Kohler Co., global leader in kitchen and bath design, is collaborating with prominent photographer Douglas Friedman to help launch the KOHLER Numi 2.0 Honed Black Smart Toilet and—in the process—revitalize an iconic 1980s print ad. The project began as a shoot for print creative and resulted in Friedman’s first-time directing and filming a television ad, fueled by the company’s trust in his talent and craft. Kohler’s partnership with Friedman exemplifies a passion for bold moves, artistic approach, and forward-thinking innovations and honors the company’s 150th anniversary.
Friedman beautifully frames an endless road in Marfa, Texas—a mecca for minimalism started by artist Donald Judd—with the Numi 2.0, Kohler’s most advanced smart toilet. He respects the original creative concept and artistically reimagines the iconic print campaign for a new generation by featuring the ingenuity, innovation, movement, and lighting of the KOHLER Numi 2.0 Honed Black Smart Toilet.
Acclaimed for photographic compositions of his global travels, love for unexpected interiors, and portraits of renowned personalities in the world of fashion, music, celebrity, and politics, Friedman brings an essence of individualism and innate beauty to the project as only a true artist can articulate.
“I was intrigued by how the Numi looks like a piece of art. It’s unusual and striking and you don’t know what it is initially. It’s a beautiful thing,” said Friedman. “We could have shot anywhere, and it would have been easier, but the only place ever considered was Marfa, Texas. We were all so energized by being there. It was so inspiring to bring the crew there, engage the local talent, and harness the power of Marfa—the home of minimalist art.”
Digital assets and television ads will further highlight Numi 2.0’s stunning design and smart toilet technology including ambient colored lighting, automatic open/close seat and lid, a built-in speaker system, and personalized settings that let people control preferences for bidet functions and comfort.
“We have long viewed our products as pieces of art and our approach to marketing reflects that sensibility,” said Samie Barr, Chief Brand Officer at Kohler. “Douglas shares our passion for design, quality, and attention to detail. We admire and appreciate his collaboration and artistic achievement on this work that showcases our bold legacy and spirited path for the future.”
In 1981, Kohler’s “Toilet in the Road” advertisement propelled the company to new horizons. Developed under long-time company leader Herbert V. Kohler Jr. (1939–2022), the breakthrough ad embodies how Kohler portrays its products as works of art, as well as its creative communications centered on THE BOLD LOOK OF KOHLER. Kohler’s provocative marketing campaigns challenged conventional norms by targeting consumers directly in addition to the standard industry practice of engaging trade professionals and distributors.
Source: Kohler Co.