Roald Dahl's 1964 children's book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," introduced the world to Willy Wonka, an eccentric chocolatier who runs a renowned candy factory. Dahl's story inspired a 1971 film, which subsequently pioneered a line of Wonka-inspired sweets.
While Dahl penned the screen adaptation of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," the film's producer David Wolper approached The Quaker Oat Company with an idea to develop a Wonka-related chocolate bar. The Quaker Oat Company agreed, joining with Wolper Pictures, Ltd. to manufacture and distribute a Wonka bar. However, complications with the chocolate's formula halted production.
The Willy Wonka Candy Factory officially opened in 1983. Confections like Oompah Loompahs and Everlasting Gobstoppers directly referenced Dahl's imagined candies. In 1988, Nestle USA, Inc. acquired the Willy Wonka Candy Factory from the Sunmark company, expanding the Wonka brand to include classic sweets unrelated to the Wonka books or films. As of 2010, Nestle distributes Nerds, Sweetarts, Shockers, Spree, Pixy Stix, Laffy Taffy, Gummies, Runts, Bottle Caps, Fun Dip, Kazoozles and various chocolate bars under the Wonka banner.
To promote its Wonka Exceptionals chocolates, Nestle sponsored a Golden Ticket contest from February through August 2010. As in Dahl's book, specially marked Wonka Exceptionals chocolate bars included golden tickets redeemable for prizes.