Campus Pursuit: Young Entrepreneurs Create a Multi-school Campus Treasure Hunt

August 13, 2014

6:00 pm

Call it the new face of college advertising. Campus Pursuit is a company modeled around a treasure hunt; the Co-Founders – Scott Wisotsky and Shachar Avraham –created the treasure hunt as a means of connecting students to businesses through a fun, and interactive game based on businesses prizes.

“We are reaching students through a treasure hunt and we’ve developed an advertising platform that students are tuning into every day because they want to find the prizes,” says Wisotsky, who is majoring in political science at Binghamton University.

Here’s what you should know about Campus Pursuit:

  • Students can find prizes 5 days a week: The team hides 4-6 prizes every day Monday-Friday. Student teams of 3-4 people manage the treasure hunt at their school, hiding prizes to their school and posting clues to the whereabouts on the Campus Pursuit app.
  • It’s Easy to Use… All users need to do is download the app, create an account, and select the school they attend. Users will then receive one push notification a day with clues as to where they can find hidden prizes around their college community.
  • … But it Does Require Some Thinking: The clues aren’t always easy –sometimes Campus Pursuit clues will use puns: “There is a convenient store on campus and I hid a 15 dollar gift card for a local restaurant under a box of macaroni and cheese so I said it’s under something cheesy,” says Wisotsky.
  • Spreads the Word About Local Businesses: The team is constantly connecting students with local businesses – not only are they helping the local economy, but the company is also serving as an advertising platform for many small companies and restaurants in  College Towns.
  • They Help National companies advertise to college students as well: Campus Pursuit is also working with Survive Chem, one of the top resources for Chemsitry Students, a group communication app called ZULA, Back to the Roots, and other national companies.

Why The Campus Pursuit’s Business Model is Working

With more than 1,100 downloads on the Binghamton University, the popularity of the app is growing. When Campus Pursuit launched on January 27th, 2014, they were hiding the gift cards of 5 different local businesses. Today, Campus Pursuit is working with over 40 businesses, from small Pizza shops, to national text books companies. In the beginning, the team didn’t have a marketing budget and relied mostly on social media and word of mouth promotion.

“The way we tell students about it is through face-to-face interaction at lunch time and at dinners hours,” says Avraham. “We hand them a quarter sheet saying this what Campus Pursuit is and we hide prizes everyday.”

The business model also works because students who don’t know about Campus Pursuit, quickly learn about it from their peers. The app has proven to be very popular, as all different kinds of students are eager to look for prizes every day.

“If you had a group of 20  people all looking under the tables, everyone in the area sees what’s going on and everyone downloads Campus Pursuit. That’s how it grows because people just see other people having fun,” says Wisotsky.

Coming to a Campus Near You: Campus Pursuit  is Expanding

Campus Pursuit wants to empower any student team to have the opportunity to run their own treasure hunt and is launching at Ithaca College, Cornell University, and SUNY Albany in the fall.

“Students love finding prizes and it’s just a really great way to advertise,” says Wisotsky. “We want to enable students to spread the joy of treasure hunt marketing from campus to campus, and revolutionize college advertising. We believe that advertising to students can be fun, and that’s our goal. We will be expanding the Campus Pursuit treasure hunt onto many campuses in the future.”


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Amanda Quick is a tech/startup reporter covering young entrepreneurs for Tech Cocktail. She's also interested in covering apps, emerging technology, IoT and beauty & wellness. Amanda is currently in grad school at Syracuse University studying Information Management. In the past she has interned at NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, Brand-Yourself, and the Times Leader Newspaper as well as worked at WWNY-TV and the StartFast Venture Accelerator in Upstate New York. Amanda is originally from Kansas City, MO but has also lived in Canton, MA and Scranton, PA. To learn more you can visit Like Amanda on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.