The Cutline

Vodka company follows up anti-Semitic billboard with one denigrating women

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
The Cutline

Billboard promoting Wodka in New York. (Katie Kitamura)

Remember that vodka ad on a New York billboard that was removed late last year after residents and Jewish groups complained its message ("CHRISTMAS QUALITY. HANNUKAH PRICING") was anti-Semitic?

Well, the folks behind it are at it again.

A new billboard advertising Wodka has surfaced on Seventh Avenue near New York's Penn Station with a similarly offensive message--this one referencing prostitutes:

ESCORT QUALITY
HOOKER PRICING

"Our intent was not to be offensive toward women," Brian Gordon, president of MMG, the firm that created the campaign, told Yahoo News.

"We're a bit of a lightning rod after the last one," Gordon continued. "There was justified sensitivity, which is why we took it down.

"People are going to be offended for different reasons, but there's nothing derogatory about this campaign," he added. "These are words people use, and one denotes a higher quality. We're creating a juxtaposition, that's all."

A representative for Panache Beverages Inc., the New York-based distillery that owns Wodka, did not return a call from Yahoo News seeking comment.

The latest billboard was spotted by a Twitter user, Katie Kitamura, who said she was rendered speechless upon seeing it.

The ad, which features a sheep wearing a sombrero, also appears on Wodka's website. According to Gordon, there are currently at least seven copies of the ad up in New York; a Wodka campaign with different creative ("LOBSTAH QUALITY. CHOWDAH PRICING") recently launched in Boston.

"Maybe the lobster industry is going to come after us next," Gordon said.

The Wodka billboard with the holiday message was posted on the West Side Highway last November. It was taken down after the Anti-Defamation League denounced the ad as "crude and offensive."

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