Heineken and Bodega’s Boring Phone is boring for real

The two brands partnered to design a dumb phone. The result is a marketing campaign about as obsolete as the phone itself.

Heineken and Bodega partnered on a dumb flip phone that lacks internet connectivity and all the apps that make people “doom scroll” on their phones.
According to a research commissioned by Heineken, 90% of US and UK Millennials and GenZ-ers admitted that they are prone to scrolling aimlessly on their phones, even in social scenarios. You know, when they should be ordering a beer instead. Yet, 32% of the youngsters and the less young alike interviewed admit they would like to be able to switch off during their nights out.

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.

Oliver Mak

Hence, the idea of a Boring Phone concept, a dumb flip phone that keeps people from scrolling by removing the apps that make you scroll.
If you feel like you’ve heard this before, it’s because you have. Many times. Maybe a tad too many at this point. Punkt, for example, is a company entirely built around selling overpriced dumbphones to design-minded Millennials. At the same time, the New York Times has covered the “Gen Z want to switch off and rediscover the authenticity of the real” topic so many times with various declinations of the same article that it's now basically a journalistic trope.

The Boring Phone looks like a flip phone from the pre-iPhone era and sports a transparent casing that users can customize with stickers. According to Bodega, this can be defined as a “Newtro” look. The dubious term, which we hope will fade away as fast as possible, indicates a style that rediscovers retro aesthetics (if you stretch to consider 15 to 20 years old as retro) and blends it with contemporary tech.

Heineken and Bodega's Boring Phone. Courtesy Bodega X Heineken

“Smartphones can be too interesting, so we wanted to design a boring one” said Bodega co-founder Oliver Mak in a comment that’s also quite retro already. “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.”

While we can easily overlook the usage of “Zillennials”, we’re struggling to see past the marketing fluff of the Boring Phone. 
If the phone looks just like a white-label Nokia refined with some extra design touches and a monochromatic display, that's because it is. To make the phone, Heineken and Bodega partnered with HMD, the Finnish company that owns the Nokia brand and still sells cheap Nokia clamshell phones. The Boring Phone, in particular, is just a re-branded Nokia 2780 Flip.

Unlike HMD devices, you won’t even be able to buy Heineken and Bodega’s Boring Phone. The device has been produced in just 5000 units and won’t be for sale. This adds to the suspicion that the brands, with this campaign, might have cared about making a sensation a bit more than they cared about helping “Zillennials” get rid of their bad phone habits.

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