In partnership with Disney's upcoming "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," Volvo Cars is unveiling an online treasure hunt for an actual real buried XC60. I came across it in a TV ad that pointed to the contest site.
The premise is that players use an online treasure map, unlocked with a secret code they pick up from their nearest Volvo dealership, to puzzle through a series of riddles. Once they've entered the code, entrants will be sent e-mails with riddles and clues, which will be mirrored on the Web site. Once a person solves a puzzle, they move on to the next level. The first three players to solve all 15 puzzles will progress to the finals, where they'll compete against finalists from Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and Austria. These seven will take part in an undisclosed "Event," which, if I were Volvo, I'd film and incorporate into later marketing efforts.
Needless to say, the effort is initially aimed at driving traffic into Volvo dealerships (dealers should love it), and also creating interest in the Volvo brand. Are online puzzle-solvers in Volvo's demographic? The look and feel of the site, as well as its premise, is uncannily similar to the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google.