HTC launches a hearts and minds campaign with "Quietly Brilliant Story" video

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yai2u3nVlN4&hl=en_US&fs=1&hd=1]
The ongoing battle royale between HTC and Apple is likely to leave a few lumps on both sides before it gets called. One thing Apple has going for them, though, is the crowd. Who doesn’t like Apple? As for HTC, their (now overpowering) humbleness has had the predictable result in a world unfamiliar with their products. In order to help a little bit with their utter lack of brand, they seem to be launching a PR campaign to get their humble face out there.

This Quietly Brilliant Story video might have been just another corporate pep video, but the focus on early touch and handheld devices, and features later shared with the iPhone, shows this video for the attack ad it is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Now certainly isn’t the time to get into the delicate legal matters and dueling suits that will be providing post fodder for the next year or so; I’m really more of a “wait and see” type. But it’s clear what HTC’s position will be in public: “Look, we’ve been doing this stuff the whole time. If Apple wants to quibble about technicalities, that’s fine, but doesn’t that kind of seem to you like they’re trying to stifle innovation?”

The ad is well-done, though, and the take-away point is almost purely visual when they put their old touch-based handhelds on a timeline. People will immediately think, where’s the iPhone come in? And that one can’t really pick a moment when HTC’s phones started being iPhone-like is telling. By playing the victim (which they may in fact be), the underdog, the long-suffering, humble “we just want to make cool stuff” guys, they may actually undermine Apple’s popularity advantage somewhat.

Will anybody see it, though? I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing timelines or condensed versions of this ad popping up the way HTC’s “Quietly Brilliant” billboards and bus displays are. Ah well, if not, it was a nice trip down random access memory lane.