No wonder a Dutch publisher was the first to buy the rights to my book: Nestlé, as part of a Kit Kat advertising campaign, has a set up No WiFi zones in Amsterdam.
The copy reads,
The world is becoming one big WiFi zone. It's available in bars, restaurants, trains, airports, supermarkets. There's even WiFi on Mount Everest. Result? People are constantly online. Time for a break.
So we created a Free No-WiFi Zone. In a radius of 5 meters, we blocked all signals so people could escape e-mails, updates, tags or likes. Instead, they could enjoy a good old newspaper or a hardcover book. Some even had a real conversation. Whilst eating a Kit Kat of course.
I quite like how the second "i" in WiFi is a little antenna. You can see it better here:
It's not clear to me how this works. PSFK says that the benches are installed with "WiFi jammers," but doesn't offer any technical details.
Of course, a five-minute break from the Internet isn't going to do you an enormous amount of good, but it take for granted the idea that disconnection, plus chocolate, can be a good thing. And that's a step forward, I think.
It's interesting to me that advertising agencies and marketing people are among the most passionate advocates of Digital Sabbaths, Zenware, and other tools that help people rebalance their relationships with devices and the online world. (Conversely, today I run across someone who meant to create a distraction-free writing tool, but got sidetracked when his advertising agency, the Swedish firm Honesty, took off.)