There have been instances in the past when brands have tried to talk to women like they were idiots. A recent advertisement for a telecom company a few days ago sparked off a snowballing debate on established gender roles. But a tech company's contest to give women a leg up to buy one of their smartphones that normally requires an invite from someone who already owns one, is a study in everything you should not do to piss off women consumers.
Reading the text that OnePlus, who are marketing their new smartphone called The One, put up on their contest page made me look at a calendar to check if I was still living in 2014 and not in some outback in the late 18th century warming my provider's slippers for when he gets home from hunting dinner.
Not only is the ad extremely condescending but is something you would believe the marketing team of any decent company would warm it about before they made it public. The contest basically asks "in true gentlemen fashion and because chivalry is not dead" women whom they insist on addressing as 'ladies' throughout to post pictures of themselves in the comment thread and the '50 most liked ladies will win. No nudity please.'
Assuming, of course, that delirious women everywhere are being forcefully restrained from uploading their naked pictures to the company's site to win a phone they cannot get any other way. Must. Have. Phone.
The company was forced to take the contest page down after protests from women who objected to its tone. Shocking. Because what woman won't throw herself at a company that talks down at them in that silly, supercilious tone?
The comments on the thread were priceless and everything the company deserved.
When will companies realize that women are critical, knowledgeable and valuable consumers of everyday technology and to sell to them you have to make as much
an effort as would to do to a man.
Here's the text verbatim:
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.
Ladies (and only ladies, sorry guys, ladies first), the rules are simple:
1. Draw the OnePlus logo on a piece of paper or on your hand/face/wherever (so we know it's really you)
2. Take a photo of yourself with the OnePlus logo clearly visible
3. Post the photo in this thread
The 50 most well-liked ladies will receive an invite and a Never Settle t-shirt. Additionally, we will be giving out another 100 invites at random to any lady who participates in the contest. The contest begins today and ends on Friday. We will announce the winners on Monday.
Ladies, no nudity please.
If we receive 500 entries, we will give 1 OnePlus One Sandstone Black 64GB edition to whoever (from 1 of 16 launch countries) takes our favorite photo.