A Snack Brand Put Notorious Criminals in Its Videos in Spectacular Twitter Fail

Walkers doesn't think its selfie stunt through

Headshot of Tim Nudd

UPDATE: Walkers has now apologized and shut down this campaign.

Original story below:

British potato-chip maker Walkers Crisps crashed and burned on Twitter in stunning fashion Thursday, as the brand asked for selfies from followers and made videos out of them—not realizing that a number of the photos were of serial killers and other notorious British criminals.

Ignoring all best practices, it appears the #WalkersWave campaign was largely automated, with pics being rejected only if they didn’t register as faces to the software. That rudimentary vetting process failed miserably when pics of Harold Shipman (above) and Fred West (below)—famous serial killers—appeared in videos tweeted out by the brand.

The videos showed longtime Walkers spokesman Gary Lineker, a retired British soccer legend, holding up the submitted head shots, which also appeared doing the Mexican wave in an animated clip. Other criminals who showed up in videos included Rolf Harris and Akinwale Arobieke (aka, Purple Aki).

Walkers continued the campaign even as it moved to delete the more offensive videos. The brand has not commented publicly otherwise. Meanwhile, British Twitter had a good laugh at the brand’s misfortune.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.