Why OnePlus, Why?
The 6th of March was a normal lazy Monday until it was about half past seven in the evening. I was casually browsing through the trending topics on Twitter, where I found out that my favorite mobile brand was trending. Without any adieu, I clicked on the hashtag — #OnePlusStar.
There were tweets flowing left, right and center around the hashtag. I saw the above image first and figured out that the Chinese smartphone manufacturer was indeed ready to announce a brand ambassador for India. Being Indian, it didn’t take me long to realize who the brand ambassador was going to be.
But, being a loyal fan of the brand, I was hoping that I am wrong for my and possibly the brand’s own good. However, this image below made me feel deflated.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge admirer of Amitabh Bachchan and his tremendous contribution to the arts. His voice is almost a national treasure and to call him India’s equivalent of the legendary Morgan Freeman would not be an understatement.
All of us love an underdog story and OnePlus was delivering it to us. The company had humble beginnings in which the founders decided to be present exclusively online. OnePlus decided to benchmark itself against the Global smartphone leaders — Apple & Samsung. The company has done well thus far and has carved itself a nice niche in the mobile space.
It was a brave move on the part of OnePlus to christen and market its devices as Flagship Killers. The OnePlus One was a tremendous success story for the brand. However, its successor, the OnePlus Two failed to capture the imagination of the OnePlus aficionados. ( Although it is clocking decent sales even today)
The OnePlus 3 & OnePlus 3T ( which were launched in such quick succession, that you could have missed it with the blink of your eye ) have proven that the brand is not a one hit wonder.
After the Introduction stage of the brand, OnePlus decided to move offline to concentrate on the bigger chunk of the market. And naturally, as far as advertisements go, the Marketing team was now bathing in cash. The year began with an advertisement which featured supermodel, Emily Ratajkowski briefing us about the dash charge technology. Bearing in mind, the appeal of the brand vis-a-vis the appeal of Ratajkowski, the advertisement could be considered above average.
However, with the appointment of Amitabh Bachchan as their first ever OnePlus star, the brand has played with fire. Firstly, a brand ambassador will leverage some of his personality traits onto the brand. OnePlus’s brand persona would appeal to predominantly young people with enough disposable income who want to stay in trend.
And although, Amitabh Bachchan is undoubtedly going to lend his charisma and effortless style to the brand, I feel the brand has committed a sin. This coming together of OnePlus and Amitabh Bachchan could fizz out like the countless endorsements which banks sign up with popular public figures in India. The endorser of such banking services, be it a Deepika Padukone or Amitabh Bachchan, cannot convince people to sign up for the banks services.
Keeping in mind the target audience for the brand, I would have loved to see a M.S Dhoni or Virat Kohli endorse the brand. Their personas would have gone hand in hand with what the brand is trying to achieve.
OnePlus is at that delicate and crucial juncture wherein it is trying to build on its early success wave. The worst that the brand could do is alienate itself from its cult followers by choosing brand ambassadors whose persona does not mirror the aspirations of the brand.