Promoting a new smartphone? Launching an online who's-the-hottest-babe contest may not play well with all consumers, as OnePlus discovered today. The company—which is selling its phones by invitation only due to production issues—started a "Ladies First" campaign that invited women to draw the OnePlus logo on their body or a held sheet of paper and post the image on OnePlus' forums, the Verge reports. The lucky "most well liked" would win a free T-shirt and be allowed to a buy a phone at full price.
A few contest submissions were genuine, while others were Photoshopped gags or women showing their opposition to the contest (one held a sign reading, "This contest is sexist and insulting. Way to inflict self-esteem issues, we don't have enough of those in our society"). Meanwhile, media outlets and OnePlus forum members lashed out at the contest, "calling it inappropriate, sexist, and ill-advised," CNET reports. Cyanogen, which makes the smartphone's OS, even voiced its opposition on Twitter. So OnePlus canned the contest this afternoon with a forum post that reads in part:
- "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."