The Standard Hotel has released an eyebrow-raising ad campaign, which, in one image, shows a woman urinating on a rug in front of another man.
A woman urinating on a rug in front of another man
A man sticking his head down a woman's sweater
In an effort to promote its five locations in Los Angeles, Miami Beach, New York and West Hollywood, the hipster-loved hotel has used three shocking, and what have been called 'gross' photographs, by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm.
From a series titled How To be Politically Incorrect, a second ad features a man sticking his head down a woman's sweater, while the third shows a woman leaning over another woman to spit into a bowl of soup.
Intending to appeal to its aspired clientele ('tastemakers, influencers and others who set trends') the campaign is supposed to explore the line between art and commerce. It's supposed to be 'cool'.
This is something that by all accounts which will actually be measurable. How many limited edition prints of the urinating photo will The Standard Hotel sell at its brick-and-motar and online gift shops for $2,000?
André Balazs, president and chief executive of the company that owns the five Standard Hotel locations, told the New York Times: 'The purpose of this advertising, aimed at selective audiences, is to bring a degree of sophistication.
'We believe a good hotel is far more than a set of rooms. What makes a hotel unique is its personality, its social life, its cultural life', he added.
Despite the ads having shocked many, it comes as no real surprise that a hotel with a jacuzzi in the middle of its high-end bar, as well as giant exhibitionist-friendly windows on each of its guest bedrooms created a campaign aimed only at people who would 'get it'.
While the hotel's ads may have the potential to turn off some prospective hotel-goers, The Standard is confident it will gain many more of the 'right' kind of people.
The ads, which are intended to look like editorial content rather than advertising in the magazines which they will feature, were selected by Mr Balazs and Claire Darrow Mosier, his company's creative director.
'We want to contribute to the magazines. We don’t just want to advertise,' said Ms Darrow Mosier, who herself called the ads 'ridiculous'.
'Most of the magazines we trade with are friends and like-minded people. The more these people are in our hotels, the more vibrant our hotels are.'
She also added that none of the magazines - such as Carine Rotfield's new CR Fashion Book, Artforum, Dossier, Interview and V Magazine - objected to carrying the ads.
'Everybody’s used to us doing something a little different,' she said.
However, while The Standard is its own creative brand that, as David Hershkovits, editor of Paper Magazine put it, talks to a 'certain kind of person,' it is still fundamentally a place of hospitality.
Whether or not the ads will put people off staying in rooms associated with images featuring urine and spit remains to be seen.