ServiceNow’s new Willy Wonka campaign is sweet

(Reel Ad of the Week)

Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory has a new secret ingredient: workflows from ServiceNow. 

The leading enterprise tech company’s latest commercials dive into the tantalizing world of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, the world’s most imaginative CEO. Not all consumers are familiar with enterprise technology, but it sure is shaping the way work gets done. 

Although Wonka’s world is fantastical, the results he’ll enjoy thanks to the transformational power of workflows are very real indeed. They’ll simplify his supply chains and IT management, and provide employee experiences for his magical, giant geese. We also meet Wonka’s new CRO (Chief Reality Officer) named Maxine, a workflow expert who is excited to be singlehandedly doubling Wonka’s C-suite. 

The work targets CEOs and proves that a breakthrough, beautiful B2B campaign filled with product stories and stunning visual effects doesn’t have to be the stuff of pure imagination. 

Created by BBDO San Francisco, nine commercials explore different challenges faced by Wonka, from marshmallow pillow supply issues to pesky spy butterflies to coconut snow explosions.  Watch below:

Behind the Scenes

A lot of work, care and love went into this ServiceNow campaign. Directed by Rattling Stick’s, Daniel Kleinman, every detail is lovingly crafted thanks to close partnerships with Warner Brothers, the Roald Dahl Estate, and the creative geniuses at Framestore.

The inner child of everyone working on the campaign was concerned with making sure Wonka’s character remained as authentic as possible as he entered 2021. 

We had a chance to speak with BBDO CDs, Corinne Goode and Kate Catalinac about everything that went into bringing something like Willy Wonka to life.

Who Plays Willy Wonka? How was the decision made to cast the actor? Did he feel pressure as only Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp have played him.

Corinne: There was pressure on every part of this campaign to live up to the books and movies we all love so much. This of course extended to Dominic Marsh, our actor.

Because Wonka’s character is all about originality, asking our actor to merely impersonate Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp felt wrong and, well, flavorless. We asked him to bring Wonka’s sparklingly odd perspective to a 2021 world. 

How challenging was it to sell this concept? There are a lot of moving parts with Warner Bros and Roald Dahl.

Kate: It was challenging to sell this concept because of the layers it involved. But, our partners at ServiceNow completely shared our view that if we want to show the true power of workflows, we should unleash them upon the most perplexing and amazing business of all.

And there’s no more iconic or complex business than Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. We were lucky to have clients with exactly the same appetite we had for breakthrough B2B work. Turns out a B2B campaign filled with magic and wonder doesn’t have to be the stuff of pure imagination. 

Production wise how long did it take? Was it shot against green screen?

All-up, production took four months. We used a combination of practical elements, giant set builds and VFX. Daniel Kleinman brought so much imagination and ingenuity to the project and his Prague-based team of carpenters and model makers absolutely blew us away. 

The construction of thousands of practical elements left us with delightful emails about urgent lollipop selection and chocolate river viscosity that we will treasure forever. 

The campaign will cause cravings across social, digital, TV and print. It’s of course our Reel Ad of the Week.

One gripe – Where are the oompas?


CLIENT: ServiceNow

  • Chief Executive Officer: Bill McDermott
  • Chief Marketing and Communications Officer: Alan Marks
  • SVP, Brand Marketing: Jim Lesser
  • VP Global Brand: Vasken Guiragossian
  • Sr. Director, Brand Operations: Jenny Salcedo
  • Director, Global Brand Strategy: Heather Kattner
  • Sr. Creative Director: Hubert Shum
  • Creative Director: Kenny Chan

AGENCY:  BBDO, San Francisco

  • Chief Executive Officer, San Francisco: Matt Miller
  • Creative Director / Copywriter: Kate Catalinac
  • Creative Director / Art Director: Corinne Goode
  • Executive Producers: Patti Bott and Stephen Spesh Kay
  • Business Affairs Manager: Jacqueline Djanikian
  • SVP, Group Account Director: Ashleigh Serrao
  • Account Director: Kyle Rodriguez
  • Account Supervisor: Kimberly Bodker

PARTNER: The Roald Dahl Story Company

  • Sr. Partnerships Manager: Alice O’Brien
  • Campaign Manager: Clare Jones
  • Partnerships: Grace Tedstone

PARTNER: Warner Bros.

  • VP, Global Product & Licensed Advertising: Sara Berba
  • Campaign Manager: Greg Bass


  • Director: Daniel Kleinman
  • Executive Producer: Jeff Shupe
  • Producer: Johnnie Frankel
  • Line Producer: James Hatcher

EDIT: Work Editorial

  • Editor: Jono Griffith, Leah Turner
  • Assistant Editor: Miles Watson, Sidney Williams
  • Executive Producer: Marlo Baird
  • Producer: Brian Scharwath


  • Creative Director: Alex Thomas                                                
  • Executive Producer: Pete King
  • Director of Production: Carla Attanasio                                 
  • Producer: Jeff Atherton                                               
  • CG Supervisor: Christian Nielsen                              
  • Production Coordinator: Diego Bonora                                                  
  • Set Supervisor: William Bartlett
  • Colorist: Beau Leon
  • FX: Cosku Ozdemir
  • Groom: Gabriela Ruch Salmeron
  • Concept: Paul Chandler
  • Lead Compositor: Alejandro Villabon
  • Flame: Sarah Marikar

AUDIO POST: Lime Studios

  • Engineer: Rohan Young
  • Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan
  • Senior Producer: Kayla Phungglan

MUSIC: South Music & Sound

  • Composers: Jimmy Haun, Jon Darling
  • Arranger: Robin Holden
  • Creative Directors: Dan Pritikin, Matt Drenik
  • Producer: Ignacio Zas
  • Executive Producer: Ann Haugen
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Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1