Skip to main content

Is all publicity good publicity? As it turns out, YES!

By Beth Colmer
05 March 2024
Consumer Campaigns & B2B

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you’ll have heard about the recent, disastrous, and most crucially, cancelled ‘Willy Wonka Experience’ from event organisers, House of Illuminati.

Billed as a must-see immersive experience which would encapsulate the magic of the movies and transport guests into a world of pure imagination and celebration of chocolate, tickets were £35 and the event promised a “Twilight Tunnel, “Enchanted Garden”, candy canes, chocolate fountains and dancing Oompa Loompas. Sounds delightful, right?

Within hours the police had been called and the event cancelled as eager families had arrived at an industrial warehouse in Whiteinch (Glasgow) to be greeted by a few plastic props, a small bouncy castle, some backdrops pinned against the walls and a handful of jelly beans.

Children cried, refunds were demanded, and a Facebook group was set up by furious families lambasting the organisers as cowboys and the event as a “farce”.

Fast forward almost a week later and the rhetoric is still running but has taken a different and far more positive turn. After countless memes (one placing Kate Middleton front and centre at the event) and micky takes on social media, a horror movie based on the event is said to be going into production, a ‘Willy Wonka experience’ has now been developed on Fortnite, the 16-year-old actor who played The Unknown is now a viral sensation and says the event changed her life, and the cardboard sign with ‘Event Cancelled’ scrawled in black pen has been sold on Ebay and raised over £1000 for a children’s hospital charity. 

After an initial apology, the event organisers remain silent, but it may be that they somehow rise from the ashes of their disastrous attempt to be heroes as having done more good than harm. Perhaps just don’t buy a ticket to any of their events…