OnePlus is a startup that recently launched an exclusive smartphone called “the One.” The phone is only available for purchase by invitation, which supposedly adds to its desirability.
What started off as a quirky promotional opportunity quickly went sour when OnePlus decided to launch its Ladies First campaign. This allowed women to avoid the invitation line and win a free t-shirt if they posted an image of themselves on the OnePlus forums with the company’s logo somewhere on their bodies. Viewers could vote on their favorites, and then the top 50 women would get an invitation to buy the phone.
The company said they were trying to honor the lovely ladies in the OnePlus community, but their contest quickly became the topic of a sexism debate. By putting women’s images up for vote, the company effectively implied that only pretty people were good enough for their phones.
While this may not have been OnePlus’s actual intention, that is how consumers interpreted it. The contest had to be quickly shut down after hours of backlash and photoshopped pictures burst onto the scene.
The company will now have to work to clean up its reputation.