Heineken partners with HMD to launch the Boring Phone

Heineken has partnered with Bodega and Human Mobile Devices to launch ‘The Boring Phone’. Bodega prides themselves as tastemakers in street culture.

The limited run of ‘dumb’ phones – specifically designed to have reduced tech capabilities – has been created to encourage people to enjoy better real-life connections on nights out by disconnecting from their smartphones.

With smartphones becoming so advanced and interesting to the user, it’s easier than ever to connect to the online world but harder to stay in the moment. Produced by European mobile innovator, Human Mobile Devices (HMD), the Heineken® x Bodega Boring Phone strips back the distractions of today’s smartphones. Designed to deliver the basics needed for a great night out, the phone’s primary function is to send and receive calls and text messages.

The phone’s transparent casing and holographic stickers draw inspiration from Gen Z’s love of Newtro fashion and design and are reminiscent of mobile phones of the early 2000s. With modern-day frills removed, the phone is unable to download social media or other apps that take away from being present. It also has a handy week of standby time and up to 20 hours of talk time.

As smartphones continue to dominate attention spans globally, new research commissioned by Heineken® reveals 90% of Zillennials* across the UK and US confess to doom scrolling while socialising with friends and family; checking their devices seven times each night out on average.

When it comes to the biggest distractions, two-thirds admit to checking social media (62%) when hanging out with others, while over a third (36%) confess to checking work emails. Three in ten (30%) also revealed they sneakily play games instead of engaging with their family and friends in the moment.

But as over a third (37%) reveal that they check their phones more often than they should when socialising, the tide is beginning to turn with 32% admitting they would like to be able to switch off from their phones while on a night out. Encouragingly, one in five (22%) revealed they already turn their phone off or leave it at home ahead of social occasions and a further two in five (38%) say they’d consider doing so.

Heineken® and Bodega have embarked on this partnership to show people that there is more to their social life when there is less on their phone.

Nabil Nasser, the Global Head of Heineken® said, “We could all do with a break from the constant distractions of smart tech; something our research has shown is even more important to our Gen Z and Millennial consumers. When we spoke to them about their smartphone usage, we quickly realised that many feel they are habitually distracted when socialising by their device but also admit they didn’t want to go completely phone-free. At Heineken®, we want to foster moments of genuine connection and help people experience the joy of true togetherness. In creating The Boring Phone we have gone back to basics, we have dialled down the tech to help people truly connect over a beer, without any distraction from the constant buzzing and dings.”

Lars Silberbauer, CMO of Human Mobile Devices (HMD) said, “Early in 2023, we spotted something cool with Gen Z in the US. They started cutting down their screen time to feel better mentally, swapping their smartphones for simpler phones. As big fans of unplugging from the digital buzz, we’re super excited about launching The Boring Phone with Heineken and Bodega. It’s definitely going to get people talking when they’re out and about.”

Emerging Ibiza-based, British producer, TSHA, who is quickly becoming one of the most exciting young artists in the industry, will be celebrating The Boring Phone launch with a giveaway to fans, having experienced first-hand how smart tech serves as a barrier to being in the moment at music events.

TSHA says, “As an artist, you want to connect with the audience to know they’re having a good time, but it’s hard to do this when you look up from the decks and see a sea of smartphones flashing in your face. I would love to see a world where we enter the venue and just live in the moment; connect with the artist, your mates and just have a good time. The Heineken x Bodega Boring Phone is the perfect antidote to the barriers smart tech pose to nights out.”

Heineken® and Bodega will unveil The Boring Phone at Milan Design Week on Thursday 18th April, with a party hosted by the collaborators. Following this, devices will be given away to revellers around the world, so they can disconnect, reclaim quality time with friends, family and loved ones, and dial up their nights out.

An app that will turn smartphones boring will also be launched in June to give those who don’t manage to get their hands on a physical device the Boring Phone experience.