Slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?

So, the majority of us will be familiar with the game “Would you rather”. It usually involves a group of friends asking extremely thought provoking questions to one another. Questions such as “would you rather fight one horse sized baby or fight one hundred baby sized horses”. Very thought provoking indeed! But I digress…..

Slapping Rihanna or punching Chris Brown was actually an ad ran on Snapchat to promote the game “Would you rather”. In case you haven’t figured it out, the advertisement callously referenced the violent assault conducted by Chris Brown on Rihanna all the way back in 2009. 10 years ago or not, the ad was extremely distasteful, and of course the twitter mob kicked up a storm! Someone else (and quite rightly so) kicked up a storm too…. Rihanna.

Rihanna released a lengthy statement on Instagram, and as you can imagine, things didn’t look great for Snapchat at this moment in time. What was Snapchats response to this mess? A spokesperson stated “This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service. We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process” (, 2019). Sorry or not, Snapchat paid a heavy price for the mistake – $800m to be exact, as the share price value plummeted.

Advertisements need to connect with people – whether that’s emotionally or through humour. There were a million other funny, quirky questions which could have been advertised to appeal to the humorous side of an individual. Instead, they tried to utilise shock marketing and it backfired tremendously.

If you run ads on your site from third parties, properly review it! As for the marketers behind the genius (not) ad campaign itself, I’d say it’s fairly easy to stay away from creating advertisements making light of domestic abuse. Get creative, sure, but as a marketer…. think of the consumer and the message.

George Wainwright

Mashable. 2018. Snapchat ad asked would you rather ‘Slap Rihanna’ or ‘Punch Chris Brown’. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 December 2019].

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