Volvo Promotion Treasure Hunters Discover A Real-Life $500m Spanish Shipwreck!

A treasure chest filled with $50,000 in gold doubloons and a key to a new Volvo? – Who needs it when there’s $500 million worth of priceless coins lying right next to it? In theory, Volvo’s treasure hunt adventure, which was designed to promote the latest chapter of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, was a good idea. The contest, which originally promised the winner a sea voyage to retrieve a pre-sunk chest full of cash goodies, was put on the backburner when Odyssey, the world leader in deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, found something better.

The “new” prize included a chest, which is thought to be from an old Spanish shipwreck, filled with $500 million in gold and silver coins. The area was immediately blocked off by the Spanish government hoping they could get a cut of the findings.Meanwhile, Volvo had to dig deep in their pockets and give the winner of the contest, 23-year-old Alena Zvereva of Russia the replacement $50,000 and the keys to a new Volvo. They are also wondering how they’ll retrieve the stranded chest of gold coins. The contest attracted more than 32,000 online contestants from 22 markets around the world. -Full press release and pics after the jump

Posted by Dani

Via: Motorpasion, Source Volvo


Controversy Sparked by $500 Million Real-Life Treasure Find
Adds New Mystery and Intrigue to Final Leg of Volvo's Online Hunt

In a twist worthy of any great pirate story, Volvo Car Corporation today upped anchor - at least temporarily - on the last crucial leg of its global online treasure hunt: the retrieval of a prize treasure chest filled with $50,000 in gold and a key to a new Volvo from the sea floor. The retrieval of the chest will hang in the balance until controversy dies down over the discovery of real life treasure by Volvo's Hunt partner, Odyssey Marine Exploration.

Earlier this year, Volvo selected Odyssey, the world leader in deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, to sink a treasure chest with one goal: to create an authentic, exciting treasure hunt to promote Disney's ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.' Veiled in secrecy, Odyssey scouted locations in the Western Mediterranean, finally zeroing in on a perfect spot off the coast of Gibraltar. They had planned to take the winner of The Hunt, 23-year-old Alena Zvereva from Ekaterinburg, Russia, out to retrieve the treasure from its secret location when the operation hit an unprecedented snag: Odyssey found real treasure. And a media storm ensued.

"We thought sinking a real treasure chest, filled with $50,000 in gold doubloons and a key to a new Volvo, and creating a global treasure hunt for 22 markets was challenging," said Linda Gangeri, national advertising manager, Volvo Cars of North America. "But that was, quite literally, a drop in the ocean compared to the storm our attempted retrieval process has stirred up."

While thousands of would-be treasure hunters from around the globe battled it out to find Volvo's prize booty, Odyssey struck gold and silver of their own in the Atlantic Ocean with the discovery of an estimated $500 million in coins from a deep ocean site the company has now code-named the ‘Black Swan.'

As soon as the discovery was made public, having been spotted depositing Volvo's treasure in an entirely different area, questions started circulating as to the real provenance of the ‘Black Swan.' Was it a Spanish shipwreck? Had Odyssey been working on shipwrecks in Spanish waters? Unable to reveal the exact location of the ‘Black Swan,' in the Atlantic Ocean because of obvious security reasons, and under a non-disclosure agreement with Volvo to protect the location of its treasure chest, Odyssey found itself in the eye of a media storm that has yet to abate. Reports have been widely circulated that a court in the Spanish coastal town of La Linea has issued an order for the Spanish Guardia Civil to detain any Odyssey vessel should it leave the port of Gibraltar, putting Volvo's retrieval plans on hold.

"When we discovered the ‘Black Swan,' international interest in the find was amazing," said Greg Stemm, real-life shipwreck explorer and co-founder of Odyssey. "Even though we have been very clear that it's in the Atlantic Ocean, outside any country's territorial waters, when Spanish authorities saw that we'd been out near Gibraltar in March, some unfortunately jumped to the wrong conclusion. Until very recently, we were contractually bound not to reveal our arrangement with Volvo, so without a real explanation of why we had deep-sea exploration equipment out there, it's easy to see how imaginations could run wild."

Whatever happens, Zvereva will receive $50,000 and a new Volvo XC70. Volvo, however, is not giving up on its retrieval plans yet and is committed to exploring every avenue possible to reclaim the chest from its watery depths.

"We wanted an adventure, and we certainly got one," said Gangeri. "Real-life shipwreck exploration is uncharted waters for us, and Odyssey did warn us that you never know what will happen out on the high seas. They have been an excellent partner throughout all this, and they helped make this contest one of the most authentic, exciting promotions of the year. Now, pirate story or not, we're putting everything we have toward raising a thrilling - and happy - ending."

About the Hunt

The wildly popular Hunt, a month-long multi-media campaign developed as part of Volvo's promotion of the theatrical release of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, attracted more than 32,000 online contestants from 22 markets around the world. Participants solved a series of puzzles that led to a semi-final puzzle, Puzzle 21: World's End, posted May 31. The first contestant from each country to submit the correct answer then went on to compete in one final online puzzle to decide the winner. All participating markets were represented in the final with the exception of Italy, who didn't have a participant submit a correct semi-final answer within the time limit.

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