A smartphone that actually makes you smarter

A smartphone that actually makes you smarter

The Boring Phone, a collaboration between Heineken x Bodega, shows the beer brand is on the pulse, says Joff Sumner, European content director, Axicom.

Do you remember a time when you spoke to your friend on a Tuesday night and made arrangements to meet that Saturday at 7pm outside the 7-Eleven? You then had no contact for the next four days: no WhatsApp messages checking you were still going, no better offers through your social channels that could tempt you to blow them out. And then, incredibly, at 7pm on Saturday, you were both there!

I tell my children about these times, and they gasp, mouth open in awe at how this was even possible* (*this is a lie, they have wondered off to stare at their smartphone long before I’ve even finished my sentence). And this is the problem. Smartphones have become a plague on our attention spans and our social lives.

This is why Heineken, Bodega and HMD have launched the ‘Boring Phone’. A phone that (in their words) ‘Is a device made to take you back to a time when smartphones weren’t a thing’. A smartphone whose prominent features are having no maps, a low res camera and most importantly, no social media apps (hears soft scream from eldest child’s bedroom).

Launched at Milan Design Week, the phone harks back to the first mobile devices from the 2000’s. Heineken's mission is to ‘help foster real connections’ says Nabil Nasser, global head of Heineken. To do this it partnered with streetwear retailer Bodega to create the ‘Boring Phone’, a device purposefully designed with reduced tech capabilities.

The device itself is produced by Nokia manufacturer HMD (Human Mobile Devices) with the goal of encouraging people to switch off from their phones and embrace their social life with more authentic and in-person connections.

Fewer pixels, more pals

There is plenty of research out there highlighting how Gen Zers are starting to fight back against their constant need for virtual connection and detox from their smartphones. Heineken commissioned its own research into how technology is distracting young adults from meaningful engagements.

Conducted by OnePoll, it surfaced such stats as: 90% of Gen Z’s and millennials in the US and UK confessed to doom scrolling whilst out socialising, checking their devices an average of seven times a night! Which obviously proves that everyone is now lying about this as much as their weekly alcohol consumption. The killer stat? 32% said they would like to be able to switch off from their phones while on a night out.

Combined with the predicted easing of inflation demands and a recovery in emerging markets, plus of course the integration of Gen AI into new devices the smartphone market is expected to rebound 3% this year. So, a great moment to make a splash with your audience and position yourself as someone that really understands them.

For HMD to partner with two great brands and create the device itself is a great move that really positions them as a brand that have their finger on the pulse. Coverage wise it seems to be having the desired impact and is resonating with the target audience. Obviously, this results in it being splashed across peoples social channels… which means they need to look at their smartphone, DOH!

not just a ‘smart’ idea, also a beautiful thing. The retro design is perfect, and I very much doubt it will end with the initial run of 5,000 devices. I could see special editions coming out for events in the future that promote being in the moment rather than watching it once removed through your screen.

A smartphone that actually makes you smarter! Love it.

Brand Credit – Heineken, Bodega, HMD
Agency Credit – LePub

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