Candy factory giveaway? What to know about 'Gold Ticket' treasure hunt from man who founded Jelly Belly name

ByKristen Sze KABC logo
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
What we know about candy factory giveaway
The man who named Jelly Belly, David Klein, talked to us about his nationwide, Willy Wonka-style "Gold Ticket" treasure hunt and what exactly you would win.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- A contest to win a candy factory went viral when David Klein announced the nationwide "treasure hunt " in a video message online.

Klein is known for naming the Jelly Belly brand.

Klein said the big winner will walk away with the key to their very own candy factory. Thousands of dollars in prizes are also up for grabs, but what exactly are the details here? We talked to Klein to get some answers.

How do you enter?

Klein set up a website where you can "join the treasure hunt." However, the site constantly crashes and people have had issues when they are trying to buy a "gold ticket." Klein says it's because of incredibly high traffic.

How do you win?

Klein says gold tickets are being hidden in secret locations throughout the U.S. You have to buy a gold ticket to get access to the clue. Clues in California and Florida are both sold out. Klein says there is a max of 1,000 entries per state. "You will be looking for a Gold Ticket in the form of a necklace with a tag that includes a code you need to use to verify your find. Winners will receive $5,000," according to contest rules. Each state's winner can then take part in the ultimate treasure hunt to win the candy factory.

How much does it cost?

$49.98. That gives you a riddle which is supposed to lead you to the golden necklace.

Why the specific $49.98 cost for a riddle?

"We felt that was a very fair price that we needed to cover the cost of going to 50 states," Klein said. "We spend days wondering where's the best place in that state to hide (the necklace)."

What will you win?

If you find the gold necklace in your state, you need to email the code to to verify its legitimacy. Klein says you will win $5,000. Treasure hunt winners will then take part in the ultimate treasure hunt where you win one of Klein's candy factories in Florida - however, the factory is still in development. Klein said along with the factory, you will get a candy-making course at University Of Wisconsin-Madison - your expenses to get there will also be covered - although it's unclear how COVID-19 will impact this. Also, Klein says "this might be the most important thing. They're going to get my time. I'm going to be their mentor. I will be available 24 hours a day to answer any questions, help them launch new products, help them name products, show them how to get their products off the ground."

What happens after I win the candy factory?

Klein says "there probably will be some taxes that will have to be paid" on the property and to consult your accountant. You will also hire your employees.

Why run the contest?

At nearly $50 a riddle with a max of 1,000 per state, the gross profit comes out to nearly $2.5 million. However, Klein says most of that money is going back into the contest but did not specify on details. "We're not doing this for profit. We're doing this to create an atmosphere that this country sorely needs. Profit has not even entered into our equation," Klein said. "If we break even I'll be very happy. The cost of running this is astronomical."

Is this legal?

Klein says he's checked with state officials to make sure he can operate this contest.

Is the contest affiliated with Jelly Belly?

We cleared up the confusion. Jelly Belly is not associated with the contest. Klein worked with the family of Jelly Belly from 1976 to 1980, before the family bought the trademark for the name.