Willy Wonka is Watching You

Willy WonkaWhen it comes to high-profile marketing, could anyone ever top Willy Wonka? It was the legendary Wonka, of course, who stuck five golden tickets inside his candy bars and encouraged a sweets-crazed nation to run out and find them. And run they did. Remember how Veruca Salt’s father bought up millions of candy bars and hired legions of workers to open them? What a great way to move the merchandise.

And now, life imitates art. Clearly inspired by the film, Nestle’s UK division is embedding GPS trackers in six candy bars and distributing them across England. Buy one of the six, unwrap it and within 24 hours, the company’s prize patrol will show up and hand you the equivalent of $16,000 (in pounds, of course).

The contest, ominously named “We Will Find You,” isn’t without its detractors. The phrase “embedded GPS” is enough to alarm those prone to worrying about invasions of privacy, stalking nightmares and Big Brotherish conspiracy theories. Heck, even the word “embedded” makes some people nervous.

Nestle says it’s all in good fun. “We believe this promotion will particularly appeal to men, attracting them to the chocolate singles category and thus driving incremental sales,” said a Nestle representative.

Whether this kind of a promotion can increase sales long-term remains to be seen. It may end up being more valuable simply as a buzz-generating concept that lights up technology blogs. Guilty as charged.

Image: Wikipedia

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