The Bad Pitch Blog’s headline for this one really says it all: “The Bad Hitler Pitch (as if there was a good one).” Yes, some PR professional in the UK actually pitched a book with this amazingly dense come-on: “What do Andrea Bocelli, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Adolf Hitler and Svengali have in common? At first glance a blind Italian tenor, a Russian ballet dancer, a German dictator, and a fictional hypnotist seem to have little in common, but what they all share is an ability to transcend the ordinary and put their audiences in a trance.”
How offensive is THAT to anyone who lost a family member during the Holocaust, or worse, someone who SURVIVED the Holocaust? As the reporter who received this missive wrote back to the publicist, “Using Hitler in a pitch is the equivalent of tossing a live hand grenade into a crowded room, and that rarely is there an acceptable reason to do so.”
I have to concur on multiple levels that the absolute awfulness and blithe ignorance of this publicist is breathtaking, yet his/her CEO actually tried to defend their position and use of this analogous quartet: “Although considered an unskilled orator, there was something in his cadence and speaking demeanor, some experts believe, that caused this. Hitler most certainly ‘transcend the ordinary.’ Is it ‘ordinary’ to slaughter 6 million people?”
After wiping the latte off my keyboard at the snort of disbelief this breathtaking exaample of bad taste provoked, I was pleased to see the intrepid reporter reply to him thusly: “Really? If by ‘the unexpected ways trances affect our everyday lives,’ you mean, ‘killed off most of my family through mob violence and systematic murder in concentration camps,’ then yeah, wow, that ‘trance’ totally affected some everyday lives.”
Great way to further the reputation of publicists, huh? “Flak” fits this one like a tailored brown shirt.