Think it's easy to sit still for three minutes? Try it right now. Thought so. We find it difficult, impossible, even, to allow ourselves a few minutes to enjoy analog commodities—quiet, sit-down lunches or the Sunday paper in bed—without peeking at our smartphones.
"People as a whole rarely take a break," is the inarguable motivation of Next Digital Creative Agency in Sofia, Bulgaria, creators of a new imposed-break machine of sorts. "They spend most of their days in the office and are constantly interacting through various social networks while balancing different tasks. We decided that we want to help them de-stress a little."
These folks are so adamant about making you chill out that they launched the Amstel Pause, an installation willing to reward you with a beer in exchange for three minutes of doing absolutely nothing.
The test begins with the push of a red button. This sets off a bell that marks the start of a timer on a vintage car speedometer—set for 180 seconds, during which the user must take position in front of the installation and remain completely still. Any movement will cause the motion sensor to restart the timer. After successfully remaining inactive for the three minutes, the user is rewarded for their zero-tasking obedience with an Amstel beer.
"We’ve seen plenty of advertising installations that ask people to do all kinds of stuff," says Next-DC. "We decided that it would be amusing to create an installation that makes people do nothing."
In its 16-day Bulgarian debut tour (Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Bourgas) the campaign has given out 1,344 beers, which means an average of 84 people per day managed to summon the stillness. This amounts to 4,032 minutes of forced inactivity—with more to come when the installation returns to Sofia next week.
Grab a beer and check out the Amstel Pause experience. Maybe the machine will come to your hometown someday. Until it does, you can always initiate a DIY version: Stop what you're doing right now, and you're 179 seconds away from a beer.