Comedian Alex Franklin devised a fun way to promote his Edinburgh Fringe show. Rather than pay for posters or a publicist, he decided to invest his £500 budget in creating a treasure hunt.
To promote Dinosaurusesuses, he has hidden a wad of notes somewhere in Edinburgh, and has been releasing a series of clues to point people towards the treasure.
The result is holes are being dug around Edinburgh (see example image), and park rangers are getting annoyed.
Talking to British Comedy Guide about his motivations, Franklin says: "Genuinely, I just thought it'd be quite funny. Also, I was annoyed at how expensive the EdFringe publicity was for what are effectively just a series of A2 posters on the side of the road, so I thought I'd use the money to do something that would bring me more long term sustainable joy (and would make people hunt for things; I like when people hunt for things).
"The quest has brought some real maniacs out of the woodwork, and as a part-time maniac myself I distinctly approve. I have been sent multiple photos and videos of holes being dug all over Edinburgh, and no less that 3 separate people have now been accosted by park rangers for their actions. People have come to the show (Dinosaurusesuses) specifically with the purpose of seeing if there's a clue secretly hidden in the show. Comedian Andy Watts even bought a ticket to the zoo because he was certain that the treasure was in the reptile room - he was wrong!"
At the time of writing the cash remains undiscovered. He says: "Honestly people have gotten incredibly close - I think in one photo that someone sent I can vaguely see the spot where it's hidden - but that was a few days ago, and no one's found the treasure yet, so who knows? Maybe for the final show I'll just give the exact coordinates and we'll do a big race."
1. The Edinburgh Fringe Treasure is near a fountain of youth, once a fountain of life, says the fountain of truth.
2. The treasure you seek is in a sea serpent's lair, and a cousin of a millipede was also once there.
3. On your way, descending at pace, you'll see that some of the bricks are out of place.
4. It's, like, kind of near a Tescos. Not, like, really near, but it's kind of nearish one.
5. It's near @performingnerd's potential favourite number.
Update: more clues...
7. The Edinburgh Fringe treasure is on the fringes (but not of Edinburgh).
8. It's next to a tree.
Update: Treasure found!
The treasure was hidden behind some railings, where Royal Crescent Street meets King George V Park.
Alex reports: "The treasure was found by a brother and sister duo (Perry and Erica) who had been searching for three weeks and are the most wholesome people (Erica wanted the money so she could afford a flight to see her brother in New Zealand!)."
Here's the answers to the clues, as explained by Alex...
1) The Edinburgh Fringe Treasure is near a fountain of youth, once a fountain of life, says the fountain of truth.
This alludes to roughly where it is (King George V Park). The fountain of youth refers to the playground inside it, fountain of life refers to the wildlife and lifegiving water of 'Canonmills Loch', which was drained in 1847; and the fountain of truth is me (Alex).
2) The treasure you seek is in a sea serpent's lair, and a cousin of a millipede was also once there.
The 'sea serpent' and 'cousin of the millipede' (velocipede) refer to rides made for the 1865 Royal Patent Gymnasium, an Alton Towers like theme park which was once opened up there; it's history is mentioned on this sign:
3) On your way, descending at pace, you'll see that someone the bricks are out of place.
Refers to this slide:
4) It's, like, kind of near a Tescos. Not, like, really near, but it's kind of nearish one.
It genuinely is just quite near a big Tescos. Additionally, the treasure was also hidden in a Tescos bag.
5) It's near @performingnerd's potential favourite number.
Tom Crosbie's show featured a Rubik's Cube in the publicity; the number in question was 20, or God's Number, which is the maximum number of moves needed to solve a Rubik's Cube from any configuration (in theory). The number 20 was a speed limit marking on the road, right next to where the treasure was buried.
These are the railings directly above where the treasure is buried.
7) The Edinburgh Fringe treasure is on the fringes (but not of Edinburgh)
It's on the fringes of King George V Park.
8) It's next to a tree.
It was next to a tree.