Kohler’s latest faucet developers: second graders

Brands love Hallmark holidays. And while most have been focused on Mother’s Day, coming up this weekend, Kohler, the faucet company, set its sights on Teacher Appreciation Week, ending today, instead.

Shane Heiman, a second-grade teacher at New York Elementary in Lawrence, Kansas, had an unusual assignment for his students: redesign boring showers. Heiman tweeted at Kohler asking them to keep a watch out for his students’ submissions Kohler then decided to draw up its own renderings of their visions and tweet them back to the students through Heiman’s account.

The bath and kitchenware brand enlisted a team of in-house designers to bring Heiman’s students’ ideas to life. “What drew us in was that we had an opportunity to engage with a teacher who was encouraging his students to think in new, interesting and creative ways,” said James Sandora, director of digital strategy & integration for Kohler. “As a brand, we share these values with him, respect creativity and also try to reflect that in our products.”

As for Heiman, this wasn’t the first unique prompt that he assigned to his class of 18 second graders. The teacher realized that everyday requests to write journal entries weren’t touching a chord with the kids, so he decided to push the boundaries with non-generic prompts. He has made them design cars with out-of-the-world features — and captured brand attention from companies like Ford and Chevrolet, which sent over modeling clay, sketchpads and an Amazon gift card for his class.

“This gets them excited about being creative, and they feel acknowledged when brands like these respond,” he said. “As a kid, you always want that business reply — you want to be acknowledged because that keeps you motivated.”

Heiman printed the Kohler designs out for each of his students, which were in the form of personalized letters addressed to them by the designer that drew them. He also recorded a video.

Check out some of the students’ descriptions that designers at Kohler then converted into pictures.

This one by Tallulah, who has a very conscientious bent of mind.

Or Gladys, who wants to do the least amount of work possible while showering.

And this one by Adriana, who wants to smell like bananas.

Or Aidan, who does not like conventions.

And Angelo, with his overactive imagination.

And Max, who loves his toys.

And finally Thomas, who is giving some serious competition to Max above.

 

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