Volvo's Hunt is too hard for finalists

Back in the day, we imagine that a failed quest to find lost treasure would result in scrubbing the deck or walking the plank, but in the 21st century, you merely get a do-over. Those clever Swedes were too much for the 21 finalists for Volvo's hunt for the lost $50,000 and the key to a new XC90, as the treasure was left undiscovered after the 24-hour deadline. The contest, which lasted a month and included 32,000 online entrants, was narrowed to a final list of 21 "pirates" from all over the world. As a result of the lack of sleuth-power, Volvo's giving the finalists another run at the buried treasure, and this time the first person to solve the next puzzle gets the prize.

We knew this contest was going to be tough, but even Volvo was surprised that nobody came out on top the first time around. Maybe in the next round they'll put all 21 contestants in the back of an Ikea store to see who figures out how to leave without buying anything. Check out Volvo's press release after the jump.

[Source: Volvo]

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(IRVINE, Calif.) June 5, 2007 - Volvo Car Corporation is declaring a 'do over' in its global online treasure hunt after all 21 finalists failed to solve the final puzzle within the given 24 hour time limit this weekend. The 21 would-be pirates from all over the world gathered at their respective computer screens Saturday for their ultimate chance at claiming the prize┬ża trip to recover a treasure chest filled with $50,000 in gold doubloons and a key to a new Volvo from its watery depths 'somewhere in the world.' But it turned out that Volvo had all contestants 'at sea' with a final puzzle that proved too difficult for even the hardiest pirates.

"We really didn't see this coming," said Linda Gangeri, national advertising manager for Volvo Cars of North America. "Our Hunt has been tough from the beginning and we have been in awe of all the amazing puzzle-solving skills and sharp minds out there meeting us at every twist and turn. We really didn't expect to baffle our finalists with the final puzzle. Who knew a car company could keep 21 pirates from claiming precious treasure? For now, at least."

The wildly popular Hunt, a month-long multi-media campaign developed as part of Volvo's sponsorship of the 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 the Final Leg. All participating markets were represented in the Final Leg with the exception of Italy, who didn't have a participant submit a correct semi-final answer within the time limit.

The first of the 21 finalists to solve the 'do over' final puzzle Tuesday will be named the winner and receive a trip to the burial location to retrieve the chest filled with $50,000 in gold and a key to a new Volvo XC90. The finalists are:

Andreas Aigner, Austria
Konstantin Popov, Bulgaria
Erin Chock, Canada
Dennis Leifheit, Germany
Cheuk Fung Leung, Hong Kong
Andreas, Indonesia
Yukio Takai, Japan
Siew Hang Teh, Malaysia
Patricia Gabriela Medrano Picon, Mexico
Liss Johansen, Norway
Aaron Joseph N. David, Philippines
Jarosaw Nowakowski, Poland
Ciprian Constantin Grosu, Romania
Alena Zvereva, Russia
Wilson Teo, Singapore
Jungtae Ahn, South Korea
Maria Qvick Faxa, Sweden
Shih-En Chen, Taiwan
Geranun Jiraboonyanon, Thailand
Karyn Burgess, United Kingdom
Deborah LaValley, United States

Forty-three-year-old Deborah LaValley from Juneau, Alaska, is ready for the challenge. LaValley, who participated in last year's Hunt too, is thrilled with this year's game. "I can't stop thinking about different scenarios or possible locations. I really have no idea what to expect. I'm just excited that I get a second try at claiming the treasure."

Once a winner has been declared, both final puzzles will be posted on The Hunt Web site for all participants to test their puzzle solving powers one last time.

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