A New York City billboard advertising cheap vodka with the slogan “Christmas Quality, Hanukkah Pricing” was taken down after the company received a number of complaints from customers, as well as from the Anti-Defamation League. The Wódka vodka promotion features two dogs, one in a Santa hat and the other in a yarmulke.
“In a crude and offensive way of trying to make a point that their vodka is high quality and inexpensive, the billboards evoke a Jewish holiday to imply something that is cheap and of lesser value when compared to the higher value of a Christian holiday,” ADL regional director Ron Meier said. It “reinforces anti-Semitic stereotypes.”
The creative lead on the campaign, Brian Gordon, says he is Jewish and the campaign wasn’t intended to be offensive. He says the ad wanted to convey that Hanukkah was an “understated” holiday.
“As a Jew growing up, the only thing we could say was we had eight nights, and Christmas had only day, so we had eight days for the price of one,” he told CNN. “With our brand, our message is you can get more for less, eight nights versus one, and we don't need to wrap ourselves in fancy packaging.”
The vodka company has been unapologetic for its shock advertising in the past, with ads that read: “Hamptons Quality. Newark Pricing” and “Escort Quality. Hooker Pricing.” This time, Wódka sang a different tune: