Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (starring Johnny Depp, obviously) has always been one of my favourite films- such a child at heart!!
This version was released when I was nine. I would have been sitting in front of the TV drooling over all the delicious chocolate and sweets, desperately wanting little Charlie Bucket to find the last golden ticket. Twelve years on, I’m not afraid to say I still love the film however I am watching it from a PR and marketing perspective… yes, my Saturday nights are exciting!
This is totally my own opinion, after all I’m only a final year student, I’m an amateur but from my placement year working in a marketing department I think businesses could learn a thing or two from this fictional character.
- Being the best
Aside from the catchy songs that I sing along to, every decision Willy Wonka makes shows us that he’s entirely focused around being the best. As the saying goes ‘businesses should “be the cheapest or be the best”. With all the success Willy Wonka has he still recognises the need for cheaper products e.g. when he creates high-quality Everlasting Gobstoppers specifically “for children with very little pocket money”, transmitting a chocolate bar by television, and a stick of gum that tastes like a three-course meal. He makes sure that he is front-page news; fame is at the heart of what he is trying to do and he wants the promotion to be talked about, shared and trending.
- Competition is fierce
He closed the gates of his factory for good merely because competitors kept stealing his recipes, this as a result shows us just how advanced he was in his thinking in comparison to his competitors. Now, I wouldn’t say that it’s a good idea to close up shop just because you have competitors but this is why we have creative marketing strategies, to make us ‘stand out from the crowd.’ The lesson from Willy is that if you do not have a plan for improving your current products or services and developing the next game changer in your industry, your competitors probably will.
- Re-opening and the media
A great creative idea will always capture the imagination of the media and echo with the audiences. What other way to do this than to hold a good old competition. In the world of social media today we see competitions for winning literally EVERYTHING from TV’s to Holidays to a huge makeup give away and the thing is, does anyone ever actually win the prizes? Is it a tactic to gain more followers and raise more brand awareness on particular social media platforms? Surely someone is going to catch on to this! The beauty Willy Wonka’s competition was that he didn’t really need his target audience to do anything, except buy as many chocolate bars as they wished to find the golden ticket, then again for any child this would be a dream, so it’s no chore!
He relied on the media like newspapers, television news and brochures. As soon as the word got out people of all ages were delving through stores in search for one of the five select Wonka bars, sales went up and profits surged!
- The Golden Ticket
Considering the fact that no member of the general public had ever stepped foot inside the chocolate factory, limiting the number of tickets to 5 meant that Willy Wonka automatically created a demand and major FOMO (the fear of missing out) in winning a golden ticket, it nearly becomes feverish. It created a buzz and had got everyone around the world talking about it. It was as if it was something that money couldn’t buy, you just had to believe in hope!
As I said, Willy Wonka and his marketing strategy are fiction and not everything he does works in the real world. I mean, if companies could hire Oompa Loompa’s instead of people we would all be in trouble! However I think this is a fun way of looking at the opportunities for marketing and improving performance!
CHOCOLATE DOES! Go on, have that chocolate that I have been tempting you with this whole post.
Laura Duffy is a final year Public Relations Student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Instagram @laura_duffyy and on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-duffy-8803b7105/