by Allison Otting August 28, 2014

5 PPC Marketing Lessons From Willy Wonka

You too can dance your way out of poverty with some PPC marketing.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was the original Hunger Games. Kids were stretched out with taffy machines, dropped down chutes into furnaces, and turned into blueberries. At one point Charlie and his grandpa are almost chopped up into little pieces by a giant metal fan. No big deal.

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As I was running through some of the character traits of each of the children competitors, I noticed that each of them had a lesson to teach. Roald Dahl probably didn’t intend for this to be one giant analogy about PPC, but I believe that it can help you avoid some of those huge mistakes that plague a lot of marketers, and inherit your own deadly chocolate factory.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the children of Willy Wonka, and what would make them all terrible PPC Account Managers (besides the fact that they are children).

Augustus Gloop

Augustus’s one goal in life is to eat chocolate, and it definitely shows. This gluttonous little German boy skips over Willy Wonka’s entire garden of sweets and runs towards the chocolate river (which he wasn’t even allowed to touch).

He then falls into the river, shoots up the tube and is taken to the fudge room, where he potentially falls into the boiler. Again, no big deal.

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So what would make Augustus a terrible account manager? While he’s scooping handfuls of chocolate into his mouth, his mother yells “Augustus, sweetheart, save some room for later!”

Yeah, you monster.

Augustus doesn’t have judgement as to how fast he should be eating, so how would he manage his ad spend? A major mistake that some people make in their PPC accounts is burning through their budget. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use your budget, but you want to make sure you know what’s eating it up.

Are you bidding on expensive keywords that aren’t even converting? How about using broad match? Don’t be wasting your spend on clicks that won’t do you any good.

Violet Beauregard

So obnoxious. This girl is a world record gum chewer. Extremely competitive, she’s been chewing the same piece of gum for three months. Can you imagine how disgusting that would be?

Anyway, Violet takes an untested and definitely not FDA approved piece of gum from our old friend Bill Wonka (is that too presumptuous of me?). Even after being warned, she chews and chews until she starts turning into a blueberry and is rolled away to be juiced.

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Violet’s issue is that she’s far too competitive. Her one concern is to be number one, at any cost! Unfortunately, this could reflect badly on her PPC campaign.

I would imagine that Violet would do anything to have her ad at the top spot on every page. I think this is all something we want, as long as we go about it the right way!

Instead of spending all your time on competitive bidding, put time into your quality score and conversion rate optimization. Wordstream has built a nifty graphic to help you understand how much a good quality score can affect your ad rank!


Here’s one of our articles that goes a bit more in-depth. Paying attention to quality score will help you keep your competitive edge, while also saving a few bucks.

Veruca Salt

The most spoiled of the bunch, Veruca is a bully of epic proportions. She’s always demanding things from her parents, and flips out when she doesn’t get what she wants.

Halfway through their factory tour, she tells her father that she must have one of the golden geese, as well as a bean feast (???).

Well, Bill says no and she ends up running around terrorizing Oompa Loompas. She finishes her musical tantrum by standing on the egg sorter, which determines she’s a bad egg and sends her down a chute to the furnace.

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Maybe her dad could have found a goose that lays gold eggs for Easter once they got back home, but that wasn’t good enough. She wants what she wants, and she does not want to wait for it.

This is one of the telling signs of a terrible account manager. PPC marketing should always be about the data.

Because you have all these metrics to examine, you can know how everything is working, and what’s working well. Veruca is impatient and illogical, so she’d probably keep making quick changes based on her gut.

Where does that leave you? Sitting with a lot of wasted spend and absolutely nothing to take away from it. Slow testing and data-driven decisions will make sure that every change is a smart one.

Mike Teavee

First of all, where does a name like “Teavee” come from?

Mike is a massive media consumer. He is obsessed with watching TV, and ending up on TV. Not only does he have a super obnoxious voice, but he’s extremely disrespectful and reckless.

When seeing “Wonka Vision’s” ability to send physical objects through TV, he JUMPS in front of their magic Wonka camera and is shrunken to the size of a G.I. Joe.

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My biggest beef with Mike is his complete disrespect for his mother and for any rules that she might impose upon him. He’s more of a “I can do whatever I want” type of kid.

The problem is, that doesn’t always fly with Google. They’ve got rules, and unless you follow them, your ads aren’t going to show.

Unbounce has a great article about common mistakes that will get your ad disapproved, and here’s another post that will keep you out of some more serious trouble. Following the rules, and respecting the AdWords mothers of our lives will keep you in good standing, and make sure your ads are actually showing.

Charlie Bucket

Besides being the subject of the worst song in the movie, Charlie is a pretty good kid. He follows most of the rules, takes care of his bed-ridden grandparents chocolate, and he really really wanted a golden ticket. When he does actually get it, the poor kid gets jostled around by a maniac crowd.

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Charlie ends up being the best kid in the bunch, though. He goes through the whole tour without being sent to some room where burning is involved, he is a pretty good rule follower, he’s patient and he doesn’t give away the everlasting gobstopper! Bravo, Charlie!

It’s for these reasons that Charlie would probably be a pretty good account manager. He exhibits almost all of the opposite traits of the terrible children:

  1. He makes the most of every cent he spends (the dang kid eats about one candy bar a year).
  2. There’s a desire to impress, while also doing it in a smart way! He’s not going to increase those bids unless he absolutely needs to.
  3. This kid is patient and humble. He wouldn’t make any decision without knowing that it was the right one. He’ll respect the data and let his tests run.
  4. He wants to respect all of the rules that Willy Wonka sets out. This is a kid that is trying to succeed without doing it in a shady way. The one time that he breaks a rule…
  5. …he literally does it to fly. He has ambition! I mean, he was chosen to inherit an international chocolate company! Unless Mr. Wonka has oompa loompas in charge of all his marketing, he must see something in Charlie.

You hear that, Charlie? You’ve got a job here at Disruptive. Unfortunately we can’t offer you a glass elevator.

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Can you think of any other pieces of the analogy that I missed? Did you like the Johnny Depp version better? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

Looking for image sources? You can find all of these delightful GIFs in these two articles, along with some creepy ones that I really wish I could have found a use for.

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Allison Otting

Allison Otting

Allison was our very first designer, and is our most tenured employee aside from our CEO. She loves improving customers' pages with quality, educated design, as well as building loads of beautiful image ads. She also heads all the design projects for Disruptive's own marketing.\n\nOutside of work hours, you can assume she’s updating her dog's Instagram, watching reality TV with her partner, or streaming her latest video game obsession.

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