What if your dinner could remind you to unplug once in a while?

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
Updated April 29, 2019
Credit: Courtesy of Bru

Instagram and other diary-like social media apps have become such an integrated part of our lives that snapping a quick photo of your dinner at a restaurant probably doesn’t warrant a second thought. Instagram has even been influential in changing the way restaurants do business. But perhaps lost in our recent and rampant adoption of a “pics or it didn’t happen” mentality, is the toll that uploading our lives to the internet may be taking on our in-person social interactions and our integration with the so-called real world. Even then, lamenting our umbilical connection to our phones is not a novel concept, a statement proven by the fact that even brands are using a message of unplugging as a means to endear themselves to customers, even when it has little to do with the product. Such is the case with Belgian mineral water brand Bru, which, earlier this year, came up with a novel way to nudge people to live in the moment.

Credit: Courtesy of Bru

Bro Social Plates look like normal ceramic dinnerware with a fancy design on their face, but embedded within the blue speckles are multiple QR codes which many smartphones’ cameras will automatically recognize, prompting phones to open a webpage. The alert that pops up, whether you choose to click on it or not, reads “Nice Photo! But don’t forget to enjoy your dining companions as well.”

Credit: Courtesy of Bru

The plates were actually made available on Bru’s website, so restaurants and home cooks alike could sign up to order them and encourage their guests to stow their phones at the table (that offer appears to have ended, however). Watch a video of the plates being made and serving their purpose below:

The plates aren’t the first gimmick to try to stall social media use at restaurants. In addition to some businesses banning phones, people have invented napkin/bib/tables (just click on it) to solve the issue, and places like Eleven Madison Park even offered boxes on the table to hold everyone’s phone while the meal is in progress.