You can just imagine the pitch meeting at Easyjet: “We’ve got this great venue for the next fashion shoot for our next in-flight magazine. It’s hip, it’s vibrant, it’s the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin”. Yes, the EasyJet Traveller magazine had photos of gorgeous models taken against the gorgeous backdrop of the gorgeous Holocaust memorial. Rumbled by the New Statesman, you have to wonder what they were thinking. Are they maybe rebranding completely so if you have sex in an Easyjet toilet (and good luck to you fitting in there), you become a member of the Mile Heil Hitler Club? Has a new kick-ass editor come in who feels there’s a market for pictures of duty free Neo-Nazi after-shave (“Goerring – pour homme”)? Today: ticketless travel and a £5 charge for extra-wide hand luggage, tomorrow: the world.
I presume it’s just a case that they didn’t think it through, didn’t quite realise that the photoshoot might be in poor taste. And I guess when you look at the full name of the memorial it’s easy not to realise its meaning. They probably had a conversation like:
PR: What do you think about taking the photos at the Foundation Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe?
Senior executive: The Foundation Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe? Can’t see any problems in that at all.
PR: Cool. I’ll meet you at the Foundation Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe.
To be fair, Easyjet made it clear they didn’t realise. They’ve apologised massively and withdrawn the pictures, replacing them with some great pics of clowns having a custard pie fight at Hiroshima (I jest of course). And I know some people will feel it’s important for that memorial not to be too taboo, it’s a structure, a sculpture, kids climb on it etc. But it is what it is – a place to commemorate the dead – and I’m sure no-one wants to be accused of dancing on people’s graves. Except for these people (found by @videogum).
The Holocaust is a very tricky area (see Wikipedia: “understatements”). Obviously as a Jew I can be bolder in what I say, I can even (maybe) get away with making some jokes. Would it be acceptable for me to say, even as satire, that I was worried that the PR at the Easyjet pitch meeting might even have said the Holocaust was a perfect match for the Easyjet brand because its transports were the very essence of No Frills. It’s a dangerous area, one that’s easy(jet) to get wrong. Although if you want my advice I’d say, as a general rule of thumb, linking sexy fashion shoots with brutal mass murder and genocide is probably something to be avoided. Probably.