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OPPO: From Zero To Hero

How the once unknown Chinese company is now taking the country by storm

We remember our first OPPO launch back in 2014 when they officially introduced their products to the Philippine market. Back then OPPO was just another Chinese brand among the sea of Chinese brands already present in our country, with a good portfolio of products and a relatively unknown reputation.¬†OPPO followed the textbook model for most companies when they enter a new market: they introduced a bunch of high-end products and a slew of unremarkable, lower-end devices. It’s the standard playbook that most companies follow.

What wasn’t standard was how the company went about their retail expansion. Even at the very beginning OPPO was adamant in getting their name out all over the country in malls and retail chains. Despite being a relative new comer to the country, OPPO’s marketing budget seemed endless from day 1. The company’s name was plastered on every available advertising slot in malls, specifically the tech/gadget Cyberzone hubs that is standard on SM Malls all over the country. As their competitors like Samsung ended their strategic partnerships with organizations like the UAAP because of their new marketing direction, OPPO was more than happy to take those partnerships off of their hands. Currently OPPO has strategic partnerships with the PBA, The Voice Philippines and the Philippines’ Next Top Model with a number of others already in the pipeline.

No other brand can boast the star power that OPPO has in this one picture

A marketing push that defied budgets and expectations

As OPPO’s marketing efforts became clearer, their competitors could only stand by and wonder where all the money for marketing was coming from, as it seemed that OPPO’s marketing budget was endless. Go to any SM Cyberzone and you’ll see a see of green and white on the walls and in stores, as well as a gaggle of promoters trying to convince consumers to buy their products.

This the scene in virtually every….
..SM Mall…
…in the country.

Vets in the industry knows OPPO’s playbook well, since it’s the same one that Samsung used to run back in latter half of the 2000’s. The difference is the scale of OPPO’s willingness to fork over money for branding and visibility. Before OPPO’s marketing push, there used to be a good mix of branding efforts in malls and in retail stores – now it’s just a sea of green and white balloons, the face of OPPO’s brand ambassador Sarah Geronimo holding up whatever new smartphone the brand is trying to sell.

The first of the Selfie Experts

A streamlined product portfolio and owning the selfie craze

When OPPO launched the first of their F series of smartphones, selfie-centric phones were at best, a gimmick vertical that wasn’t seriously pursued by their competitors. While companies like ASUS, Cherry Mobile and Lenovo outed their own selfie smartphones, OPPO was the first manufacturer to build an entire product line around the selfie concept. The gamble worked – OPPO says that the F1s is the best selling smartphone according to GFK for 2016.

Aside from owning the Selfie Expert title (and hashtag) OPPO also realized that having a streamlined product lineup is the best approach to maximize their marketing efforts. Of all the phones that are in OPPO’s website, the company is only actively selling and promoting 4 in the Philippines: the F3, F3 Plus, F1s and the A39. All can be marketed as selfie phones, which again, falls under the brand’s current marketing push.


Reaping the rewards of their gamble

Which leads us to the recently launched F3. At Php 16,990, it’s an expensive phone for the specsLenovo’s Moto M is cheaper while having a better processor and a unibody metal design, Huawei’s GR5 2017 is considerably less expensive while having far better specs (at least on paper), though it’s not exactly what you’d call a selfie phone. So, why the Php 16,990 pricing?

It all boils down to confidence. OPPO knows that its marketing efforts are now bearing fruit, and with that comes the realization that they can start putting higher margins on their products. Besides, all it takes is a price cut down the line to make the F3 more palatable to customers and to make more room for newer products down the line.

Say what you want about OPPO, but the company is one of the biggest rising starts in the world of mobiles today. OPPO’s strategy is so effective that sister company (and local rival) Vivo is running the same playbook, with the same monumental budget, both here and in other countries today. OPPO’s marketing gamble is quickly paying off, and is fast leaving many of its competitors playing catch up.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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  1. Getting Sarah Geronimo and the other endorsers does not come free. That’s why mataas ang prices ng products nila. Puro narcissists lang naman nagpapaka addict sa selfie.

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