How To Spot A Stupid Alcohol Marketer

A billboard for Wodka Vodka placed in the Bronx, New York has a headline that reads as follows:

"Escort Quality, Hooker Pricing"


Oddly, as you can see on the web page of the NY Daily News, the marketers of the vodka somehow found the gumption to try to sell their vodka in this extremely repulsive way, but couldn't quite get themselves to go the whole way and put a picture of an "Escort" on the billboard.

This kind of marketing would of course never occur in the wine industry. Why it would never occur in the wine industry is a very interesting question that I'm not yet concerned enough to think about. However, the fiasco and person-hopefully-about-to-be-fired quality of this vodka marketing campaign reminds me of the other ways in which wine would never be marketed:

1. With talking animals getting drunk as they play tricks and carryout hoaxes on dumb humans

2. With images of children gathered in an empty drain pipe with a bottle of their parents best wine, drinking furtively and for the first time and being surprised as the really delicious cassis, mint and vanilla notes in the wine.

3. With a guy in a truck drivers seat looking into the camera in the passenger seat and explaining he made the leap from beer to wine because it's less filling.

4. With an image of a man with middling looks pouring a glass of wine for a woman clearly out of his league along with the message, "Sometimes an average guy needs above average help"

5. With an image of gun toting duck hunters in a blind on a cold day sucking down Merlot and holding their rifles.

As it turns out there is a very well-developed, 1,500 word Advertising Code of Standards document for wine that was created by the Wine Institute. It is document that has been amended six times (most recently in June of last year) and conveys roughly 37 ways in which wine shall not be marketed.

The document has a number of different uses. In the first place it serves as an instruction manual for those in the high forehead community of the most basic things that might be found offensive in the marketing of wine. But just as important, it serves as a screen against charges that occasionally arise that alcohol marketers, including wine marketers, have no concern for the negative effects of their product and will market their product in any way whatsoever that leads to more sales.

Were the Wodka Vodka folks to have compared their brilliant ad campaign to the Wine Institute's Advertising Code of Standars they may have noticed that it certainly violated points i-1-G, i-7 and i-11, and possibly points i-1-E, i-3-C, i-9, ii-1-B and ii-5.

As a final note, if anyone is thinking that the marketers of Wodka Vodka didn't mean to be stupidly offensive, I offer this from the Daily News story:

"The creators of the ad stood by it, but said they’d be responsive to feedback.

“Listen, if it’s offensive it’s because the topic is offensive to people and we understand that,” said Brian Gordon, managing partner for Wódka’s marketing company, MMG.

Wódka drew fire from the Anti-Defamation League in November with its “Christmas Quality, Hanukkah Pricing” billboard."


8 Responses

  1. Nick - February 22, 2012

    That’s a pretty funny quote from the ad guy though. “Listen, if it’s offensive it’s because the topic is offensive to people and we understand that,”. okaaaay.

  2. Wine Harlots - February 22, 2012

    “Escort Quality, Hooker Pricing” does sound like something a Wine Harlot would dream up.
    The slogan is in poor taste, but what really creeps me out is the image of the lamb in a sombrero. Huh? What kind of perverted target market are they appealing to? [shudder].
    All the best,
    Nannette Eaton

  3. A Facebook User - February 22, 2012

    This is by far the best blog post I’ve read today, I’ve only read one blog post today and feel no need to read anymore! I think I’ll turn off my computer, go home and have a shot of Wodka Vodka with my pet sheep!

  4. Donna Thirkell - February 22, 2012

    The wine industry does do it.
    Examples:(taken from
    Bitch (which you could argue it’s a female dog but with the pink label, it’s obvious)
    Chateau Porneauxxx – from Bordeaux, France, not the San Fernando Valley.
    Stripped – with a red bra laying in the floor for a label.
    Booty Box – Mosel
    Vigna V’gina – Italy – which is repulsive –
    Don’t throw stones, the wine industry is just as bad – there should be an amendment to #7 in the code that the label not imply vaginas or porn.
    But of course I’ll be labeled as being smug, pre-menstrual, uptight female who never gets laid because I’m viewed as not having a sense of humor.

  5. Tom Wark - February 22, 2012

    With respect, the wine industry doesn’t even begin to approach the myriad and various ways spirits and beer makers promote their products with sex.
    Now, I’ll grant you that “Bitch” is a little crass. However, are you absolutely sure that “Booty Box”, “Stripped”, etc. are real?

  6. Sondra - February 23, 2012

    I had to go to the Daily News article to see if there was really a lamb – OMG. Remember the comedy film – all about sex or some such title? – the guy was in love with a sheep, took her to hotels? So maybe there’s a whole new escort service for the animal lovers. Got lamb has a whole new meaning, getting hooked up with one requires a whole lot of wodka!

  7. Doug Wilder - February 23, 2012

    Duck hunting with rifles? Now there is a challenge!

  8. Mr. Freeze - February 24, 2012

    tish, keep your rod tip up, you’ve got a big one on the line!
    (Donna, I think that post with the “new” wines was meant to be comedic piece, and not an actual rundown of new wines.)
    How ’bout “Parker quality, blogger price” …?

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