Smartphone manufacturer OnePlus received backlash recently after what is being called a sexist campaign.
To those unfamiliar with Chinese based OnePlus, the company produces budget high-end Android based smartphones with prices ranging $300-$350, about 50% less than rivals Samsung, LG, and Apple. Currently only selling one model, the +1, the company’s approach to sales differs from its rivals as it is not available on any carrier, and can be purchased only with an invitation, to which can be used depending on availability. This takes sales strategies like Xiaomi’s flash sales to a new level, and has garnered a large fan base as well as a larger waiting line for the device.
As the company is very techy and geek oriented, the primary demographic consists of men rather than women. In an attempt to attract the female demographic to the brand, OnePlus devised a marketing technic pointed directly at women, a contest for invitations.
The content rules went as follows:
Draw the OnePlus logo on a piece of paper or on your hand/face/wherever (so we know it’s really you)
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Take a photo of yourself with the OnePlus logo clearly visible
Post the photo in this thread
The contest judges were to then pick 150 ladies to send out invites,based on the amount of likes and feedback.
Obviously an out roar on the gender specific content went viral moment after OnePlus made the content public. Thousands of photo shopped images and some images deemed borderline NSFW flooded the internet resulting in the contest being pulled.
2 main problems come to light in the event of the failed marketing attempt. The first being the fact a gender specific contest was approved. OnePlus simply cut out its main demographic to try and gain a new one, which ultimately backlashed. The second being the contest results relying on likes, making it more of a popularity contest, and a discriminating one at that.