Jelly Belly Candy Company says a recent "treasure hunt" contest has caused some confusion surrounding the popular candy brand.
The contest was released last week and has since sparked interest across the country for what seemed like a children’s novel come to life - a famous confectioner holding a special “treasure hunt,” with a key to a candy factory serving as the grand prize.
David Klein, who calls himself the founder of “Jelly Belly” jelly beans, announced the contest via a press release this week, saying one winner could ultimately receive the key to a candy factory as part of the "ultimate treasure."
Jelly Belly said it is not affiliated with the contest.
"Due to confusion in the marketplace, Jelly Belly Candy Company would like to take this opportunity to clear up the misconception that it is involved with a contest that purportedly offers a candy factory as its grand prize," the company said in a statement. "Jelly Belly Candy Company, formerly known as Herman Goelitz Candy Company, has candy making roots back to 1869. It was founded by brothers Gustav and Albert Goelitz and remains family owned and operated today."
Klein is no longer affiliated with “Jelly Belly,” and now owns a candy company called Can You Imagine That Confections, based in California.
According to Jelly Belly, Klein was an independent third party when he came up with the name “Jelly Belly” and other marketing ideas in 1976.
"Jelly Belly Candy Company has not had a relationship with Mr. Klein since 1980 when it acquired the trademark," the company's statement read.
According to a press release, there will be treasure hunts in each state during the contest, with one winner in each state finding a “gold ticket” worth $5,000. Each of the winners will be eligible for the “ultimate treasure," which also includes "and an all-expenses paid trip and education to a candy-making university"
Klein posted on Facebook that the factory he plans to give away is located in Florida. Further information wasn't immediately clear.
The contest does come with a price tag, with entries costing $49.99 to enter the hunt, according to the press release. A limit of 1,000 participants will be enforced for each hunt, according to the hunt's Facebook page.
Other details about the promotion are scarce. A YouTube video explaining the contest has apparently been deleted, while attempts to access the “shop” on the contest’s website were also unsuccessful. The web page for the contest details returned a “500 Internal Server Error” message as of Tuesday evening.
Klein's partner in the contest, Stephanie Thirtyacre, had earlier posted on Facebook that the site was "overwhelmed with happiness" and crashed.
Klein also pushed back on claims the contest was not legitimate Tuesday.
"I believe in freedom of speech but to be called a scam is so wrong," he wrote on Facebook. "We will be removing members whose only intent is to take away any joy that this is giving everyone."