Sexist OnePlus One Contest Backfires Badly

Sexist OnePlus One Contest Backfires Badly

In a move that seems more stupid than intentionally sexist, OnePlus created a contest offering women the chance to buy one of their phones - for putting up selfies that would gather the most upvotes. Reading the language of the post, it feels more patronising than anything else, but that doesn't really let the company off the hook for having come up with a contest that boiled down to people leering at women's pictures.

The flagship killer OnePlus One has been in demand around the world but they've managed to avoid the flash sale frenzy that surrounds Xiaomi's launches through a system of invites where you could register your interest, and then receive an invitation to buy the phone. It's a pretty good system, but if you spend some time on Twitter, you'll see that even this system has some people pretty frustrated.

So, when OnePlus decided to launch a contest to "help" women skip the line, it quickly garnered attention. The language of the post is however, unfortunate. The contest has been taken down, but you can still see the page here.

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.

The wording above is patronising, but the contest adds that "the 50 most well-liked ladies will receive an invite" to buy the phone - liked by other forum members, of course. Add to this a line stating: "Ladies, no nudity please." and you can see how things are shaping up.

Asking customers to send in pictures with your product is a standard marketing practice, but when you make it women only, and instead of making it random, give the invites to pictures which garner the most upvotes, you've managed to turn your phone's marketing into a regressive beauty contest - congratulations.

OnePlus quickly pulled the contest, describing it as a misguided effort of a few employees. Whether that is true or not, it's heartening to see the company respond so quickly to negative reactions, and apologise frankly, instead of trying to defend it or dismiss it as just some fun.

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