‘Christmas Quality, Hanukkah Pricing’ Vodka Billboard Stirs Outrage

Marketing Company Pulls Ad, But Wodka CEO Says He's The One Offended

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An advertisement for a brand of vodka caused quite a stir in Manhattan.

Wodka Vodka had a large billboard overlooking the West Side Highway with the slogan “Christmas Quality, Hanukkah Pricing.”

The Anti-Defamation League called the ad “crude and offensive,” and said in a press release it “reinforces anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

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“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,” said the Anti-Defamation League’s New York Director Ron Meier.

The ADL called on the company to remove the ads. The ad was down as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, reported CBSNewYork’s Evan Bindelglass.

“The word quality is right next to Christmas. So anyone seeing it would look at it and say ‘Christmas is quality.’ The holiday of Hanukkah is not only not quality, it combines the Jews and money — the old stereotype about Jews being cheap,” ADL Deputy Regional Director Ken Jacobsen told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

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New York advertising guru Jerry Della Femina went a step further, suggesting company heads might want to sober up.

“If they sat down and said how can we offend everyone? They managed to do it. They offended everyone,” Della Femina told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis on Tuesday night.

Wodka CEO James Dale told Dennis the ad was never intended to be offensive, but irreverent like other ads in the campaign, reportedly including ones which read “Movie Star Quality, Reality Star Pricing,” “Escort Quality, Hooker Pricing” and “Hamptons Quality, Newark Pricing.”

“We’re surprised. We’re surprised people are vitriolicly offended by what we’ve done. It’s all about value and quality,” Dale said.

Dale also said he’s offended, adding he’s been taking calls with death threats. He said despite having several Jewish employees, he’s being compared to a Nazi, all over a billboard.

“This is a premium vodka, at a value price. That’s all we’re saying,” Dale said.

Wodka Vodka is made by Panache Beverages, which is based in the Flatiron District.

The marketing company, Miami MG, told CBS 2 that “we’ve heard people loud and clear and people have misunderstood what we were trying to communicate, so we’re gonna pull the ad.”

Miami MG earlier released a statement defending the ad.

“The inspiration for Hanukkah’s inclusion was anything but anti-Semitic – in fact, we’re likening ourselves to the Jewish holiday. 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.”

Sound off in our comments section below.

  • Meme Meyagi

    what is done about 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa?

  • joey from B'hurst

    Is the same bunch that tried to create a NYS law against price gouging on passover?

  • DMC

    How come the afghan get to wear a yamulka? Must of had a good agent.

  • DanTe

    I thought kosher food costs more than regular food?

  • Tee-Jay

    Albert Einstein quality. Homer Simpson pricing.

    Cruise ship quality. Staten Island Ferry pricing.

    Ivy League quality. Community college pricing.

    • Michal Epstein Donovan

      Yer good, kid. Real good. You get the yob.

  • yogajournal

    That was a really amazing blog!!!

  • Ellen

    Notice to All. Jesus was a Jew, A Jew, not Irish, English, Italian, African, Arab, Spanish, but a Jew. I hope that doesn’t surprise anyone, but it’s true, so if you don’t like Jews, then guess you don’t like Jesus as well.

    • jbrutal

      true true. he was a stingy one, too. he got all his clothes from the goodwill.

  • Elf on the Shelf

    My elf would tell Santa on them. See my elf in action….


  • jerseyjoey

    jews and money, yeah so, whats all the hub bub about, jews all through out history in all lands they migrated to worshipped money and hoarded it quite well, in America we call that Good Business just look at our banking system unlike our spend first then steal it later government.

    • clarsa

      You’re missing context. In historic persecution of Jews, they were forbidden to own land so they were forced into banking, mercantile, and the professions. They didn’t “migrate” to money and fastidious saving for times of hardship; they were forced into it by repeatedly having their property seized. Also, their religion encourages them to settle all debts before New Year’s Day so they’re not carrying huge debt burden like most gentiles. Because of their belief in financial responsibility, they tend to marry later and have (fewer) children later in life than gentiles. I think the ad acknowledges their fiscal responsibility and opens a door to acknowledging the persecution that fostered it. Our government could learn something from their example.

  • bullett

    Hey, if the advertisement was for Manischewitz Wine, would it still be crude & offensive. I say to the ADL, “Get a hair cut & get a life”.

    • MP

      “JerseyJoe” Im not sure your simple mind can comprehend the following but we’ll give it a shot.

      Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence”,[1] a 2005 paper by Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, and Henry Harpending, argued that the unique conditions under which Ashkenazi Jews lived in medieval Europe selected for high verbal and mathematical intelligence but not spatial intelligence. Their argument has four main premises:

      Today’s Ashkenazi Jews have a high average mathematical and verbal IQ and an unusual cognitive profile compared to other ethnic groups, including Sephardic and Oriental Jews.

      From roughly 800 to 1650 CE, Ashkenazi Jews in Europe were a mostly isolated genetic group. When Ashkenazi Jews married non-Jews, they usually left the Jewish community; few non-Jews married into the Jewish community.

