want, according to RDJ in this new campaign from the phone manufacturer.

HTC: What does it stand for? That’s a question that, like KFC, MTV, AARP, and ESPN, no longer needs a real answer. Conventional wisdom has it that it once stood for the High Tech Computer Corporation, but these days, as with the former Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, the phone manufacturer’s name is but a decontextualized collection of letters: a -nym with no acro-.

Still, if you’re desperate to determine what HTC stands for, the brand’s new "Here’s To Change" campaign, anchored by Robert Downey Jr. (who, in the spirit of the campaign, we’ll henceforth refer to as RDJ), is for you. The official word from RDJ? "Humongous Tinfoil Catamaran," he declares to a room full of excited suits in the campaign’s introductory two-minute web video, in which he stars as a "subversive" business consultant. The anthem spot is part of a newly launched $1 billion campaign centered on the theme of "change."

Created by agency 171 Worldwide in collaboration with RDJ himself, according to a statement from HTC Chief Marketing Officer Ben Ho, the spot tours a variety of other options for the HTC initials, as well: Hipster Troll Carwash? Hot Tea Catapult? Happy Telephone Company? Hold This Cat?? All valid options.

The video itself, directed by Bryan Buckley, is a well-shot, cinematic ad that seems designed to roll as part of a pre-feature spot at movie theaters, a sense that’s only enhanced by RDJ as the Righteous Dudely Joker in the lead. But it’s a labored concept whose barrage of sight gags won’t likely make you forget that you still have no idea what HTC really stands for.

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