Did anyone see Walker Crisps’ social media gaffe recently, involving a campaign based around selfies which backfired when trolls hijacked the competition?


Well if not, here’s a bit more about it.

Essentially, the campaign encouraged the public to share selfies of themselves on social media with the hashtag #WalkersWave, to be in with a chance to win tickets to the Champions League final.

Seems a creative and relatively harmless campaign doesn’t it?

Well, sadly not. When people began to upload inappropriate images – including those of serial killers, the campaign quickly took a turn for the worse.

How did this happen?

Well it’s all about consumer hijacking, and if you remember ‘Boaty McBoatface’, you’ll know this isn’t the first time it has happened.

With 90% of young adults aged 18 to 29 using social media (compared to just 35% of those over 65 years old), there’s no doubt that it can prove to be an invaluable tool in engaging with your target audience to boost awareness of your brand.

However, we can’t always control the public’s reaction to our creative social media campaigns. Walkers Crisps is a case in point.

But don’t let this put you off being creative – there are plenty of examples of successful campaigns out there.

All you need, as with any marketing campaign you carry out, is to do your research.

Think about what could potentially go wrong with your social media strategy or campaign, and plan for it.
Of course, you can’t think of every single thing that could go awry, but having a strategy for how to deal with something like the hijacking of a social media campaign by consumers, is vital.

Ultimately, the way in which you respond to a hijacked campaign will define you, not what actually went wrong (although you can expect a bit of flack).

In the case of Walkers, they were quick to bring an end to the campaign and issued a statement apologising for any offense caused.

Not only does holding up your hands in this way demonstrate honesty and transparency, it helps to ensure that there is no lasting damage to your brand.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many hundreds of marketing executives and managers your organisation has, making mistakes is human and happens to the best of us.

So long as there’s no malice in your intentions, crack on with your creative social campaigns – so long as you’re prepared for the public to hijack them!

For help or advice in relation to your social media strategy, or to find out more about our social media management services, click here.