Barr said the homage works whether or not you’re aware of the original. “We didn’t set out expecting or wanting consumers to recall the original. If they did, all the better,” she said. “The aesthetic of the Numi 2.0 smart toilet is clean and minimal, so having Douglas Friedman shoot the ad in Marfa was just a terrific match.”
Friedman, who had never shot a spot before, told Ad Age he immediately said yes to the assignment, partly because the Numi 2.0 struck him as a piece of art in itself. With a modern, angular design, it has ambient colored lighting that can react to music, automatic open/close seat and lid, bidet functionality and a built-in speaker system, among other features.
“It’s unusual and striking and you don’t know what it is initially,” Friedman said. “It’s a beautiful thing—the way the light hits it, the texture of the form.”
He explored all this in the commercial, but says capturing the one still image for the print ad was more challenging. This was compounded by the fact that, even though they were on set for 12 hours, they ultimately had just 10 minutes to work with the right moment of light.