When you’re a large-scale international company, you have to put a lot of thought into your marketing campaigns. Each one is the work of dozens of people, and everything has to be checked over meticulously to make sure it’s perfect – no one wants to fuck up when everyone’s watching.
Which makes it all the more outrageous when something like this happens.
Basically, Walkers tried to launch a new campaign called the #WalkersWave, in which people were encouraged to tweet in a selfie for the chance to win tickets to this season’s Champions League final.
Those selfies would then be automatically cropped into a short video clip of Gary Lineker (who still insists he doesn’t shag crisps) holding the picture up and saying: “Thanks for joining the Walkers Wave and celebrating the UEFA Champions League final. Nice selfie!”
You know where this is going already, don’t you. You know exactly what’s happening here. You know that if you ask Twitter to send in selfies for a viral marketing campaign that will automatically be tweeted back out by the brand’s Twitter account, it will end up tweeting pictures of Jimmy Savile, Josef Fritlz and Rolph Harris.
And yeah. that is literally exactly what happened.
Serial killers Fred West and Harold Shipman also appeared in the campaign, along with some far less controversial, funnier entries.
The worst bit about it all, though – yep, there’s a worst bit – it was all beamed up onto four big screens in the centre of Cardiff.
There is a 30 foot tv screen in cardiff city centre displaying these In real time— D (@Darren1878nsno) May 25, 2017
Walkers have now apologised and pulled the campaign. A spokesperson told indy 100: “We recognise people were offended by irresponsible and offensive posts by individuals, and we apologise. We are equally upset and have shut down all activity.”
And while the crisp company seemed pretty mortified by the whole thing, Gary Lineker found a little bit of amusement in the whole situation.
Had an unusual day in some very strange company. I'm sure we'll wave goodbye to them all by tomorrow.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 25, 2017
The moral of the story is, as always, never trust anyone on social media. Ever.