Pinellas Park snub part of broader, controversial Wodka Vodka billboard campaign
Wake up and good morning. When you're a no-frills town -- a "Rodney Dangerfield" of cities -- like Pinellas Park, then publicity of almost any kind is good news. That's the thinking at least since the edgy Wodka Vodka billboard in Hillsborough County (photo above), part of a national advertising campaign, touts its product with the headline Hyde Park Quality... Pinellas Park Pricing.
According to Tampa Bay Times staff writer Anne Lindberg's story here, Pinellas Park officials are brushing aside any indignation and looking at the bright side. "If the want to put a billboard up in front of International (Plaza) saying we've got better prices, come on down," Pinellas Park city spokesman Tim Caddell told Lindberg. The city's now got its own LED signs ablaze with phrases like "Hyde quality, low prices, shop Pinellas Park."
That's probably making the best of the billboard smack.
Given Wodka Vodka's budget booze billboard reception elsewhere in the country, Pinellas Park got off easy. In New York City, two Wodka billboards have angered locals. Consider:
In February, a day after Bronx community leaders blasted this billboard (above) -- Escort Quality... Hooker Pricing -- with its pitch about prostitution, the sign came down. But he same billboard was still up in Manhattan along the West Side Highway, according to this New York Daily News story.
Late last year, this Manhattan billboard (above) was widely criticized as anti-Semitic for featuring an Afghan hound wearing a yarmulke and a chihuahua wearing a Santa hat with the phrase Christmas Quality... Hanukkah Pricing. After complaints from the Anti-Defamation League, the ad company said it would remove the sign.
Wodka Vodka seems to have a formidable ad budget given all these lowbrow billboards, including Lobstah Quality... Chowdah Pricing. The company behind Wodka is a pink sheet traded New York firm with a $1.40 share price called Panache Beverages Inc. It specializes in branding Wodka, Alchemia Infused Vodka and Alibi American Whiskey spirits. The Wodka Vodka campaign that Pinellas Park finds itself in is part of the company's marketing focus on Florida, New York and California, says this Zacks equity research report. Panache posted a loss of more than $1 million last year.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times