For its day it was one of the biggest marketing campaigns ever run – and it was meant to be the sales triumph of the 20th century.
The Quaker Oats Company had bought the rights to the Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and had everything planned for a spectacular advertising initiative – an incredible film absolutely packed with their product placement.
The book was re-named Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory for the 1971 film, in no small part due to the company’s impending new chocolate – the Wonka Bar. Quaker Oats invested US$3 million in the film.
The film debuted to mixed reviews and a tepid box office. It’s widely reported that Roald Dahl hated it. What happened next was even worse for the company. There was no chocolate to sell!