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WWE News: Controversy arises after Chris Benoit is featured in advertisement for snack brand

  • Disgraced WWE wrestler Chris Benoit was featured in a top snack brand's marketing campaign which in turn led to severe backlash online.
Johny Payne
Modified 26 May 2017, 09:59 IST
Famous football star Gary Lineker starred in the video that used Benoit’s image.

What’s the story?

A well-known snack brand found itself in the midst of controversy after Chris Benoit was accidentally featured in the brand’s marketing campaign.

British snack food manufacturers Walkers that was founded in 1948 found themselves in the eye of the storm after featuring the disgraced WWE wrestler in its new social media ad campaign.


In case you didn’t know...

Chris Benoit killed his wife and son on June 22nd, 2007 and committed suicide a couple of days later by hanging himself to death. The Benoit murder-suicide is considered as one of the darkest incidents in the professional wrestling community.

Police investigations that followed revealed that Benoit’s crime may have been influenced by the depression and brain damage he’d suffered from several concussions sustained over the course of his 22-year pro-wrestling career.  


The heart of the matter

Fast-forward to the here-and-now, Walkers initiated a marketing campaign whereby users could win tickets to the UEFA Champions League finals by tweeting selfies using the hashtag #WalkersWave.

The campaign wasn’t out of the ordinary from the run-of-the-mill promotional tactics prevalent in today’s advertising industry however, certain netizens chose to indulge in actions that would eventually lead to the Benoit controversy.

Several users started tweeting photos of famous criminals and murderers with the aforementioned hashtag, including photos of Chris Benoit. Walkers would then feature the photograph of Benoit in a video with football star Gary Lineker.

What’s next?

Walkers has now taken down the controversial marketing campaign, besides apologising for the incident.

Author’s take

I’m not one to wag an accusatory finger at anyone, but one would expect an established, global giant such as Walkers to exercise a modicum of caution before doling out such a controversial advertisement on an international platform.

For those unaware, the snack brand is one of the most popular in the world and considering that I think it’s safe to assume they can hire a decent advertising agency to help with their marketing campaigns, can’t they?

Nevertheless, the internet trolls – as funny as they feel popularising known murderers is – the Benoit incident is nothing to joke about, and it truly is a shame to see people use the anonymity offered by the internet to indulge in such juvenility. 

Published 26 May 2017, 07:33 IST
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