July’s Instagram-Famous AC Is More Than Just Cool Millenial Marketing
July thrives on millennial-friendly marketing, but actually delivers with a few unexpected twists.
I hate air conditioning. Not because I don’t like to stay cool — I, like you, prefer not to spend months on end in a fever dream, sweating the bed. I hate air conditioning because as soon as you shove that big white box into your window, your apartment, and therefore your home life, is just one big compromise.
Critical though they may be, window-mounted AC units are ugly; they’re noisy; they’re energy hogs; if you’re like me and live in a big city, blocking whatever precious rays of sunlight you might inherit from your two measly windows is a major drag. I’m probably one step away from scurvy as it is, I don’t need to add a vitamin D deficiency to my life.
But what choice do we have? Going sleepless all summer isn’t high on my personal list of things to torture myself with. Well, this is 2023, and aesthetics reign supreme, so I’m, here to tell you about the July air conditioner.
AC but make it hipster
In a millennial pink sea of products marketed towards 30-somethings, it’s easy (and probably advantageous) to turn your nose up to hip marketing. But not always.
I first encountered July’s AC in the land of flashy-but-misleading marketing: Instagram. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately in this case) my lizard brain took over when I saw the AC’s minimalist design and tapped on the forbidden ad (By the way, you’re welcome Mark Zuckerberg).
From that ad, I gleaned a few things. July’s specific brand of AC was offering a few things that other brands typically don’t: style, convenience, and (drum roll) discreteness — a pitch that felt almost specifically tailored to my AC neuroses. So I took a chance and rolled the Instagram ad dice, and for my boldness, I was (mostly) rewarded.
I purchased the small 6,000 BTU version that can cool a room up to 250 square feet, (there’s also a medium-sized version that comes with 8,000 BTU) which was shipped to me about a week after I ordered it online. My first impressions were not great. After removing the unit from its box, the first thing I noticed was some superficial damage. Delicate metal vents on the side of the unit were slightly bent and there were some scratches on the plastic, inside-facing housing that enclose the AC.
Not exactly the type of first impression you want after dropping $400+ on an AC unit, but shipping big, heavy, things is a difficult business and I suppressed my judgment. Luckily, every impression from thereon was positive.
One of the first signs I had actually pulled the trigger on the right device was assembling the July AC’s unique plastic frame. While most window-mounted AC units use the accordion approach to filling in your subsequent window gaps, July’s unit comes with a fairly novel two-piece frame that actually slots into the sides of the unit.
Instead of just unboxing the unit and shoving it straight into your window, July’s AC requires that you assemble a simple plastic frame to start. The process couldn’t be easier. Slot two plastic pieces into the tracks on the center frame and then fit the assembled frame into your window as needed. If your actual window frame is conducive (read: not metal like mine) then you can also screw your July housing in place with the included materials and a screwdriver or drill.
Once your frame is in, all you have to do is take your AC and slide it in until you hear a satisfying click that lets you know the unit is locked in. Then you’re pretty much in business. Are plastic frames an outright premium feature? Not really. But it’s one of a few nice touches that makes you feel like you’ve actually purchased an AC that's different from the pack.
And the twists don’t stop there. Aesthetics also play a pretty big role in the AC’s appeal, and on that front July goes with a minimalist approach. The key to making the AC on your decor is in several varieties of magnetic front covers. I went with the standard white, but if you’re willing to fork over a little more money you can switch it up with a woodgrain or cloth.
Again, is a fancy front cover enough to justify springing for a startup over a tried and true brand like Daikan or Frigidaire? Probably not. But again, I haven’t quite finished my spiel. To help corner the millennial market a little further, July also tosses in some smart features that, for an enthusiast for yelling at voice assistants like myself, actually qualify as a perk.
If connected home products are your thing, you can link your AC up to your smart speaker of choice (in my case, Google’s Nest Minis) and shout your unit into turning off and on. Maybe even more convenient than shouting at your AC is, however, the perk of being able to turn it on and off remotely through your chosen app (Google Home for me), which is ideal when you’re out and about and feel like cooling a room down before you get home.
And July’s final pitch? Quietness. After a few weeks of using its AC, I can say for sure that it, um... sounds like an AC. I don’t know that one can reasonably call July’s AC quiet, but I suppose the particular frequency of its hum is marginally less intrusive than other window units I’ve used in the past.
Let me level with you: you can buy cheaper ACs that will still cool your apartment. Nothing unique about July’s offering is essential to the mission of not melting in extreme El Niño heat experience. But if you’re a princess about sights and sounds like me, then July does actually deliver to varying degrees (pun intended) on its promises.
Yes, I was effectively lured in by an Instagram ad; yes, I was coaxed by hipster marketing; yes I’m a sucker for convenient-if-unnecessary smart home perks. But the heart and the sweaty body want what they want, and in this case, that’s a sleek AC with a few nice-to-haves from July.
Photographs by James Pero