4 Companies That Tried Edgy PR Stunts Online (And Failed)

A social media presence has long been a requirement for any public entity, be they a government institution or a subpar sandwich chain. Which makes it all the more baffling when brands that never need to say anything beyond "Hey, chicken nuggets on sale!" still hop online to gleefully commit some pretty brutal faux pas. Like when ...

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4
Snapchat Thinks Domestic Abuse Is Hilarious

Imagine that you're an executive at Snapchat and you're about to unveil a brand new in-app game based on the classic "Would You Rather?" How would you advertise this new feature? There are countless options, but if you thought of literally anything besides "associate your product with an infamous domestic abuse incident," then congratulations! You beat the actual Snapchat executives.

<i>Ocean's 9</i> is Rihanna taking the Snapchat CEO for all he's worth.SnapchatOcean's 9 is Rihanna taking the Snapchat CEO for all he's worth.

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Snapchat offered the classic half-pology, claiming that the ad "slipped through their review process." But Rihanna was having exactly none of that, clapping back with, "Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain't my fav app out there! But I'm just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I'd love to call it ignorance but I know you ain't that dumb. You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!!"

She concluded by saying, "Throw the whole app-ology away." Because Rihanna has secretly been your dad this whole time.

3
New Zealand Police Make Memes About Notifying Next Of Kin

Aspiring comedians are often advised to base their material on what they know best, but that doesn't really work when "what you know best" is scraping the splattered remains of human beings off the road. Nobody told that to whichever unappreciated deputy runs the New Zealand Police Twitter account, though. So they wound up posting this:

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<i>*Jim face into the camera*</i>New Zealand Police Department*Jim face into the camera*

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Shockingly, making light of human tragedy with a GIF from a sitcom led some to accuse the department of insensitivity. They quickly apologized, and the account is now strictly business. Presumably they had to quietly delete a few on-deck zingers featuring Homer Simpson mugging in front of a fatal house fire, but that's the price we pay for "political correctness."

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2
Pizza Hut Mocked A Palestinian Hunger Striker

Most people try to stay out of the whole Israel vs. Palestine debate, even if their entire job is to stay in the Israel vs. Palestine debate. So when you're an entity that exists solely to provide people with shitty pizza, no one expects you to have an opinion. But in 2017, Pizza Hut just had to have themselves an opinion.

Hugely influential Palestinian Marwan Barghouti was facing intense scrutiny for allegedly cheating on a hunger strike while in an Israeli jail. Barghouti was leading a strike movement to draw attention to the Palestinian cause, but the Israeli Prison Service attempted to shame him by releasing footage of him sneaking cookies and a chocolate bar, as if he was in the world's most brutal fat camp.

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The images soon appeared all over the region's social media. The appropriate response from Pizza Hut's Israeli Facebook account would be nothing, because why on Earth would it ever be something? But somehow they simply couldn't resist, and soon sent edited images of Barghouti to their 100,000 followers, saying, "Barghouti, if you're going to break a strike, isn't pizza better?"

You don't want to know what Papa John's Israel said in the comments.Pizza Hut IsraelYou don't want to know what Papa John's Israel said in the comments.

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Outrage obviously followed, and Pizza Hut quickly backed down, offering the standard apology with a promise that mocking political demonstrators did not "reflect the values of our brand." Then they encouraged everybody to Occupy Wing Street and it all started up again.

1
Dove Makes Throwback Ads ... That Throw Back To Racism

Back in the day, soap companies used to advertise that they were powerful enough to scrub the melanin off black people, but we got off that whole kick sometime around the Civil Rights Movement.

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Buy all Pears KKKleaning products today!Pears Soap"Buy all Pears KKKleaning products today!"

Then Dove decided that it was time for a retro ad campaign, which was fine, and made it about celebrating the superior cleanliness of white people, which was less fine. They created this Facebook ad, which should have died about three seconds into peer review:

We don't think you got the joke. It's because black people <i>are like dirt</i>, you see? -- a multi-billion-dollar company's ad department Dove"We don't think you got the joke. It's because black people are like dirt, you see?" -- a multi-billion-dollar company's ad department

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After the inevitable complaints, Dove issued an apology, saying they'd "missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully." Which is a little like saying you "missed the mark in representing Christianity thoughtfully" after burning a cross on somebody's lawn.

Stephan Roget does Twitter stuff over @StephanRoget, and does Cracked stuff over at right here! They are almost certainly not a Russian algorithm designed to undermine Western society with pithy observations about popular culture! Nyet way!

Let's keep The Office strictly in binge-watching format, especially just in case it's ever removed from Netflix.

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For more, check out 29 Huge Social Media Gaffes By Huge Companies and 6 Offensive Messages Hidden In Huge Marketing Campaigns.

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