Friday, October 31, 2008

The Most Horrifying Press Release EVER

Neighbors pray at a makeshift memorial outside Jennifer Hudson's family home. Photo from

As yet no one has responded to my call for publicity horror stories. I guess everything went great this year, notwithstanding the plummeting economy and layoffs at publishers and newspapers. But Darling Husband came to my rescue (as always), pointing my attention to The Bad Pitch Blog.

Y'know how you're supposed to make your book or product newsworthy by relating it to some current event? (You don't? Well, you are, and a great way to monitor news related to your topic, and journos/blogs covering it is to sign up for Google Alerts.)

Well, some enterprising ghoul decided to shill a shotgun rack (!!!) by tying it to the ghastly murders of singer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. Here's how the original press release (since amended in response to general outrage) blasts off:
Chicago, IL (MMD Newswire) October 28, 2008 -- Tragedy strikes in a Chicago home leaving 3 people dead and an Oscar winner forced to identify the bodies of her family.

Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother were gunned down in their home Friday. Could an invaluable device have saved their lives? It's called The BackUp and it is a bedside shotgun rack.
In addition to its complete absence of taste, the press release omits some salient facts:
  1. Chicago bans handguns (and presumably shotguns).
  2. Guns should be locked away in a home with children.
  3. Per this timeline, the murderer hit the adult victims by shooting through a door around 8-9:00 a.m., when neither was in bed.
A Chicago Tribune story contains this tone-deaf bit of spin:
A. John Peters, president of Home Back-Up Protection, said Tuesday that he didn't issue the news release to capitalize on the Chicago family's pain.

"I really feel sorry for these people," said Peters, 60. "I just don't want this to happen to someone else. Sometimes I think people need to be hit between the eyes."

1 comment:

Eric Riback said...

"Sometimes I think people need to be hit between the eyes."

Please consult Dick Cheney.