      During the same period, laws barred Ashkenazi Jews from working most jobs, including farming and crafts, and forced them into finance, management, and international trade. Wealthy Jews had several more children per family than poor Jews. So, genes for cognitive traits such as verbal and mathematical talent, which make a person successful in the few fields where Jews could work, were favored; genes for irrelevant traits, such as spatio-visual abilities, were supported by less selective pressure than in the general population.

      One basic question to be answered in assessing a genetic explanation of unusual intelligence in Ashkenazi Jews is whether today’s Ashkenazi Jews really do, as a group, have unusual intelligence. Assessing intelligence, especially of ethnic groups, is notoriously difficult and subject to racist and political biases.
      One observational basis for inferring that Ashkenazi Jews have high intelligence is their prevalance in intellectually demanding fields. From 1901–2010, 21.5% of Nobel prize winners were Jewish, while Jews make up a much smaller fraction of the population of the countries represented. For example, 36% of Nobel prize winners from the United States have been Jewish, while Jews make up 2.1% of the U.S. population.[7] G. Cochran, J. Hardy and H. Harpending additionally cite the disproportionately high percentage of Ashkenazi Chess Grandmasters and Fields Medalists in mathematics.[

  • surfin Bird

    Its bad enough the roghts of Wodka were violated.

  • The Realist

    International Law clearly prohibits Israel (and ONLY Israel) from ever defending itself against an attack or retaliating against an attack, or complaining about an attack. For Israel, even BEING attacked is deemed an act of initial aggression against the attacker, and thus a crime against humanity. Why have these provisions of law not been enforced?

    • joey from B'hurst

      Do you really have to ask why?

  • http://ihavenewyork.wordpress.com themeless blog

    are we living in America ?

  • King Zohan

    As a jew, im not offended but find the ad clever… the fact the made it into such a big thing gave “Wodka” more advertisement than they couldve ever hoped for with the clever ad in the first place. Instead of letting it play out, they attracted so much attention to the brand that the marketing company looks like geniuses.

    But seriously though, who drinks this crap? Belve!!!!!!

  • R.E. Ruby

    Lighten up America! This is a funny billboard that reflects the diversity and understanding of cultures within the melting pot. We should be more worried about the political correctness that is allowing our enemies to operate amongst us while we fight each other.

  • Stephen M. St. John

    Today Abe Foxman censored a Miami company’s free speech
    to use a billboard to sell its Wodka Vodka.
    Me thinks this man protests too much.
    You know, Abe, familiarity breeds contempt.
    And by the way, how much do the Bronfmans of Seagrams fame
    toss your way to support your outfit the Anti-Defamation League?
    And is the Bronfman’s Seagrams Vodka really the smoothest?
    I tell you what: Let’s put it to the test.
    Let’s meet and do a taste comparison: Wodka Vodka or Seagrams Vodka.
    Conditions: impartial moderator serves from unmarked bottles seven rounds
    and we cast secret ballots on each round.
    Of course during the course of this imbibing
    we’ll have the opportunity to talk about many things, won’t we, Abe?
    Remember my letter to the editor of the New York Times
    on the USS Liberty back in August 1988? You, of course, had the last say.
    You always have the last say; i.e. until I have the last say!
    And how about my discovery of a bogus 9/11 airport surveillance video
    that certain folk in the US Department of Justice used to frame
    wholly Semitic Arabs for the shock & awe cybernetic crimes of 9/11?
    As smooth as Seagrams’s Vodka is, Abe, I tell you your hair will stand on end.
    And one last thing. So what’s the big deal about Channukha?
    This is NOT one of the holidays prescribed through Moses!
    Were Moses come back from the dead today,
    he’d really be wondering exactly what is going on!

  • Super_Cool

    It’s offensive but funny. Sorry for laughing but I couldn’t help myself. Now that a joke was made you could put yourselves on the same level as all of us and not try to be above us.

  • Bernie Sanders

    always the jews with some kind of problem

    • gfr

      do you mean…always attacking jews people with stupid problems?

      • JJ

        This is hardly an “attack”….







      • CHARLIE


  • Weiner

    Oy, lighten up, get a life. Make mine a double!

  • Esther Perez

    How is it distasteful? “Simply put Hanukkah represents a better value because you get 8 nights for the price of 1 – much like Wodka, more for less.” They can drink it and make it last for 8 good nights. Besides it’s the truth.

  • IgnoranteElephante

    Ah, the double standards one can perpetuate when one controls the media. The publically funded Brooklyn Museum depicts a Christ on a fallen crucifix being devoured by ants and the Jewish director, Arnold Lehman, calls it a great work of art. The anti defamation league says nothing.

    A private company humorously uses an observation, probably an accurate one at that, to sell Vodka, and Abe Foxman and the boys are screaming another impending Holocaust, and their media is rallying behind them. There is no justice.

    • MiMi

      Indeed an interesting point.

    • Michal Epstein Donovan

      You win the award for the best handle. I like. Writting it down now!!

      • IgnoranteElephante

        “Writting it down now.” My name may be IgnoranteElephante, but your language use proves who the real clue rod here is.

