The hunt takes place between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time in Atlanta, Austin, Texas; Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Dell will set up "Dell Lounges" at starting locations, such as Los Angeles' House of Blues, New York's Roseland Ballroom and Boston's Buffalo Billiards.
Teams of two will get an envelope with a game board, directions and clues that lead to eight unique sites in the cities. When contestants arrive at each site, they receive a verification stamp on their game board. The first team in each city to reach the finish point within the time limit and with all the verification stamps wins.
The 16 winners will receive a Dell Inspiron 1521 notebook computer valued at about $1,000. The Inspiron series of notebooks has screen-sizes 14 to 17 inches. The recently launched line comes in eight colors, such as flamingo pink, sunshine yellow and alpine white. Contestants who return to the lounge after the contest can enter a sweepstakes to win $5,000.
Scavenger hunts became a "risky business" after two separate events held earlier this year by Cartoon Network and Cadbury Schweppes created havoc in Boston, says Matt Lindley, executive creative director at Boston ad agency Arnold Worldwide. "It comes during a time when we ask people to become more involved with campaigns, even submit real videos," he says. "We don't want to put anyone in harm's way, so these days we try to plan events in a more controlled environment."
The Cartoon Network marketing stunt forced the head of the Cartoon Network to resign after a security scare in Boston closed major roads for hours. Authorities got a series of 911 calls about suspicious devices on Jan. 31 after discovering that blinking electronics had been planted around Boston to promote kids' series Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Shortly after the Cartoon Network escapade in February, Cadbury Schweppes called off its Dr Pepper promotion in Boston after city officials feared that crypts in the 347-year-old Granary Burying Ground, where Benjamin Franklin's family rests, would be desecrated by potential millionaires searching for a coin.
Participants can register for the scavenger hunt by going to dell.com/yoursishere and clicking on the banner ad that reads "Connect the Dots."