When Stupidity Overtakes Creativity

Wódka vodka, the inexpensive import trying to become the next Svedka, stepped on it’s you-know-what again with an outdoor message it obviously (but mistakenly) thought was cute and clever.

Back in December they ran a billboard in New York City with this sophomoric content – “Christmas Quality, Chanukah Pricing.” That ran into a firestorm of criticism and they had to literally pull the ads down.

You’d think they would have learned and moved forward in a number of new ways to get their message across. Get a new creative team, hire a new agency, and/or get internal marketing and advertising folks who know what they are doing. There are dozens of ways to get the quality-low price message across in a fun, even shocking way without being offensive.

Listen Wódka, you may think that putting a lampshade on your head is funny but trust me, after the 5th grade it loses some of its appeal.

This time they have run a billboard with “Escort Quality, Hooker Pricing.” The best I can say for it is that it’s lame. But to compound matters they chose to run the ad on the Bruckner Expressway (trying to reach Westchester commuters) in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. According to the Daily News, “When I saw it I almost fell out of my seat, said Rafael Salamanca Jr., district manager for CB 2 (local Community Board). That’s an inappropriate billboard given what the Hunts Point community has gone through in the past.”

Some advice for the managing partner for Wódka’s marketing company, MMG. Outdoor advertising and alcohol have always been on tenuous grounds and this is not a good thing for your brand or for the industry. The childishness of the ad is not worth the effort.

The genius who loves this campaign is probably saying something about how even negative publicity is good publicity. Well, that’s not always the case. Especially when there are competitive brands with more positive messages than buy me I’m cheap.

So far as the outdoor company is concerned – shame on you for allowing this to go up. That company used to have high standards and community sensitivity. I guess an ad about hookers fits their current business practices.

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