Last year, Mohawk installed SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona triexta fiber carpet in the enclosure of a 2,800 lb. black rhino at the Birmingham, Ala. zoo to demonstrate the product’s durability and stain resistance.

After two weeks in the indoor enclosure of Ricko the Rhino, the carpet was removed and cleaned, passing the test with flying colors. At the end of the test, people across the country-flooring retailers, national media, and millions of consumers-watched as the carpet was restored to brand-new condition with a simple cleaning.

The promotion was successful partly thanks to the visibility on YouTube through webcams capturing the event. This year, to create an even wilder SmartStrand Zoo Challenge, Mohawk recently put its SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona triexta fiber carpet in an area used by six African elephants: Jenny, Gypsy, Mamma, Stumpy, Congo and Kamba, in the Dallas Zoo. These animals tested the durability and resiliency of the carpet for two weeks. The black rhino at the Dallas Zoo also enjoyed having carpet during the same period.

“The Zoo’s six elephants are going to march 45,000 pounds across our SmartStrand carpet, twice a day, every day for two weeks. That is a bit more than the average house will ask of their carpet,” said David Duncan, Mohawk’s vp marketing. “We are confident that not only will our carpet be clean at the end of this challenge, but will also still be soft and resilient, returned to its original pile height.”

As part of the event, Mohawk brought in Chip Wade, designer, expert craftsman and carpenter and cast member of Home & Garden Television’s “HGTV Curb Appeal” and “Designed to Sell” shows, as the Mohawk SmartStrand celebrity spokesman.

New to the challenge was a Human Habitat exhibit where zoo guests could visit four different household situations – a living room, kitchen, bedroom and foyer. Housed in the reptile quarters of the zoo, each vignette featured Mohawk flooring products in carpet, wood, laminate and ceramic, allowing visitors to interact with the exhibits. The area also let consumers engage with Mohawk’s GreenWorks sustainability platform.

The products shown in the room-setting vignettes included: Smart Color style of Mohawk SmartStrand made with DuPont Sorona in Rum Cake color (carpet); Kahala style, Mohawk Strand Woven Bamboo in Rustic Baked Natural color (hardwood); Barrington style of Mohawk Laminate with GenuEdge Technology and ScratchGuard Protection in Barnwood Oak color (laminate); and Novara style, Mohawk Glazed Porcelain Tile with Reveal Imaging in Golden Tisana color (ceramic). The Smart Color carpet style was also featured in the African Elephant area connecting the interior and outside animal areas.

Said Duncan: “After having 45,000 pounds of pressure applied to the carpet repeatedly for two weeks showcasing its supreme resiliency, consumers will be confident in putting SmartStrand in their own wildlife situations at home. And we’re getting additional ‘human testing’ on our hard surface products with the Human Habitat.”

Dealers attending the event at the Dallas zoo mentioned they had consumers demanding to purchase “Rhino Carpet” for their homes last year following the Birmingham zoo challenge. This year they should soon be hearing the phrase: “I want that elephant carpet for my herd.”