Families Scammed by AI Images That Promised Willy Wonka-Style Event

Willy Wonka event scam
The Willy Wonka experience as advertised, left, what customers were greeted with, right.

An event organizer used a set of fantastical AI images to promote a Willy Wonka-inspired experience but families were left disappointed when expectations did not meet reality.

Willy’s Chocolate Experience was organized this past weekend in Glasgow, Scotland but it ended in disaster when the cops were called after parents demanded refunds on their $45 (£35) ticket.

The organizer, House of Illuminati, promised a “journey filled with wondrous creations and enchanting surprises” and used AI images to illustrate what would apparently be there.

Willy's Chocolate Experience
From the Willy’s Chocolate Experience website.

Twilight tunnel

False Advertising

However, families described the event as “absolutely appalling” and a “waste of money.” Stuart Sinclair took to Facebook to describe the event as a “shambles.”

“It took two minutes to get through to then see a line of people surrounding the guy running it and complaining,” Sinclair writes.

What the event looked like
Stuart Sinclair.
Stuart Sinclair.
Stuart Sinclair.

He shared a series of comical photos that show a poor event that is anything but magical.

“[The] company started in November 2023 and is nothing more than an absolute con,” he says.

“The kids received two jelly babies and quarters of a can of Barr lemonade. Never seen anything like it. It was definitely an ‘experience’.”

Stuart Sinclair.

The event was canceled halfway through its opening day and has promised full refunds. A Police Scotland spokesperson tells Sky News that officers were called to the event and “advice was given.”

Sinclair, 29, traveled two hours from Dundee with his two sons and a four-year-old daughter.

“My little girl was a bit disappointed because she was looking forward to it as she’s only four, but the boys just laughed it off because of how bad it was,” he tells the British television news outlet.

The adverstisements were far from reality.

Organizers House of Illuminati have apologized for the debacle. However, questions have been raised as to why they chose to advertise with AI images. There were also suggestions that the accompanying text was AI-generated too with the hired actors saying they were given AI-generated scripts to read from. The same actors also say they haven’t been paid.

It’s not the first time AI images have been used to give a false impression. Uber Eats allegedly AI-generated images of food from restaurants that don’t have pictures — and got some of them wrong.