OnePlus wants you to get on their hype train, makes no apologies about marketing tactics


OnePlus Two teaser

Love it or hate, there’s probably only reason you’ve even heard of OnePlus and much of that has to do with their grass roots marketing. When the smartphone startup and brainchild of former OPPO exec Carl Pei joined Google+, they used it as a way to generate buzz amongst Android’s most die hard users without pouring countless ad dollars into online or television marketing campaigns like the big guys. So far, it’s worked. Except when it hasn’t.

The company’s motto of “Never settle” had a way of backfiring on them at times, especially when it came to faulty devices, customer service issues, or the company’s insanely frustrating invite system. Despite all this, the OnePlus is set to do it all over again with their next flagship device, the OnePlus 2.

OnePlus has been teasing the phone for the better part of a few weeks now and if you thought maybe they’d tone down their “marketing” or do things differently this time around — think again. Lately they’ve been trickling out details on the device’s specs as they near its inevitable launch and tomorrow, they’ll unveil another component in an effort at keeping the hype train rolling. Don’t like the way OnePlus is doing things? Too bad. That’s the sentiment OnePlus is conveying in their latest blog post.

According to OnePlus, their marketing budget is extremely small (outside of Google+, it’s virtually nonexistent) and in order to stay relevant they need to be loud. Really loud. It’s the only way they can go head-to-head with the Samsungs and LGs of the world who have already gotten off to a great start with their 2015 flagships. In other words, OnePlus is going to continue doing what they’ve always done, because it worked out so well for them the last time. If that takes you and your wallet elsewhere, then so be it.

We can’t help but wonder if a company’s marketing — even OnePlus’ — has ever really turned someone away from buying an Android device. In Android circles, we typically find it’s more about hardware and specs than anything else (customer service, software, support, etc.). Even though OnePlus’ #neversettle hashtag was hijacked, we’ll find out soon enough if their phone is worth the hype.


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. *sigh* hope the phones are actually available this time.

    1. Pretty sure they’re using the invites system again for this phone.

      1. I’ll invite them to kiss my A**

  2. I’m not interested in any upcoming phones until 2016. But I will say, this is intriguing. While it is inconvenient, we have to understand that One+ get slim profit margins on these devices. They also probably produce in smaller volumes(compared to Samsung and Company) to avoid storage costs and meet demand. So the fact that you may have to go through a few hurdles to get this phone. It’s easy to overlook once you see what your getting, a High Range device at a Sub-Mid Range Price.

  3. Sorry, can’t care about a phone that you can’t buy.

  4. Honestly, after my OnePlus One experience (I’ve owned one), they can go f**k themselves

    1. What is so bad about it?

      1. I bet it’s the customer service. They have really poor customer service, they claim to have improved but I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole.

      2. it is a glitchy piece of junk compounded by non-existent customer service

  5. I’ll #neversettle for begging to be invited to purchase a product.

  6. My one plus one has been the glitchiest phone I’ve had since the HTC thunderbolt. I will never go “unknown” again. Stick to the brands that are at least accessible when you have a problem.

    1. Can’t stress this enough. I think Android fans often get blinded by hardware specs when there is so much more to a phone. Support, reliability, updates.

      1. True that’s the reason why I didn’t buy a Oppo in the end. The hardware sounds good but where do you send the phone if it had problems. I wanna be able to get my phone fixed in the country where I live and costumer support in my own language

      2. @Gamercore:disqus couldn’t agree with you more. Specs are all well and good. I’d prioritise good customer service and support over marginal better specs any day. Sadly, everything I know and read about OnePlus, they are a million miles from delivering even expected levels of customer service and technical support.

      3. In fact, sometimes specs are used to cover flaws in other areas (e.g. if it’s a battery hog, put in a bigger battery instead of fixing what’s causing the drain).

      4. I think this phone is for rom flashers like myself. I haven’t had a single phone that I haven’t unlocked, rooted and rom’d. I can see it being a problem phone for those who don’t want to do that.

    2. Thank you for the laugh. The mere mention of the Thunderbolt reminds me why I would never trust HTC again.

      1. Never say never. I said the same about LG after the LG cookie that was really the worst phone that I ever used. I swore to never ever buy LG again but a few years later I bought the Nexus 5.

  7. Can’t speak for anyone else, but their supply chain issues when they launched that persisted through the iphone 6 launch made me get an iphone 6 instead of dealing with the nonsense surrounding needing an invite to get the honor of buying a phone.

    I had a Nexus 5 I didn’t like that much, figured I’d get a OnePlus and see if that was as good as the hype, but that whole process (no idea how much it’s changed by now) turned me off of the phone. There wasn’t anything else coming out that wasn’t being made by (ugh) Samsung, so off I went, back to Apple.

