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“It Can Flush a Bucket of Golf Balls” 


by Glenn Shepard
January 17, 2017
Category: Business



Evansville, IN Feb 2
Dyersburg, TN Feb 7
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Working out when you’re angry triples your rate of a heart attack.
(Source Population Health Research Institute)




The term “Bowel Movement” has never appeared in this newsletter in the 13 years it’s been published.

At least, not until this one, the 608th issue.

For years, toilets in the U.S. used 3 - 5 Gallons Per Flush. Then in 1992, Congress mandated that toilets use only 1.6 Gallons Per Flush, with penalties ranging from $2,500 to prison time for anyone who violated the law.

While the idea of conserving water was noble, the result was clogged toilets everywhere. Multiple flushes became a part of life, and a black market for Canadian toilets even emerged.

But in business, every problem creates an opportunity for an innovative company that rises to the occasion.

In this case, the company I’m speaking of is American Standard.

After deciding to proceed with renovating the new Casa De Shepard without having HGTV film the project for their TV show (a new Nashville based version of “Fixer Upper”), the first room we tackled was a guest bathroom.

While no one wants to stop up their own toilet, doing it at someone else’s house is so embarrassing that it became one of the most memorable moments of the movie “Along Came Polly” when Ben Stiller clogged up Jennifer Aniston’s toilet .

Not wanting that to happen to guests in our new home, I emailed a plumber who attended my seminar in Monroe, Louisiana. He drove a truck that read “We’re #1 in the #2 Business” and listed “DoDo Guru” as his job title, so I figured he could steer me in the right direction.

He recommended looking at the American Standard Champion 4. I found it at Home Depot, and was more intrigued than I would have ever imagined being by a toilet.

It boasts the largest flush valve (the valve that releases the water from the tank into to bowl) in the industry, and the largest trapway (the snake shaped path in the back of the bowl), and claims it can move a mass 70% larger than the industrial average. And it only uses 1.28 Gallons Per Flush, 20% less than the federal standard.

Those numbers are impressive in every category.

But what got my attention was that it can flush a bucket of golf balls. I looked up the video on YouTube and was so intrigued that I watched it three times.

There are lots of videos of toilets flushing different things, but this one was different for three reasons:

1. The video clearly suggests “If this toilet can handle golf balls, it can handle anything from cell phones to toys that fall in”.

2. Every golfer thinks “Happy Place” when they see a bucket of golf balls. Associating a bucket of golf balls with a toilet is the cleverest form of cognitive association I’ve ever seen in marketing.

3. Even if you’re not a golfer, the visual and sound of a bucket of pristine, white golf balls magically swooshing away makes the toilet desirable.

They perfectly communicated the “What, Why and How” of their product better than any company I’ve seen since Steve Jobs and Apple explained to the world in 2001 why we needed iPods in one simple sentence (“1,000 Songs in Your Pocket”).

American Standard and Apple are in very different fields. But they both understand that no matter how brilliantly engineered a product may be, it’s a moot point unless you also have brilliant marketing to get it to the people.

We bought the new Super Toilet, and it functions exactly as advertised.

The only thing I love more than a great success story is when a product works exactly as advertised. This story had both.

I couldn’t find where anyone actually went to prison for selling high flow toilets, but imagine this scenario: Inmate 1 says he’s serving time for selling cocaine, and asks Inmate 2 what he’s in for. He answers “Selling toilets that use too much water”. Can’t imagine that situation ending well for Inmate 2.

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