Treasure Hunting in NYC

By Amy Slife These days between the Twitter social media marketing initiatives run by JetBlue and Ellen, both of which you can read about in a previous blog post here, we’re largely not strangers to scavenger hunt-esque promotions, but treasure hunts take the concept of the social media scavenger hunt promo one step further. I was recently alerted to a press release for a treasure hunt in NYC. That’s right, a real live hunt for treasure in the Big Apple where a large wooden chest filled with $10,000 worth of U.S. one-dollar coins is said to buried somewhere in one of the five boroughs.

This treasure hunt, entitled We Lost Our Gold, is shrouded in mystery. Between the press release, website, video trailer and Facebook page (with 200 fans at present) there are a few takeaways that I’ve gathered. For one, this initiative hasn’t picked up steam yet, but I predict it will because it is unique and completely intriguing. Secondly, the folks behind the hunt are incredibly creative, and most certainly outside-the-box thinkers. For example, the hunt is being executed by puppets, yes, puppet pirates and a puppet ninja.

Now, don’t start digging random holes all over New York City and Central Park just yet. There will be eight clues in video format featuring who else, the puppet pirates and ninja, which begin on August 1. The We Lost Our Gold website claims video episodes featuring the puppet characters will contain every clue needed to find the treasure and provide a glimpse of each one of the 10,000 one-dollar coins. If you can’t wait until August 1 to check out more info on the hunt, the next trailer is marked for upload on July 5, so you can plan to get another glimpse of the coins and the puppets then.

Another piece of the puzzle that you should be aware of: the press release and website material claims the treasure hunt is neither a contest, nor a promotion. That spurs the question, what is it then? Could it be a tourism initiative for the City of New York similar to the annual Treasures of Paris event in France? This event, initiated five years ago by the deputy mayor of Paris in charge of tourism and new media, encourages exploration of the city and surrounding area in an interactive and unusual way, taking tourists and locals alike off of the beaten path. Or, could it be in coordination with a new and upcoming movie, or TV show? Or, maybe it really is just by a few people who wanted to experience the thrill of a treasure hunt and decided to share it with New Yorkers.

Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be monitoring for additional info on this cheeky treasure hunt, especially looking to see if we can catch a glimpse of who it’s organized by and what it’s for. Regardless of who it is being put on by and what it is for, the folks behind the hunt are employing new media, video and Facebook, in a very creative and engaging way to take viewers and treasure hunting participants beyond the realms of the online world. Will treasure hunts integrated with new media be the way of the future? After watching the trailer, and checking out the website and the We Lost Our Gold Facebook page, do you have any predictions or thoughts on the hunt? Better yet, if you’re a NYC local, do you plan to participate in the search for the treasure? Share with us in the comments below!