OnePlus’s collaboration with José Covaco is an edgy, bold move

We have a LOT of smartphone brands in India now. And perhaps even more gadget reviewers. If you are looking for a new phone, you could easily gorge on at least 10+ reviews on YouTube and even more written reviews on assorted blogs. Almost all those reviews look and feel the same – unboxing, feature-by-feature review/reactions, comparison with other phones and sometimes, in a tie-up with the brand, giveaways. It’s a tried and tested, safe model between the brands and the reviewers.

Amidst this tedium, it is incredibly refreshing to see one brand push the envelope, literally. OnePlus has been working with former MTV VJ José Covaco since June 2017 when they got him to do a gadget review for the first time (OnePlus 5). Since then, he has done unboxing for OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition, OnePlus 6 Avengers Edition and now, a review of the OnePlus 6T.

(PS: the new video is a bit too long and indulgent at 19+ minutes, compared to the earlier, snappy videos like 3-minute OnePlus 5 review that was a complete riot!)

The most interesting part of these ‘reviews’ is that they are incredibly quirky with a kind of humor that may either put you off or have you rolling with laughter. That’s José’s signature style anyway, almost like the new-age version of Cyrus Broacha.

It takes special guts from a brand to let the content creator they are working with to have a free-flowing go at their product while it both entertains and informs. Amidst all the fun, José makes a lot of pertinent points about the OnePlus 6T in his new review.

His comparison between OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T is hilarious, while the way he explains what the missing notification does to him is a hoot. He also addresses the missing headphone jack at 2 points, while unboxing and later, and his way of looking at the ‘notch’ is outrageously funny (you won’t believe what you will hear!). He has candid views on the ‘SmartBoost’ and an extensive take on the camera’s night mode (with a funny backstory!) and the way he explains differences in unlocking between the OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 6T is something you won’t likely forget… ever 🙂

If José was doing all this on his own, it is no different from any other reviewer, but he is not a gadget reviewer at all in the first place. He has been commissioned by OnePlus to create content for them about their new devices and he seems to have been given an unusually liberal hand in the way he does what he wants to do. A conventional brand manager may think, “apne pair pe kulhadi marna” (roughly ‘digging one’s own grave’ in English, as a close equivalent in meaning) as the reason for engaging with a content creator like José given how it borders on making fun of the product.

But the result is a fantastic blend of what you’d like to know as a normal user of a phone and José’s bizarre sense of humor. As someone who has worked on multiple product endorsement deals and knowing how nitpicky brands are in getting the endorser on board after going through a zillion checks on ‘tone’, ‘manner’ and ‘attitude’, this collaboration between OnePlus and José is truly a great experiment. A bold one too.

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