Volvos Treasure Chest Sleeps With the Fishes

By: Glady Reign

In an interesting pace of events, it seems like the ultimate pirate to win Volvo Cars Corp.'s treasure. The Swedish automaker upped anchor, at least momentarily, on the last vital leg of its online treasure hunt. The Hunt will not be unearthing the $50,000 treasure anytime soon because Odyssey Marine Exploration, Volvo's partner, has happened upon an actual million treasure instead. The retrieval of the treasure will hang in the balance until tumult dies down over the discovery of real life treasure by Odyssey.

Volvo's treasure chest full of $50,000 worth gold doubloons and a key to a new Volvo XC90 is located in a secretive area called the 'Black Swan' somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. But reports are claiming that a Spanish coastal town court of La Linea has "issued an order for the Spanish Guardia Civil to detain any Odyssey vessel should it leave the port of Gibraltar," which has brought about an abrupt stop to the Swedish automaker's retrieval plans.

Earlier this year, the automaker picked Odyssey to sink a treasure chest to create a bona fide, thrilling treasure hunt to promote Disney's 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.' Disguised in secrecy, Odyssey scouted locations in the Western Mediterranean and zeroed in on a perfect spot off the coast of Gibraltar.

"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, the 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 hunters from around the globe struggled to find the treasure booty, Odyssey struck gold and silver of their own in the Atlantic Ocean with the discovery of an estimated $500 million in coins from the Black Swan. When the discovery was made public, queries started pouring in as to the real origin of the 'Black Swan.' Was it Spanish wreckage or something else? For security reasons, Odysey refused to reveal the exact location of the Black Swan. Hence, it found itself in the middle of a media storm.

"When we discovered the 'Black Swan,' international interest in the find was amazing," said Greg Stemm, a real-life shipwreck explorer and the 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."

The winner, 23-year-old Alena Zvereva from Ekaterinburg, Russia, 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 possibility to salvage the treasure 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." Controversies move swiftly as the and it makes everyone so keyed up.

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