The secret is finally out.
After a two-month, global treasure hunt, Volvo Cars of North America awarded a 30-year-old Virginia man with a Volvo XC90 SUV as part of its sponsorship of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The secret location? The Bahamas.
David Hutz, who lives in Herndon, VA, was one of seven finalists who embarked on the final leg of the hunt to search for the buried Pirates-branded SUV. But, Hutz wasn’t the only one to walk away a winner. In a twist to the hunt, the automaker awarded six finalists a new Volvo vehicle of their very own.
The journey began June 12 when Volvo unleashed an online treasure hunt, which concluded four weeks later and drew 52,000 participants in the U.S. and On Aug. 6, the seven finalists (the first to complete the hunt) traveled to a secret location to unearth the buried Volvo SUV treasure valued at $82,000.
Once at the Bahamas, finalists competed in a series of mental and physical challenges on the islands that either eliminated them from competition or advanced them to the buried vehicle. The clue-filled search conducted by foot, boat, motor vehicle and helicopter ended Aug. 9 after Hutz determined the final location.
Assistants then dug up the Volvo and presented Hutz with the keys. Afterwards, Volvo surprised the six hoodwinked finalists with booty of their own—keys to their own SUVs. TV spots, online banners, and a radio campaign supported. Irvine, CA-based Volvo and Euro RSCG Worldwide, New York, handled. Amsterdam-based Messner handled online materials.
Volvo wanted to engage consumers in a promotion that drove consumers to dealerships to obtain treasure maps and follow through on its Web site.
“This was the first time we did a major promotional activity like this with a major film and it worked out well for us by driving people to our dealers and to the Web site,” said Volvo spokesperson Roger Ormisher.
Revealing that all finalists won a Volvo SUV “gave us an extra p.r. push on the back end of the campaign to extend it,” he added. “It was a very Volvo thing to do.”
What’s next? Volvo will break a series of Webisodes chronicling the hunt which premieres online at Volvocars.us/thehunt on Aug. 25.
The automaker is one of a number of brands, including McDonald’s Corp., Masterfoods USA’s M&M’s brand and Verizon Wireless that partnered with Disney’s Pirates for promos (PROMO Xtra, June 15, 2006).
For more on the Volvo treasure hunt, see PROMO’s special report: Winning at Sweepstakes: How Top Brands Pulled Off Cool Campaigns.