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Wodka Vodka Slips Up Again

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In a move that seems about as well thought out as Got Milk’s now-defunct and its accompanying anti-PMS (or, you know, anti-women, depending on who you ask) ad campaign, Wodka Vodka has put up a new billboard promising Bronx residents “escort quality” at a “hooker price.” Naturally, community leaders are upset.

The billboard, which sits over the Bruckner Expressway in the Hunt’s Point section of the Bronx, is not Wodka’s first brush with controversy. In advance of the holiday season, a billboard over the West Side highway explained that the Vodka was “Christmas quality, Hanukkah price.”

That didn’t go over all that well either.  Following complaints from, among many, many others, the Anti-Defamation League, the billboard was taken down with apologies from Wodka.

The trouble with the “escort quality” billboard extends past its ham-handedness and into its placement. Hunt’s Point, according to the New York Daily News, has spent a long time battling both crime and a reputation as a place to pick up hookers.

Apparently, local residents don’t think that a big sign advertising cheap escorts will help with their efforts. One local was quoted saying that the billboard is “inappropriate given what the Hunt’s Point community has gone through in the past.”

These slogans appear to be a part of a larger campaign on Wodka’s part. Alongside the “Escort” ad -- which the company claims to stand by and has up on the front page of its website -- there is the somewhat milder “Lobstah Quality, Chowdah Price.”

Now, if a company keeps making the same mistake over and over again, it starts to seem like they’re doing it on purpose. In this case, their “edgy” advertising seems like a bid for -- gasp! -- exactly the sort of attention that a piece like this gives them.

Of course, and leaving aside the fact that these billboards are in poor taste, if anti-Semitism and hooker jokes are what passes for edge in an ad campaign, it may be time to hire some new creative talent. Personally, I like the work done in Ketel One’s (DEO) most recent campaign.

Regardless, maybe this will take over as the bad ad of the moment now that the actress from “Debby Spend It Now” has apologized.

Here’s a slideshow of some pretty offensive vintage ads.
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