        What’s the matter? I make a little thought provoking comparison, and you have nothing better to retort.

  • Axhvqtlgmtjb

    For the people, for the activities, for the charm of the world’s most picturesque meeting and
    event sites – look to Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. We hope you will visit us soon and discover
    just how memorable a meeting can be.

    • ellisjayus

      Fairmont Hotels…a subsidiary of Kingdom Hotels…principal investor Prince Alwalid bin Talal who offered Rudy Giuliani 10 million with the caveat to tell the President of the US to change his attitude toward the Palestinians….that Fairmont Hotel Group is where Jews should hold their memorable meetings? Oh, yeah, Rudy said no thanks.

  • karen

    VERY BAD TASTE!! WAS IT WORTH IT???? YOU JUST OFFENDED A GROUP OF PEOPLE AND IT WAS TOTALLY UNECESSARY. Why put a ‘bug’ in people’s heads that only intend to hurt. There was no upside to this ad at all. Shame on you!!!

    • EasterBunny


      • Hebrew Hammer

        Easter Bunny- we can see the effects of Wodka on your IQ level already.. Looks like product found it’s customer…

    • Michal Epstein Donovan

      On the other hand, I have now heard of WODKA VODKA.

  • Hebrew Hammer

    I wonder what increase in sales they would get, if the mentioned Ramadan ))

    PS: Who even buys this stuff? i

    • Esther Perez

      “Simply put Hanukkah represents a better value because you get 8 nights for the price of 1 – much like Wodka, more for less.”

      The jewish will buy it for Hanukkah and imake it last for 8 days.

      • Hebrew Hammer

        Who buy buys vodka for Chanukah,? Do you know what Chanukah stands for? Besides, only kids get presents on those nights. Do you want kids to get wodka for presents?

        • Michal Epstein Donovan

          My Papa gives me Connemara Whiskey every Chanuka… He loves me, though he only says in his quiet and oblique ways. Nevertheless, I agree in principle, you are correct: would want to give kids WODKA for presents?

  • http://lawfirmspr.wordpress.com Admin
    • OMG

      Where? I still don’t see proof

  • j

    Funny article. People just look into things too much. Get a grip. WODKA LOL, Trust me Jews aren’t cheap at all, they just know the value of a dollar.

    • OMG

      Oh yes they are!

  • Pyatt

    Goes to show (ONCE AGAIN) who runs the media.

    And about that “age old notion” about jews and money: where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

    And I challenge anyone to dispute my 2 points without just the usual name calling. Because when anyone does that, all they show is that they have conceded the argument.

  • mitch r

    Panache Beverages, you just lost another customer!
    There are plenty of other Vodkas out there.
    Who ever sold you on this ad should be fired.

  • mitch

    Panache Beverages!
    You lost me as acustomer!
    There are plenty of other Vodka’s.
    Cheap shot. You should fire the person who sold you this bill of goods.

    • Arnie

      Big woop…they lost you and gained me…I think its hilarious!…

  • Larry Schwarz

    First of all I drink Absolut.I do not believe they meant any harm,still as a Jew I find it offensive.They need to remove the sign and issue an apology.

  • The Facts

    The ad is offensive to all people of good will because it repeats the old slur about those of the Jewish faith.

  • dollars and SENSE

    What is being done about financial public assistance being awarded to those who don’t deserve it?

  • Surfin Bird

    people need to have a sense of humor

    • Nec

      Looks like that goup of people won’t be buying that brand.

  • Ira Steinman

    How dare they list Chanukah on the same billboard with that other disgraceful holiday.

    • Hayley

      Your comment is a disgrace and also replicating misinformation!!! Talk about a Chilul L’Shem!!!

    • Hayley

      How dare you demean other peoples holidays. If you expect people to be tolerant of yours, be tolerant of theirs!!!

  • marc

    no big deal. it was kind of cute.

  • Melissa

    Antisemitism is NOT funny. I can’t believe this concept ever was approved. Sick.

  • Keith

    To double down on such a position, even after groups such as the ADL (http://adl.org/PresRele/ASUS_12/6176_12.htm) have called upon you to reconsider, is to take this beyond the realm of the unfortunate and to place it into the sphere of the deliberate.

    – You don’t have to be Jewish to find anti-semitism offensive.

    – Just cause you asked the black guy in your office doesn’t make it okay.

    – Holidays are not in competition with each other. (a religious holiday celebrating an event is not in competition with other religious holidays)

    Actions like yours create a culture of discrimination. It’s insidious and your advertisement raises age-old anti-semitic sterotypes about Jews and money. While you may claim that your original “inspiration for Hanukkah’s inclusion was anything but anti-semetic”, the end result was that you have used the Jewish holiday in an insensitive and inappropriate manner.

  • bullett

    Hey, even the Pope takes a nip every now & then, in my book it’s no harm done. Enjoy!

  • JJ

    Lets face it…IT”S TRUE…

    • HenryP

      Said the bigot.

    • gfr

      well i hope you can afford to buy all their stock….because you only one who will be drinking this

      • Hebrew Hammer

        Ha HA Ha! Face that!

      • Angela

        Trust me no one cares…

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