Brahma Beer Created a Phone That’s So Bad, No One Will Want to Steal it

Posted inInternational Design

If you live an exuberant social life, one in which you go out on the town and tear up the dance floor, chances are once (or twice) you’ve looked up at the end of the night (or the next morning) with your cell phone nowhere to be found. Losing one’s phone or having it stolen while participating in an otherwise fun-filled evening is not an unusual experience—it’s a rampant epidemic. It’s happened to me, and I know many others who have fallen prey to a dance floor pickpocket. So what’s the solution?

Brahma, a Brazilian beer brand, had an idea.

In preparation for Carnival in Rio earlier this year, Brahma created a cell phone that partiers would be okay with breaking or losing. As the Carnival’s biggest sponsor, Brahma took on the challenge of preserving the carefree revelry inherent to the festival by devising a phone stripped down to just the essentials— the ability to call and SMS text, a GPS and transportation app, as well as an 8-megapixel camera. “This innovation lets party-seekers leave their high-tech worries behind, ensuring the celebratory spirit remains unbroken,” the brand shared in a statement.

Brahma leaned into the comedy of the Brahma Phone concept in their marketing campaign, playing up that the phone is bare bones and undesirable, and that’s the whole point. “Meet ‘Brahma Phone’: A phone created by a brand who understands everything about Carnival and nothing about cell phones,” they proclaim. “We thought of a phone that is so bad, with only the features that no one would want to steal,” said Nicholas Bergantin, co-CCO of the São Paulo-based creative agency Africa Creative, who worked with Brahma on the campaign.

“Brahma is more than a beer; it’s a brand that solves real problems for those eager to celebrate life fully,” elaborated Sergio Gordilho, Co-President and CCO of Africa Creative. “This project perfectly encapsulates our approach to meaningful engagement with our consumers.” And engaged they are! The Brahma Phone has proven to be a major success as the most viral Carnival brand action of the year and is becoming a festival must-have.

Bolstered by this initial success, the Brahma Phone initiative is poised to spread far beyond Brazil and Carnival. Brahma and Africa Creative are keen on sharing the Brahma Phone with attendees of other events similar to Carnival, where phone theft can kill the buzz. Brahma’s mission to problem-solve, exemplified by the Brahma Phone, is just revving up; they want to continue enhancing audiences’ experiences with innovations that prioritize letting go, simplicity, and the essence of celebration.