  8. So I guess that they are going to show the phone in July, if the timeline keeps going the same way.

  9. There specs seem good. Still interested in reading about it

  10. No.

  11. Last year, the smartphone environment was a lot different, especially in the price range of the 1+1,not many could match the bang-for-the-buck, even w/the Customer Care,or, lack thereof.

    Fast forward a year & the same doesn’t hold true, lots of good solid devices in the $300-$400 range (with a real Customer Care department) , not to mention contract discounted phones.

    Definitely a pass on the 1+2.

  12. I had a pretty good experience with my OPO. I’ve already gone for a different device for my daily driver this year, but I may get it for my sister. You get a lot for the price.

  13. I guess I’m one of those that hasn’t. This is the first I’ve heard of their aggressive marketing campaign. I’ve heard of the phone of course. Hard not to if your a loyal Phandroid reader but where’s the Hype?

  14. Phandroid, WHY even speak of them? You’re giving them free marketing (unless theyre paying for these posts). An article can love or hate them, as long as its spreading the news. They don’t deserve being mentioned.

    1. Because why not? Many people are interested in them… I mean, just look at all the comments. If nobody gave a hoot there wouldn’t be any comments. Oh, and it drives ad impressions.

  15. I used to have a OnePlus phone – kind of liked it.

  16. The hype train derailed and rolled to the bottom of a valley where it burst into flames.

  17. I was a huge fan of OP when I first heard about them. Their “little guy” vibe was quite endearing – until their marketing began failing left and right. First, they lied about their phone being able to fit “into” a phone with a 5″ screen – it didn’t, as the OPO was longer (or wider, I forget). Then their pathetic “invite system” was obviously a ploy to maximise on the scarcity of the device, coming off as quite elitist – don’t tell me I need to be INVITED to purchase your product. Add to that their ridiculous contests, one of which was quite sexist, and I’ve never brought up their name again when friends ask for phone recommendations.

  18. If One Plus were completely on the level, they’d actually sell it the tried and true legitimate way to sell … retail (on-line and stores). instead of resorting to dubious schemes that companies only resort to to make up for deficiencies or something to hide.

    If you can’t find it in any sort of store, beware. Just like with Amway.

    1. They do sell online now, but selling in retail stores adds an amazingly ridiculous markup to the price of an item… For decades, with the exception of a few unsuccessful pilot programs, the only way you could purchase a Dell computer was online directly from Dell, and you definitely got more bang for your buck compared to some, say, Packard Bell you purchased at Sears for instance… If I apply your logic, Dell wasn’t on the level or legitimate for a very long time…

      1. Selling directly is a form of retail in my view. Yes, Dell sold “directly”, just like a retail store online, and it’s very common.. And none of the MLM-like scammy invitation stuff that typically only dishonest businesses engage in.

        I can go to Dell right now and buy a PC with minimal hassle. One Plus presents a lot of hassle to prevent me from just buying a phone.

  19. It’s not a marketing scheme. No, it’s a clickbate blog scheme.
    Those people then know that bad blogs are eager for free text to replicate to the infinite…
    Blame it on blogs!

  20. Nope, nope, and more nope. I want nothing to do with their hype train.

  21. i have a OPO. i was lucky and got one early on. I still have it and still like it. This was the first year that i haven’t owned a nexus phone (due to jump in price and size for the N6). I would be interested in a OnePlus 2 but i am not interested in jumping through hoops to get it. I’ll probably wait for the next Nexus.

  22. Their marketing works and yet it doesn’t work. Let’s face it, this company is only going to sell to hardcore Android lovers, because they’re the only ones who know about them.

    From that standpoint it works, because being able to brag about being one of the few who have a phone with these specs for that price is a selling point. It’s a status thing that has nothing to do with the phone.

    However, it’s never going to work as a mass market mainstream vendor that allows for economies of scale. Even Android lovers got pissed off by this and gave up. However, this was probably expected, kind of like gyms selling more memberships than they could really accommodate because they know a lot of people stop going after a few weeks/months.

    1. And the lack of customer service is a pretty big deal for a lot of people. The might be a cheap phone but what if it gets problems? A lot of people that I know prefer to buy a phone trough the site of a major carrier or in a store just for the simple reason that the know where to go if the ever get any problems with the phone.

      1. That is a good point, but I think this is a company that’s trying to appeal to the “do it yourself” Android crowd.

        1. That might be a possibility but the amount of people that are willing to fix a phone them self is pretty low.

  23. Maybe when they announce a CDMA-capable device I’ll consider it but until then they’re annoying as frack.

  24. They will never admit that they use this crappy invite system because they just cannot produce many phones. The invite system is a delaying tactic pure and simple. I envision a small group of underpaid sweatshop workers churning out a few hundred phones a week.
    Everything they do from lack of marketing through customer service screams amateur hour. I would rather take a chance on an international Samsung or LG phone with NO warranty rather than risk a defective phone and having to use OPO customer service.

  25. Their customer service is handled by a homeless man that usually hangs out in front of their office and calls himself “One Minus One”

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