“You have built a community in Grayson’s name and created cameraderie in his image. That this continues to be his legacy so many years after his vanishing is all he ever hoped for.” After digging a hole 27 paces away from a rock in Zion National Park (located at N 27’10.043″ W 113’10.650″), Laura Hall unearthed a letter bearing those words, along with a check for $100,000. This marked the conclusion of Levi Strauss’ cross-country treasure hunt that spanned the American countryside over six weeks.
It all began with a package asking the question “Who was Grayson Ozias IV and where is his fortune?” Over the next few weeks, players learned about the mysterious Grayson Ozias through a series of recordings left on wax cylinders. The messages allowed players to retrace Grayson Ozias’ journey to thirteen destinations across the country. At each location, they picked up artifacts from Grayson’s travels and met with a variety of challenges, including puzzlesolving in a county jail, strumming on a washboard while singing “When the Saints Go Marching In”, and telling tales by a campfire. After retracing Grayson’s steps, the first 100 players to correctly complete a quiz received the final clue to $100,000 in buried treasure. As the first to unravel the clue, Laura Hall received the honors of digging up Grayson Ozias IV’s fortune.
Over the weekend, I posted an article about Levi’s upcoming treasure hunt, the Go Forth Fortune Experience. The hunt is scheduled to begin at 5PM PST tonight. The treasure hunt raises a $100,000 question: who was Grayson Ozias IV, and where is his fortune? I received a few answers today in my mailbox, although the information I received raised just as many questions.
When I opened my mailbox this evening, I found a brown package from the Levi Strauss and Co. Archives in San Francisco, California bearing a logo with the words “GO FORTH.” Inside, the package included a photograph of Grayson Ozias IV with the address LEVI.COM/GOFORTH printed on the back along with a handkerchief bearing the question “Who Was Grayson Ozias IV and Where Is His Fortune.” In addition to the photo and hadkerchief, I received an empty 10 pound bag of Royal Oak charcoal briquets. I can only presume I’m being asked to fire up the grill for a night of burgers, beer and brats. So who exactly was Grayson Ozias, and what does he have to do with charcoal briquets?
While the answer to the latter question will sadly remain a mystery for now, Levi’s has released some information on the enigmatic man behind the treasure hunt. Grayson Ozias IV, according to the company, was an American adventurer who journeyed across the country before vanishing into the wilderness in 1896. He was also fast friends with Levi Strauss’s nephew Nathan, who recorded the details about Grayson’s exploits that hint at the location of his considerable fortune. The search for Grayson Ozias IV’s treasure will take players through cities and towns across America in order to solve an elaborate cryptogram requiring a combination of knowledge, skill and determination.
In addition to the $100,000 prize for the winner, participants will have the opportunity to win a number of other great prizes along the way. They can also nominate and vote for a U.S.-based non-profit organization to receive an additional $100,000 at the end of the campaign. Frequent readers of ARGNet will recognize one of the names attached to this project, as Jan Libby (Sammeeeees, lonelygirl15) is working with Wieden+Kennedy and Levi’s to bring the Go Fourth Fortune Experience to life.
For more photos of the package, click here to view the Flickr stream.
Back in July, advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy Portland unveiled a new direction for Levi’s with its Go Forth campaign. Drawing heavily upon the poetry of Walt Whitman and the frontier spirit, the campaign seeks to bolster flagging spirits (and blue jean sales) with tag lines such as “strike up for the new world,” “this country was not built by men in suits” and “will work for better times.” While Advertising Age remains skeptical about whether the “bootstraps ethic will find a receptive audience in a dustbowl economy,” the chance to discover $100,000 in buried treasure might help convince people to “Go Forth.”
In two days, the hunt for Grayson Ozias IV’s treasure begins as part of Levi’s online component to the campaign. Details about the G.O. IV Fortune experience are scarce, as the contest rules were not available at the time of this article. However, you can get a feel for the interactive component by checking out New Americans: A Portrait of a Country, a collection of user-generated text, images, audio, and video responding to challenges such as “take a picture of you high-fiving a parking attendant” and “re-create Old Glory for today’s America.”
The aptly named G.O. (the) Fourth has a twitter account, and you can sign up for notifications on the countdown page. It remains to be seen whether the hunt for Grayson Ozias’ fortune will tell an engaging story.