The faces of Fred West and Jimmy Savile were inadvertently featured in an animation voiced by Gary Lineker after Walkers Crisps encouraged Twitter users to send in selfies.
The official Walkers Crisps Twitter account was offering football fans the chance to win Champions League final tickets by tweeting in a selfie along with the hashtag #WalkersWave.
But the campaign spectacularly backfired when members of the public sent in photos of serial killer West and prolific child abuser Savile, among others.
The faces of Dr Harold Shipman, thought to have killed between 215 and 260 people, and convicted sex offender and footballer Adam Johnson also featured in the tweets, which are no longer accessible.
In a video in reply to those who have sent in the “selfies”, Lineker says: “Thanks for joining the Walkers wave and celebrating the Uefa Champions League final.”
He then pauses, looks at the photo which appears in a photo frame he is holding and remarks to the camera: “Nice selfie.”
The photo then appears superimposed on to the head of a football fan taking part in a Mexican wave at the national stadium of Wales.
A Walkers spokeswoman said: “We recognise people were offended by irresponsible and offensive posts by individuals, and we apologise.
“We are equally upset and have shut down all activity.”
Lineker posted a cryptic tweet following the uproar.
He wrote: “Had an unusual day in some very strange company. I’m sure we’ll wave goodbye to them all by tomorrow.”
Famous faces including former US vice president Joe Biden, comedian Ricky Gervais and one-time viral singer Rebecca Black were also featured.