Woman Pisses on Rug in Hotel Ad: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

Everyone knows we often act differently in a hotel than we would in our own home, and many times we use hotels as a safe haven for our “dirty deeds” that we don’t necessarily like talking about over our morning coffee. Pushing the envelope of what people expect from an advertisement The New York Times recently reported a new ad campaign for The Standard Hotel that puts many of these dirty deeds in the spotlight — including one photo featuring a woman pissing on a carpet while a guy sits next to her and watches. If you’re curious about what the heck is going on with The Standard Hotel these days here are the top 10 facts you need to know about this ad campaign:

1. It’s Art

The Standard New York City – Elevator VideoThis is the video that runs in the elevator at The Standard NYC. I had to take this at 2am to get a mostly uninterrupted feed.2010-01-09T07:31:11.000Z

Designed by Austrian artist Erin Wurm, these photos are designed to both push both what people expect from an ad and highlight how any people have become overly-concerned about limitations to their own freedoms and personal security following the events of 9/11. Teressa Iezzi of fastcocreate.com states that “Wurm seems to be making fun of how much we have accepted intrusion into our private lives. Despite the lightheartedness of this series, these works of art have a serious intent and are a social and political critique of our changing world.”

2. It’s a Series

Standard Hotel Woman Drooling Ad

Not limited to just a single (albeit infamous) photo of a woman pissing on a rug, Wurm’s photo series also includes a woman drooling into a bowl of soup and a man with his head down a woman’s shirt. These photos come from Wurm’s photo series “One-Minute Sculptures” and “Hot to Be Politically Incorrect.”

3. It ‘Surrenders’

Ms. Darrow Mosier, creative director of Andre Balazs Properties, states that she selected the photos for use with the magazine as they are “surrendering our ads to art” and stated that “We [The Standard Hotel] want to contribute to the magazines. We don’t just want to advertise.”

4. It’s a High-End Campaign

The Standard Hotel has five locations located in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Miami Beach and two locations in New York and is promoting itself for a different “chic” atmosphere that is unique to its hotel alone. As such these ads will be featured in both chic and trendy magazines as full-page ads that will be sure to be an eye-catcher for most casual readers

5. You Can Buy the Piss Photo

In a move that truly highlights the sensibility of the hotel (or what some people may consider the lack thereof) a limited edition of the infamous “Pee on Someone’s Rug (Instructions on How to be Politically Incorrect)” photo is being sold both in The Standard’s online shop and some offline locations for an impressive $2,000.

6. You Have to be ‘Sophisticated’ to Get It

Andre Balazs, president and chief executive of Andre Balazs Properties, states that the ads are designed for “selective audiences” to “bring a degree of sophistication” to The Standard and set it apart from the rest of their competitors.

7. It Pushes the Envelope

A line constantly being pushed by marketing companies and marketing professionals, these ads are targeted to help push the envelope of what is considered acceptable and what isn’t in today’s world and help blur the line between what some people consider as art and others purely as marketing.

8. It Continues a Tradition

Standard Hotel Man's Head in Shirt Ad

The Standard Hotel has long had a tradition of supporting artists, collaborating with them in various ways. This has included in the past publications of art books as well as the installation of sculptures on hotel grounds (including one sculpture by Erin Wurm as well) and even custom scarves with artist prints.

9. It’s Loosely Connected to Standard

While designed to promote The Standard Hotel and its atmosphere there is no actual direct connection within the image itself to the hotel. In fact, the only actual connection between the photo and the hotel is a small logo for The Standard found in the corner of each print — just enough to catch the eye of the reader after the initial shock wears off.

10. It Steps Outside the Box

While most hotels use long-established images of themselves they are looking to both maintain and protect The Standard is instead looking to step outside of what is normally expected of the hospitality business and truly grab the public’s attention.

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