AI is used to dupe families into Willy Wonka Experience fiasco

Occurred: February 2024

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Families were scammed by a Scottish 'entepreneur' who used AI-generated images to promote an 'immersive' Willy Wonka-themed event in Glasgow that was described as an 'absolute shambles'.

Billy Coull promised that his Willy's Chocolate Experience would be a 'whimsical' place 'filled with wondrous creations and enchanting surprises at every turn!' But a closer look at the promotional images revealed AI-generated spelling mishaps, with one image promising 'encherining entertainment' in 'a pasadise of sweet teats'. The event was described by one customer as little more than 'an abandoned, empty warehouse'. 

Following complaints from parents, the Experience was cancelled mid-way through the day and the police were called to the event to mediate the demands for compensation from disappointed parents, according to the BBC. Tickets reputedly costs up to GBP 35.

The poor quality of the marketing images and copy and the derisory nature of the event prompted commentators to express concerns about the extent to which AI is being used to hype products and cut marketing costs, frequently with little or no quality checks. Rolling Stone subsequently reported that Coull also had a track history of selling AI-generated vaccine conspiracy books.


Operator: Billy Coull
Country: UK
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Prompte event
Technology: Machine learning
Issue: Ethics/values
Transparency: Marketing


Page info
Type: Incident
Published: February 2024