When you think of treasure hunts, what comes in your mind? Tales of brave pirates conquering the seven seas? Old and dusty treasure maps? Happy childhood memories?

Probably not Augmented Reality! And that’s a huge mistake, because the immersive technology offers the modern way of treasure hunting - in malls, museums, cities and anywhere you can imagine.


What is an AR Treasure Hunt?

An Augmented Reality treasure hunt is an entertaining experience in which players use a device, such as a smartphone or tablet, to search for virtual “treasures” hidden in the real world. That means our real environment is being expanded with digital features, objects and clues imitating real treasure chests.

By integrating these technologies into shops or huge locations, people do not only get a fun game, but learn a lot about their environment, the history of a place or are being lead to certain shops. It’s the most engaging, memorable and thrilling way of exploring a place - making our inner child the happiest.


How do Augmented Reality treasure hunts work?

The game usually starts with the download of an app that visualizes a map of the area where the treasure hunt takes place. The map is sometimes designed like a real treasure map, but can of course be completely customized. As soon as the AR function is activated, all kinds of virtual gadgets and clues appear on the user's cell phone screen, digitally extending the real environment. Ready, set, hunt!

The clues come in all shapes and colours: virtual objects, animations, or other multimedia content can be hidden virtually throughout the area. For example, one might find a virtual key that opens a hidden door, or a virtual compass that points the right direction. The more clues collected, the closer one gets to the treasure, i.e. a digital or even real prize.    

A slightly different kind of treasure hunt

Treasure Hunts for Marketing! Together with SunPlaza Shopping Mall in Bucharest and THIS PLAY, we created an AR application that is a treasure hunt, navigation aid and news portal at the same time. Visitors of the mall could start their digital treasure hunt via their smartphone and collect golden coins that were scattered all over the location.

Once enough coins have been collected, users are rewarded with discount codes, special offers and other benefits. This way, customers not only enter stores they otherwise wouldn't have visited, but also profit from doing so. A real win-win situation!

That's not it: By incorporating even more features into the app, SunPlaza has become a real shopping aid: With smart indoor navigation, users can be guided directly to their destination. All they have to do is follow the virtual arrows on the floor. But also the hottest news from the mall, such as events, spontaneous promotions or movie highlights, could be displayed in the app without any problems.

Learn more about SunPlaza treasure hunt here


Teamwork, education, friends and family

The greatest benefit of AR treasure hunts is that they can be customized to fit any theme or location. For example, a museum might use an AR treasure hunt to guide visitors through an exhibit, while a city might use it to promote tourism and encourage people to explore different neighbourhoods.

By thus, AR treasure hunts are also a great way to engage children and promote learning. They can be used to teach history, science, and even math by incorporating educational content into the clues and challenges. In addition to being fun and educational, AR treasure hunts are also a great way to promote teamwork and socialization. They can be played with friends, family members or even strangers creating a sense of camaraderie and cohesion while working together to solve clues and find the treasure.

Finally, AR treasure hunts are a perfect example of how technology can be used to enhance real-life experiences. By blending the virtual and physical worlds, AR technology creates a new type of interactive experience that is exciting, engaging, and unique.


So, what are you waiting for? Set your sails and conquer the seven seas of Augmented Reality treasure hunts together with us. Aye aye, Captain!