News

Bronx residents upset by vodka company’s hooker-mocking ads

Pin it

Wodka ad

Wodka, the perennially offensive vodka company, has upset residents of the Bronx with a new billboard with the slogan "Escort Quality, Hooker Pricing." After a series of complaints, the billboard has now been removed.

Besides its generally distasteful (and disparaging) message, the billboard in question also happened to be placed in Hunts Point, an area that's made strenuous efforts to clean up its reputation as a haven for prostitution."When I saw it I almost fell out of my seat," said one local politician. "That's an inappropriate billboard given what the Hunts Point community has gone through in the past." 

The billboard seems to be a continuation of the same campaign that caused Wodka trouble around the holidays with billboards reading "Christmas Quality, Hannukah Pricing," thus tapping into that timeless, hilarious trope of Jews people being cheap. In this case, the billboard was positioned along the West Side Highway, right near the Upper West Side, i.e. where plenty of Jewish people would be able to see it. Zing! At the time, the anti-defamation league called the ad "crude and offensive," and the billboard was taken down.

"People understand what we're trying to communicate," a marketing spokesman said of the new ad. "There are certain people who, for very specific reasons, have an issue with it." 

"They apologized for the insensitivity of the placement," said a community leader who pushed for the billboard's removal, "but they were not too apologetic about their message. It's not a big deal to them."

Given the amount of free publicity the outrage has generated for their bottom-shelf liquor, I sense a vicious cycle coming on.