A phone that went on sale three days ago cannot be the “highest-grossing phone ever.”
The OnePlus 5 went on sale in India and other global markets earlier this week, and the brand promptly announced two days after sales kicked off that the device was the highest-grossing phone on Amazon India during a launch week.
As a result, Amazon announced that it was extending its SBI cashback offer — which sees SBI credit and debit card holders receiving a ₹1,500 cashback on the phone — until July 2. OnePlus is now touting the extension of the cashback offer via a text message that’s going to everyone who registered an interest in its latest phone, which according to Amazon is over 1 million people. Conveniently, the company removed the “at launch” reference from the message, making it seem like the OnePlus 5 is the highest-grossing phone ever.
The text in its entirety reads, “Thanks for making OnePlus 5 the highest-grossing phone ever! Avail Rs 1500 cashback on SBI cards till 2nd July. Shop now! https://oneplusstore.in/5.” If you’re looking to compare, here’s the tweet the company sent out a few days ago:
— OnePlus India (@OnePlus_IN) June 29, 2017
OnePlus removed the Amazon India reference, as well as the bit about the phone being the highest-grossing during the first week of launch. This isn’t the first time the company misled customers — earlier this year, it rolled out a huge advertising campaign starring Amitabh Bachchan in which it said that the OnePlus 3T was the “highest-rated smartphone” in the country, pitting it against the S7 edge, Pixel, and the iPhone 7 Plus.
The ad was based on the Kaun Banega Crorepati format (India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire), to which Sony owns the rights. Citing copyright infringement and “unfair competition,” Sony requested the Delhi High Court to get the ad off the air, and it succeeded:
We put the defendants on notice hoping that they will stop this brazen and illegal act. We were forced to go to court when we failed to get a response. What made the need for legal action even more necessary is that the defendants were actually glorifying the approach towards this type of advertising, even after receipt of the notice.
OnePlus scaled back on dubious marketing tactics in other regions over the course of the last year, but the same cannot be said of its Indian unit.