5 ways to promote your business with treasure hunts

Gamification and specifically treasure hunts have quickly evolved into a successful tool to promote your company, services, products or points of interest. A treasure hunt is a great way to win respect and recognition of your audience, to attract and to retain your customers.

Treasure hunts are a form of immersive experience, especially when it combines offline and online actions. But it can be a bit tricky to create a successful scavenger hunt. If you want to create a treasure hunt, here you will find 5 examples of successful campaigns in different industries and how to make one yourself.

What is a treasure hunt?

A treasure hunt is «a game in which players act upon successive clues and are eventually directed to a prize». (Source) The medium for you clues can be anything that has enough audience reach: your social media channel, website and a mobile app.

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One of the most known types of treasure hunts is geocaching. Geocaching is «a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location». Another type of treasure hunts is Ingress. Ingress is a story-driven, real-world augmented reality game—which is short for “you install a game on your phone, and the game takes place in the real world so you have to get out of the house to play.” Ingress is GPS-based, which means that in order for you to play, you have to move around in the real world. As you approach portals, you can “hack” them for equipment, capture or reinforce them for your team. (Source) Both have a huge community: Geocaching has 15 million users worldwide and Ingress gained 8 million players in only 2 years.

Why do treasure hunts work?

First of all, a treasure hunt as a marketing campaign gives you instant user interaction. And who does not like to win prizes? Combine that with the gaming aspect of treasure hunts and you’ve got instant buzz on your hands, with a great potential to go viral. (Source)

Participants find the answers to your riddles and gradually uncover your storyline (if you have one) which makes the treasure hunt experience a great excitement. With scavenger hunts you can make your customers happy and in return they will be loyal to your brand and will definitely share their experience. If you encourage players to work in teams you will have instant word-of-mouth marketing. Offering both virtual and physical prizes can be a great incentive to get people interested in your hunt. Treasure hunts have all the potential to attract and engage thousands of people and that is it’s where marketing strength lies.

Examples of successful treasure hunts

Treasure hunts work for any industry if organized well. Let’s have a look at five successful cases

Music industry: Muse Ununited Eurasia treasure hunt

Treasure hunts muse

Muse (an English rock band) hid several USB sticks in a worldwide treasure hunt in seven cities: Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Dubai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and New York. With almost no advertising, the Ununited Eurasia treasure hunt quickly caught the attention of fans worldwide. And there it began!

Each USB stick had a code which a founder had to enter at Ununitedeurasia.muse.mu. Each code unlocked a certain part of the song ‘United States of Eurasia’. To unlock it completely, fans had to find all the USBs. Clues and locations of the USBs were released via the website.

FMCG: M&M’s “Find Red”


The «Find Red» campaign focused on a virtual treasure hunt in Toronto for M&M’s red character implemented into Google Maps. This digital treasure hunt started with a YouTube video of Red who got sucked into Google Street View. The Video had several hidden clues that would lead to winning a red Smart car. During the treasure hunt participants regularly got new hints on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, as well as the campaign official website. Organizers also used different advanced media, such as QR codes placed all over Toronto and UPC (The Universal Product Code) codes on M&M’s packages which added up to a total of 100 clues.


Sport Fashion: Nike’s Autographed Kobe 11

Koby treasure hunts

The NBA star Kobe Bryant and Nike organized a scavenger hunt for 20 pairs of shoes placed in 20 different cities around the world.

Nike and Kobe Bryant were posting clues via Twitter on where to find one of the 20 autographed sneakers.

Tech: Samsung’s Galaxy S6 launch

Samsung launched the UK’s largest physical and online treasure hunt ever via Twitter, called #GS6Ishere, a digital and social media campaign supporting the launch of the Galaxy S6. 8 Golden envelopes with free vouchers or the Galaxy S6 were hidden in different cities.

Throughout the hunt day Samsung gave several clues via a live stream from the venue. They issued a hidden Golden Envelope with 4 tweeted clues to help participants find the location. To win one, all you had to do, was be the first to find the Golden Envelope and follow the final instructions.

Sport: Tony Hawk’s worldwide scavenger hunt

Tony Hawk treasure hunt

The skateboarding icon Tony Hawk arranged for more than 80 boxes to be hidden in nearly as many cities throughout the world, from Oak Park, California to Brisbane, Australia. On the day of the treasure hunt, Tony started tweeting clues out with the city, a photo and a riddle or hint as to the specific whereabouts.
Then Hawk tweeted the finder’s’ photos to let everyone know the item was found.

Let’s summarise the lessons we’ve learned from these successful cases.

Creative idea & storyline

A creative idea is a must to make a truly immersive experience for your participants. M&M’s had a complete storyline and used various advanced media (QR and UPC) to provide players with clues.

Excited audience & significant reward

To involve people in the treasure hunt you need to ensure significant rewards for all the efforts your participants make. You can increase your audience excitement by teasing the hunt before it actually starts.

Create buzz

Use your social media channels, especially Twitter, to keep your players up to date with the latest news of your treasure hunt. Communicate with your participants and announce the prizes they’ve found.

The essence of a successful treasure hunt

The tool to create an immersive treasure hunt

If you want to go far beyond using only social media channels and you want to use advanced media and create your own complete immersive experience that unveils your storyline, the OJOO Design Studio is a great solution to make it come true.

How it works

The OJOO Design Studio is a platform where you can digitize your content and turn it into mobile and real-life treasure hunt. You do not need much time or any technical knowledge to make your social scavenger hunt. Just follow 5 main steps and copy paste your content:

Step 1. Choose the “Treasure Hunt” option to start creating your mobile experience and indicate where it will take place.

Step 2. Add your first location.

Step 3. Now it is the time to add your reward. You can choose if you want to include hints to help participants find your treasure. In the OJOO Design Studio you can add up to 4 hints with texts and images. Each hint will be given at a random moment of the hunt.

Step 4. Choose the look of your treasure hunt.

Step 5. Set the time frame for your treasure hunt if you need one and upload your creation.

The OJOO Design Studio supports various media such as QR, text, audio, video, AR and 360° that you can use to create immersive treasure hunts. You can use the Design Studio to create indoor hunts as well. In this case you can link your treasures or clues to iBeacons or simply upload your floor plan.

Are you ready to start creating your treasure hunt?