OnePlus “Ladies First” competition looks like another marketing blunder (update 2)

August 12, 2014
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Update: Likely in response to all the negative media attention the “Ladies First” contest has received, OnePlus has now apparently pulled the entire contest’s forum page. It is currently unclear whether they are tweaking the contest and plan to repost it or if they have simply ended it completely.

Update (2): OPO has now officially responded with a post apologizing for the misunderstanding regarding the contest, and admitting it was in bad taste.

Women make up half the world, and we want to help them be more involved in tech. We understand that our contest was in bad taste, and have therefore pulled it. All participants will be contacted for prizes.

We apologize and we will course correct for the future. At the same time, we would love to hear your feedback on how we can better get women involved in tech.

When it comes to marketing on a shoestring budget, OnePlus has proven it knows how the game is played. A half year ago the company barely existed, and today the brand is extremely well-known in the tech world. Of course, not all the company’s marketing moves have been positively praised, with some of the biggest disasters arguably being the invite system and the “Smash the Past” contest. Now as OnePlus comes upon 200K registered forum users, they are holding a new contest that has once again raised a few eyebrows.

As we close in on the 200K mark for the number of registered forum users, OnePlus wants to give a shout out to the few but beautiful female fans in our community with our Ladies First contest. In true gentlemen fashion and because chivalry is not dead, we are giving the lovely ladies of OnePlus a chance to skip the invite line and introduce themselves to us.

Basically, women are asked to take a photo of themselves with the OnePlus logo clearly visible either on a piece of paper or drawn somewhere on their body. The “50 most well-liked ladies” will receive an invite for the OnePlus and a Never Settle t-shirt. OnePlus also plans to give out 100 invites at random to any lady that participated in the contest.

As you might have guessed, there haven been many folks that have spoken out against the contest, due to its potentially sexist nature. In fact, one OnePlus fan even posted an image of herself flipping off the camera with a OnePlus One logo and the words “don’t be sexist”. The fact that the contest announcement ends with the line “Ladies, no nudity please” probably doesn’t help the situation any.

On a personal note, I think that the OPO is a great handset, but it’s obvious that the marketing team needs some serious work and this contest took things way too far, going somewhere OnePlus simply shouldn’t have. What do you think, do you think the wording and premise behind the OnePlus “ladies only” contest was a bad move? Conversely, do you feel that folks are making this into a bigger deal than they should? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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