Heineken in collaboration with Bodega, US brand curator of fashion, design and counterculture, have launched ‘The Boring Phone’.

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.

Heineken and Bodega have embarked on this partnership in response to the global trend of Gen Z consumers wanting to detox from their smartphones.

Heineken – The Boring Phone - Bar

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The co-collaborators will launch The Boring Phone at Milan Design Week on Thursday 18th April, with a special party designed to show people that there is more to their social life when there is less on their phone. 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. The campaign will follow a global rollout with launches in Brazil, Mexico and Germany throughout the year. 

To support the launch, Heineken has conducted an in-depth look at young adults’ attitudes towards smart tech. The report reveals: 

  • 90% of Zillennials across the UK and US confess to doom scrolling while socialising with friends and family, checking their devices an average of seven times on a night out.
  • 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.
  • Over a third (37%) think they check their phones more often than they should when socialising
  • 32% admit 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. The Heineken x Bodega Boring Phone campaign was created with creative agency LePub and supported by global PR agency The Romans and media agency Dentsu Redstar. 

Nabil Nasser, the Global Head of Heineken comments, “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.” 

Bruno Bertelli, Global CEO LePub and CCO Publicis Worldwide says, “Heineken has always taken a stand towards the importance of socialising, recognising the value of genuine connections in a tech-immersed society. This approach has been constantly shown in its creative treatments. The introduction of The Boring Phone isn't merely about disconnecting from mobiles; it's about prioritising authentic interactions. It empowers individuals to reclaim their social lives and foster engagement in every shared moment. By creatively leveraging the resurgence of Y2K aesthetics and the pixelated style, the campaign brings back the appeal of dumb phones. Merging nostalgia and innovation, while embracing screen-free moments, The Boring Phone invites you on a journey to rediscover the power of human connection.” 

Oliver Mak, co-founder of Bodega adds, “At Bodega, we see ourselves as a vehicle for connecting culture and young people, so when Heineken approached us to collaborate on a project designed to do exactly this, we were excited to get involved. Despite having grown up surrounded by technology, us Gen Z and Millennials are now recognising that our dependence on our phones is impacting our ability to make actual, real-life connections. This in turn impacts our ability to have fun, and on a macro level, the development of culture. Smartphones can be too interesting, so we wanted to design a boring one. We were really inspired by the rise of Newtro and wanted to reinterpret a past cultural icon that some younger Zillennials may not have experienced before. We can’t wait to see the response to The Boring Phone as we merge our visions in a shared pursuit of creativity and community. This is truly going to help answer the call for better nights out.”