(Photograph copyright Kantonspolizei Zürich)
In recent weeks, cop cars, rescue helicopters, fire engines and even military tanks have been cleared of their contents.
Subsequently, everything from hoses to the employees themselves was neatly arranged next to the vehicle for an overhead photograph. This is not some type of spring cleaning effort or OCD thing. Instead, it is a social media meme that started in Zürich and quickly spread to all corners of the world: the #TetrisChallenge.
What is the Tetris Challenge?
On September 1, 2019, the Zurich Cantonal Police first posted a photograph on Facebook. It showed two officers and their patrol car with all of its contents, neatly laid out in a block pattern. (This technique is known as knolling and the picture was taken with a drone during the department’s open day in Winterthur.)
The Kantonspolizei Zürich tagged the photograph with the hashtag #TetrisChallenge, paying tribute to the video game from the 1980’s.
Little did they know that they would be kicking off the next big internet meme. At first, other Swiss emergency departments such as the fire departments of Thusis and Geneva picked up on the idea. And to date, the hashtag has been used nearly 20’000 times on Instagram.
What happened next?
Many have hijacked the original idea of photographing emergency rescue vehicles with a drone. In an ode to Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli's series of photographs, regular folks have disassembled what is near and dear to them.
Someone posted a picture of their cat with all the "belongings", and even the British Ambassador to Hungary is no longer hiding any secrets.
#tetrischallenge completed by Ambassador Lindsay! 🇬🇧🇭🇺👑💂♂️🌧️☂️🕔🥃☕ How do you like it? Anything missing from the picture? 😉 pic.twitter.com/BWasVg3ETU
— Budapest Guide (@BudapestTrips) October 11, 2019
Others have used the Tetris Challenge to promote their businesses. The most common way seems to showcase the contents of a delivery vehicles. Or here is a museum shop promoting their gift shop and a coffee shop showing off their cappuccino.
In my humble opinion, here are some of the emergency departments that did their homework the best:
The Zug Police Department:
Lifeguards in the Netherlands:
The California Highway Patrol:
An Italian ambulance service:
A Russian veterinarian clinic:
And even the Indonesian Air Force:
How about an entire passenger jet by transavia, a Dutch low-cost airline?
And if Newly Swissed did the Tetris Challenge, it would look like this: