This Clever KitKat Campaign Suggests You Take a Technology Break on a WiFi-Free Bench

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Jan. 24 2013 10:37 AM

This Clever KitKat Campaign Suggests You Take a Technology Break on a WiFi-Free Bench

FT-KitKat
KitKat's "wifi-free zone"

Photograph by Tim Keen/JWT Amsterdam.

On any hectic workday, a digital Sabbath can seem utopian—a day without the obligations of the connected world, both perfect and unattainable. But what if you just want a few precious minutes in a safe place where emails can’t find you?

In that case, you’ll probably love Kit Kat’s new ad campaign in Amsterdam. Nestle (which sells the candy internationally, though it’s a Hershey treat in the United States) recently built a “Free No-WiFi Zone,” in line with the slogan, “Have a break, have a Kit Kat.” The concept is simple: just a public bench and a device to fight off those pesky signals from the outside world. As the advertiser describes, the zone disrupts all wireless signals within five meters, giving people a chance to enjoy a newspaper, a book, or even a conversation with an actual human being. 

Advertisement

The bench speaks to our simultaneous desire for, and fear of, disconnectedness. Nothing’s stopping me from switching my phone into airplane mode and proclaiming myself free of my wireless shackles, but at the same time, there’s rarely anything to enforce that decision if I make it. (There’s also the question of whether that approach even addresses the problem.)

Having a dedicated public space to impose the firewall for us is a fine idea. With the Internet even making its way onto airplanes and subways, why not build a new refuge, and one that’s accessible to everyone? The only request I have is for some free WiFi benches a few feet away—I can’t waste any time catching up on everything I missed during the break.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Adam Sneed is a researcher for Future Tense at the New America Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @atsneed.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 23 2014 12:43 PM Occupy Wall Street How can Hillary Clinton be both a limousine liberal and a Saul Alinsky radical?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Head of Security Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 3:29 PM Tracking Down the Mysterious Typeface of Savannah, Georgia
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 1:50 PM Oh, the Futility! Frogs Try to Catch Worms off of an iPhone Video.
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 1:38 PM Why Is Fall Red in America but Yellow in Europe? A possible explanation, 35 million years in the making.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.