Abid Hussain Barlaskar

OnePlus’ ‘shot on’ campaign this year is a full COVID documentary

The film ‘United by Hope’ has been shot on OnePlus phones by 12 influencers chosen from diverse backgrounds – from a gamer to a doctor.

Smartphone brand OnePlus just released its COVID oriented documentary titled ‘United by Hope’. While OnePlus isn’t really in the business of producing films, the connection is that the documentary has been shot on a OnePlus phone. It has been produced by VICE Media.

The film features 12 influencers from a diverse set of backgrounds who document their COVID experiences. Well, this isn’t the first time OnePlus has executed a ‘shot on’ campaign. For the uninitiated, ‘shot on’ campaigns are those that tell consumers about how good a phone’s camera is. It has been used extensively by smartphone brands like Apple iPhone and Nokia.

Last year, OnePlus partnered with OTT platform Netflix for a 'Shot On' campaign. Netflix released a couple of posters for the second season of its hit series Sacred Games. The poster images were shot with a OnePlus 7 Pro phone. The brand also collaborated with content house FilterCopy to create funny videos which were also shot with a OnePlus phone.

This year, the shooting has been done by people who aren’t exactly known for their camera skills. The cast of the documentary includes actors Richa Chadha and Kubbra Sait, sportstars Dinesh Karthik (cricketer, captain of Kolkata Knight Riders) and Bhaichung Bhutia (former captain of India football team), Harjit Bhatti (doctor), Raghu Karnad (journalist), Abrar Bin Ayub (automobile engineer), Dynamo (gamer), Shubham Dharamsktu (travel content creator), Hanumankind (rapper), Supriya Joshi (stand-up comedian) and David Woolley (OnePlus’ community moderator).

Siddhant Narayan, head of marketing - India, OnePlus says that the idea started out as a raw thought when the lockdown started. “We were contemplating how we can document the lives of people in different genres with different experiences. We wanted to keep it very subtle. While the camera was the heart of everything, the idea was to allow them (the influencers) to experience and express through the device. There was a conscious decision to keep it from looking like a mainline film or a brand marketing campaign.”

United By Hope poster
United By Hope poster

While the brand swerved away from camera oriented influencers, it positioned itself alongside personality attributes that that the brand strikes a chord with. Sportstars for performance, a journalist for professional usage, a gamer for gaming experience, a rapper for music and similarly, an OTT face, movie stars, a content creator and so on.

“We got people from across genres, as the brand resonates with so many cultures - sports, gaming, etc., from different walks of life. The entire film was shot remotely and each of the influencers are in different places. We only issued basic guidelines on how to shoot the pieces, which camera features would come in handy for what sort of situation…”

While ‘United by Hope’ is a documentary, at its heart, it is a campaign highlighting the quality of OnePlus’ phone cameras. A recent study by technology analytics and research firm techARC suggests that camera quality holds the top spot among factors influencing smartphone purchases.

“Camera definitely is one of the top features for a consumer to buy a smartphone. It makes a lot of difference as it empowers a lot of generic people who are not so inclined towards photography to pick it up. A good camera provides a near pro like photography experience," Narayan says.

OnePlus released another documentary, last month. Titled 'New Beginnings', it was released on Amazon Prime Video and was about the birth of its recently launched affordable sub-brand Nord.

Speaking on the branded documentary's launch on the OTT platform, Narayan says, "Amazon is our strategic long term partner. The documentary happened because we always wanted to narrate the journey of Nord. It was a part of the strategy to include Amazon."

An affordable offering, Nord was launched to widen the footprint of the OnePlus brand beyond the top cities. Meanwhile, the brand is also expanding its offline retail footprint by opening stores in lower tier cities. OnePlus recently opened a store in Guwahati in Assam.