Picking up on trends

Following a weekend where I saw Busted, it got me thinking about the way trends take hold. This particular band (and many like them) broke with the trend of the all-singing, all-dancing boy band to form a band with pop hooks and power chords to appeal to a young audience looking for something with an edge.

Inspired by the music of Blink-182 and the American Pie, Busted went on to be a runaway success. They sold more than 1.5 million albums and had three British No. 1 singles within two years.

Just as in music, the food and drink industry needs its fads and trends to get to the next point in innovation. In a world where trending is a very temporary state of being, a word or two must go to Heineken for creating ‘TH3 G4M1NG FR1DG3’, a custom-made PC integrated with a Heineken beer fridge. It is designed to cool down both the PC hardware and the bottles inside, so gamers can enjoy a cold Heineken while playing their favourite game.

Genius! We’ve seen energy drinks for gamers but this fridge concept is something wholly different and brings a level of hype that is warranted just because of the thought process behind it and the following execution.

The fridge is the latest instalment of Heineken’s ‘Not All Nights Out are Out’ campaign, launched in March this year, to highlight the importance of making the most of the moments of socialisation within gamer culture.

Heineken is using “TH3 G4M1NG FR1DG3 to communicate that gaming and socialising are connected”, says Igor de Castro, senior marketing manager for the Heineken 0.0 brand in Brazil.

The device redesigns a Heineken 0.0 fridge to accommodate a fully-working custom PC build within the space usually reserved for beer bottles. The setup allows the fridge to cool down both the hardware and the beer bottles.

What makes this all the more interesting is the way Heineken went about assembling the fridge. To solve the technical challenges of combining a PC build with a fridge, the team reached out to LeGarage, LePub’s Innovation and Gaming Hub. The team engineered a custom cooling system that would maintain a low temperature while the PC is working and combine it with forced air circulation to prevent condensation.

“We wanted to click with a segment of gamers that few brands usually consider: PC gamers,” says Andrey Tyukavkin, executive creative director of LeGarage and lead engineer of the project.

I will also mention the way in which Heineken set about wanting to appreciate the culture of ‘modders’ – people who customise their builds, modify the design and architecture of a machine, and share their builds with each other.

Tyukavkin thought this culture amazing and wanted to take advantage of the “weird things that have come out of that trend”.
“We saw that several creators had been attempting to make a working beer fridge that could run a PC build,” he adds. “So we knew this was something gamers wanted and something that would resonate with the community and with the culture.”

There are no plans to bring the PC to market, however Heineken will offer gamers the chance to own one of the limited edition devices via a competition. The brand has partnered with Brazil’s top Twitch streamer, to host a giveaway among their 4m followers. The device will also make a special appearance on the Brazilian revamped Twitch show ‘Aprovado’, to celebrate Heineken ’s 150th anniversary.

While the collaboration between Heineken and Le Pub results in a unique PC build that will not be available for purchase, its innovative design opens up possibilities for future developments not just in the realm of PC builds but creative marketing and a willingness to test boundaries in food and drink innovation. What a refreshing way to reach the parts others haven’t.

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