When Storytelling Morphs Into ...


One doesn’t typically think of the humble news release as a storytelling platform.

Savvy communicators have proven otherwise with examples ranging from Gold’s Gym (Fit for a Phone) to our own recent work for Zediva.

But is it possible to take the storytelling in a news release too far?

Try to guess the product category in this news release.

luxury messagingLet’s start with the kick-off line in the release:

“The art of seeking the very best that life has to offer is reaching new heights this spring.”

The next line goes on to espouse that this company “has upped the ante of maintaining a sophisticated lifestyle.”

The crescendo keeps building with the release explaining that the design adopted:

“… legendary architect Mies van der Rohe’s less is more mantra … arranging complex technological functions internally within a limited space, all while presenting extreme simplicity externally.” 

Finally, the “explosive” payoff:

The result: a figment of beauty and geometry with high attention to detail, featuring a series of intersecting planes.


I’m exhausted.

OK, let’s look at the hints:

  • A sophisticated lifestyle
  • Minimalistic design
  • Technology
  • Figment of beauty and geometry

I’m thinking nothing says lifestyle like a car.

Could it be a riff on the classic La-Z-Boy chair? (Although there’s nothing terribly sophisticated about drinking a Budweiser while watching ESPN in a quasi-horizontal position with the head tilted forward.)

Or maybe it’s a sound system which doubles as artwork when not in use?

What’s the product category in this news release?

Maestro, give us a drum roll –

If you guessed a toilet, you’re either pychic or work for Kohler.

Because this particular news release announced what Kohler describes as its most advanced toilet yet, the Numi.

I’m all for pushing the envelope in storytelling, but I’d say this one goes a tad too far.

To the credit of the Kohler PR team, they did secure strong media interest highlighted by the Tuesday story by Ed Baig in the USA Today.

P.S. I wouldn’t call the color of a toilet “biscuit,” but in the spirit of full disclosure I have zero experience in marketing toilets.


  • David

    On TV using those same words, and a very different visual (comedic) it could make a funny and memorable commercial.

  • Lou Hoffman


    There’s definitely the potential for humor (parody) in this story.


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