Manufacturing’s Willy Wonka Moment: The Keys to a Candy Factory Are Up for Grabs
In a scenario reminiscent of Gene Wilder’s classic portrayal of an eccentric but reclusive candy magnet in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, real-life “Candyman” David Klein is giving one lucky person the opportunity to win a candy factory. It’s a public relations (PR) stunt complete with elusive golden tickets, mysterious clues, and plenty of sweet treats! Contestants must pay to play, but with limited entries spread across all 50 states, the odds of winning the keys to a new candy empire are better than you might think!
It’s a real-life Willy Wonka contest
Klein’s real-life Willy Wonka tribute pays homage to the idea that anyone can become anything with a little luck. As he retires from the candy-making industry, Klein is giving anyone a shot to be his replacement, much like his cinema inspiration.
The contest borrows heavily from the movie (and book). According to Klein, instead of eating candy bars to unwrap a golden ticket, there’s a dog-tag style golden necklace hidden in every state. To get a clue as to its location, contestants must pay an entry fee of $49, and contestants are limited to 1,000 per state. Assuming every state gets in on the game, that’s 50,000 people vying for 50 golden necklaces, each valued at $5,000.
Finding a necklace is just the start, however! From the 50 winners (one from each state) to find their state’s golden necklace, a single winner will be chosen to inherit one of Klein’s candy factories — a 4,000 square-foot property in Florida, alongside an all-expenses paid candy making course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The contest officially kicks off September 30, 2020, when the first clue will be revealed. People have already shown overwhelming support, reportedly crashing the contest website several times shortly after it opened for registration.
An air of mystery hangs over the contest
While many details about the Willy Wonka-style contest are clear, many more remain obfuscated. The condition of the factory is unknown, and no contest terms or conditions have been released to individuals who have signed up. Klein also has admitted that not all of the golden necklaces have been hidden across all 50 states, leading many to speculate on the forethought to the contest.
There’s broad confusion about who’s hosting the contest. Klein founded Jelly Belly Candy Company in 1976, but hasn’t been affiliated with the brand since the 1980s. Jelly Belly Candy Company has distanced itself from the contest, clarifying that its factory is not the one up for grabs as the grand prize.
An opportunity or a debacle?
While the excitement of a mysterious contest and the prospect of becoming a candy tycoon have already enticed thousands into signing up, there’s skepticism about how a Willy Wonka contest will play out in real life. Inheriting a candy factory comes with tremendous burdens should the winner choose to get into the business. At the end of the day, candy making is still food manufacturing, and could pose more of a challenge than a fairytale fun time. That said, everyone thought old Willy Wonka was crazy, too.