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OnePlus is paying for Robert Downey Jr. ads instead of waterproof certification

Fresh off breaking box office records with Avengers: Endgame, Robert Downey Jr. has returned to his hobby of endorsing smartphones, this time agreeing a deal with OnePlus. The Chinese company tells The Verge that it intends to use the famous actor’s visage across Asia, with its home country and India being the focal points. Downey Jr. has signaled his enthusiasm with a photo on his Weibo page, featuring a sky-blue McLaren, the OnePlus 7 Pro, and a suit-plus-sneakers combo.

OnePlus has always touted its commitment to getting its users and fans the highest possible specs at the lowest conceivable price. That’s why, the company claims, it’s not wasting money on getting its phones IP certification for water resistance. And yet, with every successive generation of OnePlus phones growing more expensive, and now recruiting one of Hollywood’s most expensive names to merely pose with its devices, OnePlus can no longer credibly maintain that facade of 100-percent commitment to giving consumers maximum value for their money.

Six years ago, HTC paid Robert Downey Jr. $12 million for a two-year global marketing campaign. Though OnePlus’ present agreement with the actor is limited to the Asia region, he’s now surely grown proportionally more expensive after leading a series of hugely successful Avengers movies (his face is also the largest on the Endgame theatrical poster). Marvel’s superhero franchise has been hugely popular in China, and getting its marquee star to endorse any local brand can be considered a major marketing coup. Then again, Downey Jr. did nothing to help HTC’s ailing fortunes, so OnePlus will have to make sure it maintains the high standard it has set with the OnePlus 7 Pro.

Photo: Robert Downey Jr. (Weibo)

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