Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vodka maker pulls billboard ad after crybabies complain

Can't anyone take a joke anymore?

We've been following this "story" for the past couple days, it initially showed up on Gawker when a "concerned" reader contacted the site to inform them of the billboard shown below:

The "tipster" alerted Gawker of this billboard for Wodka Vodka located on Riverside Drive in Manhattan, which pokes fun at stereotypes using a Santa dog and a "Jewish" dog with the tag line "Christmas Quality, Hanukkah Pricing". The complainer also mentioned that she would be contacting various media outlets as well:

"Perhaps you are also aware of the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jewish people control the media. Following the lead of your billboard, I have put stock in this stereotype and have taken the liberty of cc'ing several media outlets and news writers on this email."
Well isn't that just special, you go girl.

We figured that would be the end of it, seeing as there's much more important things to be outraged about than a silly billboard ad. But this persistent crybaby's efforts have paid off, as the company today caved to pressure and has taken the billboard down. From Yahoo news:

A billboard for Wodka vodka in NYC has been taken down and destroyed after complaints that the advertisement's message is anti-Semitic.
Ron Meier, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, called it "crude and offensive. To use the Jewish holiday in dealing with issues of money is clearly insensitive and inappropriate."
Well that's a shame. You can't make a joke these days without everyone getting their panties in a bunch. And what was the point of contacting the media about this billboard anyway, it's not like it was some big secret the folks at Wodka were trying to hide, they put it on a giant billboard facing a major street for chrissakes. And one of the most ironic things about the whole thing is that Brian Gordon, head of the marketing firm (MMG) behind the billboard, is himself Jewish.

Score one for the whiny crybaby douchebags. If there's any silver lining to this story it's that it did give Wodka a ton of publicity, and we're guessing that the people who thought the ad was no big deal far outweigh the folks who need to untwist their panties. We're not big drinkers here at People Liking People, but if we ever do need to pickup some Vodka we'll be sure to try out Wodka's selection.

One thing did slightly bother us about this ad though, I believe they have used the stereotype the wrong way. When it says Hanukkah pricing to mean "Jew pricing", if we are to follow the stereotype that would mean that the prices would be high, a ripoff - not low, like they probably meant to illustrate. But I suppose that's a minor point and it's just a joke not meant to be dissected. Either way, the billboard ad is now down and the crybaby brigade can now focus their efforts on the next big atrocity.

Update: We've found a complimentary writeup in Forbes magazine from June 2011 about Wodka's quirky marketing & the success they've seen from it. You thought the Christmas billboard ad was in bad taste? Check out this one:

Escort Quality: Hooker Pricing.

Obviously the company isn't afraid to take chances and be a little bit controversial, it's a shame they caved in to pressure so quickly. If you're going to be bold, you gotta stick to your guns and say fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

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