The mission is to locate a wallet-sized piece of wood hidden somewhere on the surface of the Earth. It was placed in its hiding spot by two adventurers who rappel the world’s highest waterfalls and hike into erupting volcanoes for fun.
Sorry, escape-room and geocache aficionados, this one may be over your head.
U.K.-based high-tech sportswear brand Vollebak has devised a fiendishly difficult treasure hunt that actually had its soft launch 18 months ago. That’s when Jason Fox and Aldo Kane, a couple of former Special Forces soldiers, secreted away the diminutive prize on some underwater boulder in a remote corner of the globe.
Aspiring treasure hunters, prepare to scuba dive. Continent: Unknown.
The young startup, in its first advertising stunt, released the cryptic, vertigo-inducing short film above, which contains the only clues available to help solve the puzzle and win a lifetime supply of Vollebak products.
The mini-movie, from Oscar-winning documentary director Orlando von Einsiedel (Virunga, White Helmets), uses a GoPro to capture the journey of Fox and Kane from the perspective of the golden ticket itself, a carved Bocote rosewood sculpture dubbed the “Vollebak Extreme Discount Card.”
Whoever exhumes the custom-built carving, which the brand says is impossible to create a forgery of because of its “unique swirling grain,” will have all the Kevlar hoodies, solar-charged jackets and night-visibility gear one can handle. (The apparel is designed for men, according to the company’s website, but what happens if a woman gets there first? Extreme activewear must be unisex, right?)
Anyone who’s so inclined to try to solve this mystery will have to start with the video. There are glimpses of forests, caves, mountains, icy tundras, bodies of water, violent weather and Fox and Kane taking a leak off a cliff somewhere along the way. These two dudes, it should be noted, likely landed this gig because they’re ex-military operatives who discovered Captain Kidd’s 17th Century treasure off the coast of Madagascar and broke world records for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. (They’re also Vollebak endorsers).
They’ve gone the distance, in other words, they know about hiding places, so they did not set out to make this easy for you.
For those not in the ultra-adventure niche, Vollebak is a two-year-old brand founded by Steve and Nick Tidball, twin brothers and former creative directors at TBWA, to make advanced sports gear they couldn’t find on the market. Their splashy promo is in line with work they’ve done for other brands like the Airbnb Floating House and the Adidas Jump Store.
“Adventure has always involved an element of insanity and the unexpected,” says Steve Tidball. “It requires bravery, experimentation and heading into the unknown because that looks like the most exciting place to go.”
“On a timeline of human history we’re still in the dawn of adventure,” he says in a statement. “We’re not ready for Mars yet, or the stars beyond it. We’re still just breakable, excitable human bodies riding giant waves, climbing rock faces with our bare hands and running across deserts because they’re there. So burying treasure is our way of adding a little extra fun while we’re waiting for our seat on a space rocket.”