Critics are up in arms over a vodka advertisement that has been widely regarded as offensive to Jews.
The billboard, which advertises discounted Wódka vodka, reads, "Christmas Quality, Hanukkah Pricing," a slogan that many believe is intended to invoke stereotypes about Jews. The billboard shows a picture of two dogs. One of them, a chihuahua, is wearing a Christmas hat, while the other, a Afghan, is wearing a yarmulke.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), among others, has asked the company behind the ads to pull them, calling the aforementioned line "crude and offensive" and claiming that it "reinforces anti-Semitic stereotypes."
"...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," explains Ron Meier, the ADL's New York Regional Director. "Particularly with the long history of anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money, with the age-old notion that Jews are cheap, to use the Jewish holiday in dealing with issues of money is clearly insensitive and inappropriate."
One of the billboards was able to be seen from the West Side Highway in New York City, resulting in calls and complaints to the ADL over the past few days. According to CBS New York's Evan Bindelglass, the advertisement was removed as of 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday.
The billboard in question was part of a larger campaign with similar, non-religious comparisons. Other ads reportedly read, "Movie Star Quality, Reality Star Pricing" and "Escort Quality, Hooker Pricing," among others.
In addressing the controversy, the marketing company behind the ad initially came to its defense, according to CBS New York. "The inspiration for Hanukkah’s inclusion was anything but anti-Semitic – in fact, we’re likening ourselves to the Jewish holiday,” Brian Gordon of Miami MG said in a statement. “Simply put Hanukkah represents a better value because you get 8 nights for the price of 1 – much like Wodka, more for less.”
“Hopefully this response will help re-focus you on all of the serious places where anti-Semitism does exist – however it doesn’t exist anywhere in our marketing,” he continued.