Learn Marketing Basics From Willy Wonka!
by Josh Amidon
The recent death of comedic genius Gene Wilder pushed me to re-watch one of his career highlights, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, and there’s a ton to offer in the way of marketing advice.
(Fun Fact: Re-watching it as an adult, I’m still terrified of the Oompa Loompas)
For those who might not remember (or the poor unfortunate souls who’ve never seen the cinematic masterpiece that is Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory), let’s review – shall we? A world famous “chocolate factory” owned by the crazy Mr. Wonka offers the once in a lifetime opportunity for 5 lucky members of the public to enter his factory and witness the magic of candy making first hand. The public goes wild and chocolate bar sales reach an all time high. What follows is an insane amount of buzz about a little piece of paper called a "Golden Ticket."
Why was this promotion so successful?
- Mr. Wonka was a supply and demand genius. He limits the supply of tickets to only 5 people. On top of that, he was offering something no one else could – a tour of his factory.
- Branding wasn’t lost on Mr. Wonka. Willy was quite the showman, much like Steve Jobs and Apple, he was his chocolate factory’s brand. Marketers agree, there’s only 5 brand types your company can fall into: Competence, Sophistication, Excitement, Sincerity and Ruggedness. With that said, this chocolate company’s brand is firmly in the excitement category – given Willy’s history of theatrics, hype and quirkiness.
- Mr. Wonka timed the promotion perfectly. He waits until enough lore has been built around his factory before producing a giveaway. And the spread of tickets is smartly placed so that there's enough time for media outlets to report on the events and allow the “hype” train to build momentum. At the same time, Mr. Wonka does not allow the contest to drag on and lose momentum.