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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Phone Fun—"Capture the Tag" Cash Hunt Offers $15,000 in prizes

I looked at my tiny, turquoise, flip-front, non-smart cell phone today and whined, "It isn't that I don't love you any more. It's just that you're no FUN." Fickle me. If I had a smartphone I'd leave my faithful old Sony Ericsson sitting on the shelf in Tacoma while I headed down I-5 to Olympia to play "Capture the Tag."

That's the name of a scavenger hunt promotion that began in 2011 as the brainchild of O Bee Credit Union and was so successful it's back for a second year, offering cash prizes totalling $15,000.00 plus five iPads to the lucky winners. But that's not all it offers.

"First and foremost, Capture the Tag is great fun for the community," said O Bee's Vice President of Marketing Lee Wojnar, in a recent press release. "But last year, it also served a fantastic secondary purpose — providing a novel business boost to the local retail economy. We expect even bigger results this year based on the buzz we created in 2011."

The current contest began on May 4 and ends on June 22, 2012. To participate, you must go to the Capture The Tag website and register. The video above tells how to get started. It's easy. Then you just have fun.

"So how fun is it?" you ask.

What could be more fun than a treasure hunt?  And the treasure is cash, awarded as follows:

First Prize — $10,000
Second Prize — $3,000
Third Prize $2,000
And in addition, five other participants will each win an Apple iPad.

Did you ever play "capture the flag" as a kid? That classic outdoor childhood game inspired this promotion, but Capture the Tag works differently. Microsoft Tags (those funny little 2D bar codes we're seeing on everything these days) have been distributed in retail businesses and other high traffic locations throughout the city of Olympia. After registering at, you find or visit those businesses and then use your smartphone to scan and collect at least 20 tags, using a Tag Reader app, which can be downloaded at the contest's website.

Once scanned, tags provide clues to the location of the next tag, sometimes by playing a video on your phone. You'll also receive messages with financial advice and personal finance tips. Some of the tags can be found online, in addition to the businesses actual locations. Businesses may offer related discounts but NO PURCHASE IS REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE. But I support the idea of buying local, keeping your money in the community and boosting the local economy.

It's no surprise that Showcase MagazineToday's Magazine for Artful Living is one of the co-sponsors this year. This elegant publication takes pride in promoting the buy local philosophy with style, by featuring local retail businesses, restaurants, recreation and entertainment, health care and wellness providers, the arts, and more  reminding all of us in the South Sound region just how lucky we are to live here.

Other co-sponsors partnering with O Bee Credit Union on this year's promotion are 94.5 ROXY, The Olympian, America's Credit Union, The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Helix Group, Mobility Media Design, plus seven of the 28 local participating businesses: Shipwreck Beads, Selden's Furniture, Olympia Farmers Market, OLT VCB, Hartley Jewelers, Thurston Talk, and Vern Funk Insurance.

If you collect all 20 tags, you will be invited to an end-of-contest party at Huntamer Park in Lacey, WA on June 23, 2012. That's when the drawing for the prizes takes place. So, get started and have fun with your phone. You might be lucky.

I'll be home, bored. Hey, give me a call, won't you?

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