NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- HTC, the maker of smartphones such as T-Mobile's Google-branded G1, has hired Deutsch, Los Angeles, to help market its own branded handsets.
The West Coast office of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch will handle creative and media duties for the fast-growing marketer. The shop won the account after a final round of pitching against Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Omnicom Group's Tribal DDB and independent David & Goliath, executives said.
Said Fallon CEO Chris Foster: "HTC will be an important brand in the very near future. It was an honor to be considered." Other agencies either declined to comment or couldn't be immediately reached.
"Deutsch really captured the essence of the HTC brand. Their demonstrated success and expertise in the wireless category and retail is the perfect fit for us," said Steve Seto, executive director of marketing for HTC North America.
HTC is based in Taiwan and in the U.S. operates out of Bellevue, Wash. The company has been around for more than a decade but has, until recent years, been a behind-the-scenes player helping to develop and design smartphones for other brands.
More Android phones on the way
This month, T-Mobile launched myTouch, HTC's second phone in the U.S powered by the open-source and Google-supported Android platform. Though Apple and Blackberry command an outsized share of the U.S. smartphone market, industry watchers say about half a dozen Android phones will hit stateside this year.
HTC has also partnered with Microsoft on Windows Mobile-based handsets such as the Touch Diamond2, a touch-sensitive device designed to rival the iPhone.
In addition to T-Mobile, HTC works with a range of carriers, including AT&T, Qwest, Sprint, Verizon, Alltel Wireless and U.S. Cellular.
While HTC hasn't had a consumer advertising agency in the U.S., it does work with Waggener Edstrom, the PR shop that also counts Microsoft as a client. HTC's decision to engage an ad agency comes after the company launched its own consumer brand about 18 months ago, and it is quickly ramping up the release of HTC-branded products around the world.
In the past couple of years, the marketer has spent only $2 million or so in domestic measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence, but executives close to the pitch note that HTC is planning to spend some $50 million on advertising in the fourth quarter alone, with a major brand push likely late this year or early 2010.
The win is a boost for Deutsch, which was hard-hit by troubles with its General Motors account and parted ways with T.G.I. Friday's earlier this year. Deutsch has some experience in the handset sector, via its work for wireless startup Helio.
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Contributing: Rita Chang