Heineken throws back to early 2000s with ‘The Boring Phone’

Heineken throws back to early 2000s with ‘The Boring Phone’

Dive Brief:

  • Heineken teamed up with streetwear retailer Bodega to launch The Boring Phone, a limited-edition “dumb phone” with no internet access, according to information shared with Marketing Dive. The focus of the release and a related campaign is to encourage consumers to reduce their screen time while supporting human connection.

  • The phone made its first appearance today (April 18) at Milan Design Week. For those who cannot get their hands on one of 5,000 Boring Phones being released, an app will launch in June that can limit the functionality of any phone to sending and receiving calls and text messages.

  • The phone, which has a transparent case with wiring evocative of Heineken’s signature colors, was inspired by data reflecting the challenges young adults face unplugging from smartphones. A Heineken-sponsored survey found that 90% of U.K. and U.S. Gen Z and millennials “doom scroll” while socializing.

Dive Insight:

Heineken is leaning into a theme of connectivity in a new collaboration with Bodega. “The Boring Phone” is intended to encourage consumers to unplug and connect in a way that is both stylish and nostalgic. The phone has one week of standby time and 20 hours of talk time, according to the release. It will be handed to out to “revellers” around the world. 

The supporting campaign includes several 15-second advertisements showing individuals ditching their smartphones in favor of living in the moment, such as enjoying a concert or spontaneously entering a bar and engaging with others over bottles of Heineken. The spots boast what The Boring Phone is lacking, such as maps and social media.

[embedded content]

The campaign was inspired from insights of a brand-commissioned survey of 4,000 Gen Z and millennial smartphone users, with results showing that these consumers check their phone an average of seven times when out and 62% check social media when with others. Additionally, 36% admitted to checking work emails while 30% said they sneakily playing games. However, the survey also revealed these users desire to break away from such behavior, with 37% believing they check their phones more often than they should while out and 32% said they would like to be able to switch off from their phones during a night out. When it comes to turning their phone off or leaving it at home while out, 22% indicated they already do so and 38% said they would consider doing so.

The campaign was created in partnership with LePub, which is part of Publicis Groupe. Additional support comes from PR agency The Romans and media agency Dentsu Redstar. Human Mobile Devices produced the phones.

The campaign embraces growing nostalgia for Y2K, a time before smartphones played such a big role in consumers’ lives, while also promoting key Heineken principles of unplugging and living in the moment. This is not the beer brand’s first foray into anti-tech technology: In 2022, the beer released a bottle opener that shut down work apps