I love The Standard. Andre Balazs (a fellow Cornell grad - shotout) has simultaneously revived NYC nightlife, Chateau Marmont and my faith in the boutique hotel industry’s lifespan.
These ads however, I don’t have such a clear-cut opinion on - and perhaps that’s the point, to invoke curiosity rather than incite room stays. The Standard has been vocal about its ambivalence in using marketing to “put heads in beds” and their print buys for this campaign are the result of careful negotiations with tastemaking magazines rather than the ubiquitous national publications with monstrous circulations. I’m a fan.
But my biggest criticism? This feels very similar to the territory treaded by the new Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas a little over a year ago. The “Just the Right Amount of Wrong” campaign was overwrought with self-proclaimed designations like the “curious class” and imagery of Las Vegas’ bizarre brand of entertainment theater, but had success on the merits of its envelope-pushing and eyebrow-raising. The Standard is a bit more avant garde and ambiguous in its attempt at risque advertising - and it seems to suit them without drawing frat-boy comparisons to Tucker Max’s “Austin Road Trip” story (perhaps the most memorable bodily-function-in-hotel story in my mind).
I only wonder - is this “Just the Right Amount of Wrong” or will most of society (whom perhaps aren’t The Standard’s customers anyway) just find it just sort of gross? In testament to my committment to being Awkward & Inappropriate, I’ll choose to maintain nonchalence but full support of its ballsy-ness.
For more on The Standard’s campaign in its entirety (including a drool in soup photo that made me choke - laughing - on my lunch) check out advertising guru Stuart Elliot’s New York Times story “Ads for The Standard are far from Standard” (click here).