She was hooked. And it happened so fast. Faster than drugs, faster than soaps, faster than puppy love.
It had started sweetly enough, a silly ad in a slick magazine advertising Canadian Club. The whiskey people had hidden a case of the stuff somewhere in San Francisco, and here were some clues:
"Look along a way named after a Gold Rush figure . . . (SECTION) t"The man who guards the C.C., if he had a heart, it would melt . . ."
She gave up rock concerts and racketball. She began to think about the treasure while at work, and afterward, she would hunt. Then she would think some more. And hunt some more. "It's addivtive," she says. "Definitley addictive."
After six weeks, she knew she was close. Her boss gave her the day off. Monday, June 23. That was the day Stephanie Silva, an account executive at KSAN-FMin San Francisco, and Donna Campbell, the KSANbusiness manager who had joined in her search, found their treasure near Long John Silver at the Wharf Wax Museum.
Twelve bottles of Canadian Club, worth about $100. That was it.
But booty isn't the point. "Once you get involved," says Silva, a 27-year-old with a musical voice, "you can't stop."
Yesterday, as part of a peculiarly successful ad campaign that tantalizes hundreds of thousands and costs up to $10 million a year, the Canadian Club people hid a case in Washington. The first few clues:
"Start at a place that was named for America's most important city. See where a bark takes you. From there, go to what you can't miss. When you have arrived, face in the direction of a past scandal that was uncovered and made public."
Magazines like Playboy won't be carrying the Washington ads until Sept. , but already people are sniffing around. It's irresistible, they say, like mocha chip.
Says Jerry Della Femina, an advertising competitor: "Theres is a campaign that really brings out the child in all of us. If you stop to think about it, who wants to read about alcohol? iYou'd rather drink. It's a borrowed interest device -- getting people to read ads when they never would."
Tim Fenton, vice president of the McCaffrey and McCall ad agency that handles Canadian Club, mulls over the mass appeal of the campaign: "There's something screwy about it," he says, "that even we don't understand." After hiding a case in Manhattan, he relates, there were 15,000 phone calls to a toll-free clue number. A hidden case in Lake Placid, he says, prompted 100,000.
"Looking for hiden treasure is like gambling, in a way," says a Washington psychiatrist."But it's a safe gamble. You don't have no invest a lot of money. And it's the idea that somehow, you can beat fate.Most people think of luck as working against them."
Here's some advice for the Washington hunt:
"Would wear comfortable shoes," says Fenton, "and allow myself plenty of time.You need to know this town. A smattering of history wouldn't hurt, a little political savvy wouldn't hurt. And I think you need a mind that doesn't function in purely logical patterns. You really have to be able to think in a lot of different directions."
Washington, depending on your viewpoint, may be one of the more civilized hiding place that Canadian Club has selected through the years. Since July 21, 1967, the day a team of creative sorts from McCaffrey and McCann dropped as case of Canadian Club on the southern slope of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, 20 more cases have been stashed away somewhere. Six are still at large.
Among the discovered spots are Angel Falls, Venezuela; the Great Barrier Beff, off Australia; Big Foot's Feeding Ground in Oregon; Death Valley, and Bonnie and Clyde's last Lousiana hideout. Among the undiscovered spots are Loch Ness, Scotland; the North Pole; Lake Placid; Robinson Crusoe Island off Chile and 110 feet from where Stanely met Livingstone in Ujiji, Tanzania.
Lore about the finders and would-be finders abounds.
In 1968, two presumably happy newlywed were en route to their honeymoon in Acapulco when the husban felt sterrings for global adventure. Venezuela, during the monsoons. Mosquitoes. And Canadian Club, under Angel Falls. At last check, they were still married.
In 1977, the owner of a Porland auto repair shop bought, according to him, an Esquire and according to the Canadian Club people, a Playboy. Either way, he spied the ad for Bigfoot's Feeding Ground. He thought about it a little, flew his seaplane into the Spirit Lake region, and after searching two days, dug two feet down and struck whiskey.
That's his story. The Canadian Club advertising people say that he'd in fact given up after two days, and was sitting on a log, morosely having a cigarette. Suddenly, a spot on the ground caught his eye. He dug, and there, under the log, was the case.
"Sort of found it with his rump," says Fenton.
As for Washington, the only clue that was squeezed out of Canadian Club yesterday is that the whiskey is not at the White House "No," says Fenton. The White House is not availiable."
Della Femina, the advertising competitor who wishes he had the campaign has his own ideas; "It'll probably be buried under a lot of campaign promises," he figures. "That way, nobody will ever find it."