The strangest use of glamour in an advertising campaign?

Caution: contains words and images that some readers might find offensive

Luxury products merit luxurious advertising campaigns. I completely understand this concept and 99% of the time it makes sense to glamorize your high-end product as much as possible. However, I feel that some products just don’t merit this treatment, and by ‘some products’ I’m really talking about toilets.

Sure, you can make toilets look high-tech, maybe even sophisticated, but please whatever you do, don’t make toilets sexy. Because they are not and never will be. However, this is exactly what Kohler are trying to do. Their top of the range toilet is the numi and for a jaw-dropping list price of $6,390 you can buy a toilet which:

  • has a motion activated lid and seat
  • includes a heated seat (naturally), but also includes a feet warmer!
  • features an integrated bidet, air dryer, and deodorizer
  • incorporates illuminated panels for ‘ambient lighting’
  • comes with a touch-screen remote device for full control
  • remote control has a magnetic docking/charging station
  • can store ‘user presets’ for your preferred flushing/cleaning routine
  • has built in speakers and FM radio, with audio input jack to connect a MP3 player

Clearly this is a toilet that does the business with your business. It wouldn’t surprise me if there is an iPhone app to log your ‘activity’ (see how I refrained from making a ‘logs your logs’ joke there…oh wait).

I don’t have any problems with this as a product and I congratulate Kohler for taking toilet technology to a new level. What I do have a problem with is the use of the promotional material that Kohler puts on their website to advertise this toilet.

Exhibit A:

Numi integrated toilet

The toilet is first introduced by showing a sexy young couple — let’s call them Tom and Katie — in a swanky penthouse-style apartment. In the background we see the toilet positioned immediately adjacent to clear glass walls! This is not a bathroom, this is a toilet that’s been deliberately positioned in the corner of their living room. “Oh yeah, I decided to get rid of the television and replace it with this toilet”. The background of the photo reveals a hillside full of apartment blocks and housing. Was this listed as a feature when the apartment was sold: ‘Property comes complete with a maximum exposure toilet facility’?

Exhibit B:

Numi integrated toilet daylight

The second promotional photo pans back to show us the exterior of this luxury department and look, there’s a swimming pool. Let’s invite some friends over for a pool party and let everyone watch each other as they pee! Tom and Katie have changed outfits and are looking both sexy and enigmatic. Katie tugs at her hair avoiding eye contact with Tom, possibly contemplating whether a relationship based on a desire for communal bodily expulsions can really last.

We also see that this the toilet is definitely in a living room and not a bathroom. There are some armchairs and what looks like a decanter of whiskey or brandy. On what planet are these people living on? “Excuse me darling, would you mind pouring me a wee dram of the good stuff, I’m just going to settle down for a nice long crap”.

Exhibit C:

Numi integrated toilet night

Another costume change and again our Tom and Katie just want to hang out by the toilet, but once again can’t quite bring themselves to look at each other. Their relationship is probably on the rocks at this point. Maybe Katie is only staying with him for the sake of the toilet?

Exhibit D:

If you want to see the toilet in action, and catch a few more glimpses — albeit fleeting — of our our glamorous friends, there is also a sassy video which shows the toilet in all its high-tech glory.


  1. Did anyone at Kohler think this advertising campaign was a good idea?
  2. Did they actually install this toilet in an apartment somewhere?
  3. The models who appear in the photos…do they list this job on their resume, and if so, how? “Experience with toilet glamour shots” ???