And today’s new agency from WPP is 171 Worldwide for HTC – with Robert Downey Jnr

WPP is becoming more like a department store than a holding company: what sort of agency would you like Mr Client? A big one that produces average stuff everywhere (Team Detroit for Ford) or something a bit more fashionable? One like 171 Worldwide, for HTC?

171 Worldwide is indeed WPP’s newest bespoke agency, customised for new HTC CMO Ben Ho and his allegedly $1bn marketing budget. What’s more it comes with Robert Downey Jnr (which presumably accounts for a fair bit of the fee).

Quite where ‘171’ comes from is a mystery but the ad campaign’s new strapline ‘Here’s To Change’ is rather easier to source. Taiwan-based HTC is in danger of joining those other casualties of the mobile revolution like BlackBerry (which signed up Rihanna on a similar deal, to absolutely no effect) and Nokia so this looks like a gambler’s last throw.

The company has entirely failed to convert itself from a highly-regarded handset supplier to other brands into a successful consumer brand, flitting among a number of agencies including Mother in the UK and McCann, for about three weeks.

Can Downey, who seems to be creative director as well as performer, work his magic? Here’s a taster/trailer.

Hmm. Wacky guy in boardroom is hardly original but there’s only 16 seconds of it. We shall see.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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