New Night-Out Tactic: The "Drunk Phone"

By Bryan Le 07/13/12

Young drinkers carry dedicated low-end cell phones when they go out to get smashed, to avoid risking their precious smart devices.

drunk text.jpg
At least the numeric keypad could stop
some drunk texting.
Photo via

Technology is amazing. In 1969, we used a computer with a 0.043 MHz processor to put a man on the moon. In 2012, forward-thinking young binge-drinkers are using low-end cell phones with 800 MHz processors as “drunk phones”—decoys that they can take with them and lose on inebriated nights out with no regrets—researchers report. They came across this practice while investigating the role of beers versus other drinks on Saturday nights. “In studying beer, we started to discover that young adults cherish their smart phones and iPhones so much that they don’t want to lose them if they have an epic night out,” says Laura Krajecki, chief consumer officer at Starcom MediaVest Group. “Now they take what they call their 'drunk phone,' a cheap low-end phone, so now they are carrying two phones because they don’t want to lose their smart phone.”

Is this really the answer for America's youth? Some students confirm the potential attractiveness of such an idea to The Fix. “I don't think anyone would get [a drunk phone] unless they're ready to admit they're a drunk mess who can't handle a real phone—most people are in denial about it,” says Alexandra, a college junior. “But it's a good idea.” She knows four girls who drunkenly lost six cell phones between them in a three-week period. The strategy's potential isn't lost on Andrew, a college sophomore who almost lost his phone at one party, either—but neither is the stigma: “I feel like that would pave way for a bad first impression to people,” he says. “It's like, 'Oh hey, I have to have a second phone because I always lose mine because I'm too drunk out of my mind to keep up with it.'” But hey, at least you'll lose a phone you don't care about after you embark on some Kate Moss–style drunk dialing. 

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter