OnePlus Offering Installment Payments for OnePlus 2; Also Signs Endorsement Deal for House of Cards Season 4

OnePlus Offering Installment Payments for OnePlus 2; Also Signs Endorsement Deal for House of Cards Season 4

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OnePlus really wants you to have its baby phones. For a company that is only 3 smartphones old, we certainly see where they are coming from. But that does not stop them from taking risks or bold steps. They were previously known for some really tacky marketing campaigns, like the Ladies First campaign.

Since then, the company has toned itself down several notches. So how do you still be the talking point of the town, and be subtle about it too?

The answer is simple: you sign a $300,000 deal to place your products in the upcoming season of House of Cards. According to a Weibo post and PocketNow, OnePlus has allegedly entered into a $300,000 publicity deal for featuring its devices in the upcoming House of Cards season 4.

This is perhaps OnePlus’s costliest attempt at raising global awareness of its brand by targeting some prime time television space. For the uninitiated, House of Cards is an American political drama series airing on Netflix, which has received many accolades for its plot and has been renewed for its fifth season. Needless to say, the series gets a lot of eyeballs from the general public, and OnePlus may have landed itself a great deal based on the popularity of the show and the talks that it generates. This extends the company’s marketing beyond the tech community and the forums, right to the public.

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OnePlus’s attempt to get a phone into your pocket also extends beyond House of Cards. In their latest announcement, the company has attempted to level the field in the US soil against phones that are sold under subsidies and installments by carriers. To truly make a comparative point for the general consumer, the company is now giving users a choice to pay for any order over $99 in installments via PayPal Credit. The checkout page on the website provides a calculator function, which offers the OnePlus 2 at $22.60/month for 18 months, while OnePlus X will go for $16.12/month for 18 months.

Looking at the figures, the OnePlus 2 costs $349 for an outright purchase, while the 18-month installment option totals out to $406.8, a 16.5% increase in price! Similarly, the OnePlus X costs $249, while the longest period installment will set you back $290.16. This increase in price is because of PayPal Credit’s policy of charging interest at the rate of 19.99% APR (Annual Percentage Charge).

One would argue about the actual feasibility of this announcement. These do not make the phone any cheaper than outright purchases. Further, by an increase in price, the company is putting its own products in a disadvantage as they are often billed as “affordable flagships”. Taking away part of the most competitive advantage of OnePlus devices will certainly not help in gaining customers.

So what exactly is OnePlus thinking?

Carl mentions this in his post:

To give consumers the power to fairly compare what they’re paying at a carrier versus on OnePlus.net, we want our customers to have access to all of the payment options they’ve come to expect.

Installments are not meant to provide a cheaper device. They are intended to provide a platform for comparison. With the heavy prevalence of the contract system, where the cost of the phone is recovered by the carrier over a period of 12-24 months by including it in the network bill, outright purchases certainly do appear to be more expensive to a normal consumer. This is based off marketing tactics, the same that work to make your products cost $99.99 instead of a round $100: you perceive the product to be cheaper than what it actually is. These tactics may not work on anyone who can do basic math; but the hard truth is that the general public often does not bother so much. To them, a phone that costs $249 with a 2-year contract is cheaper than a phone that costs $349. With this announcement, OnePlus devices can also be spread out over a period of months, giving customers an easier point of comparison.

OnePlus’s decision to bring in installments works for them when a user would still prefer to pay smaller amounts over a period of time, much like a contract. It also offers flexibility since you are not limited to a contract from one particular carrier: you can still use the device unlocked. OnePlus claims that consumers can also pay off the full price of the device anytime they choose to, but we reckon that this will be inclusive of the interest due and will not be only the base/outright amount.

On the face of it, the recent developments from OnePlus may seem questionable. But prod a bit, and you may see that there is some semblance of sense to it. A 20% rate of interest still seems preposterous for those of us who are not credit-savvy, but atleast the intent makes sense.

What are your thoughts on the recent moves by OnePlus? Will these help the company create positive public image in the USA? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!