Treasure Hunt
11:55 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Marketing Group Hiding Free Cash Throughout South Florida

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

The money was hidden at the hospital where Elton Aguilera was born. He and a friend drove over. Once they parked, they ran. "My heart was pounding," he recalls. "I was sweating. Just the excitement, the adrenaline." Not long after, he found a white envelope taped to a fence. It had $50 inside.

Instructions on the envelope encouraged him to take a selfie with the winnings and to follow In South Florida, a local online marketing group.

Hidden Cash SFL tweeted the picture as part of a project mirroring a similar undertaking in San Francisco, where an anonymous man is hiding money in envelopes all over the city. The trend is popping up across the country.

The man and woman behind Hidden Cash SFL say they wish to remain anonymous, but they are affiliated with In South Florida, the marketing group.  The couple adds that the focus is not supposed to be on their marketing group, but on giving back to the community. Through Twitter, they encourage their followers to support local businesses or to perform random acts of kindness with the cash.

The altruistic element comes from the project's inspiration in San Francisco. But in that iteration, unlike the project in South Florida, the anonymous man is filling the envelopes with money from his pockets.

Aguilera chose to donate his winnings to a local charity, but there is no way to monitor how winners in South Florida have been spending their cash. Nevertheless, most have tweeted pictures to the Hidden Cash account, which now has over 5,000 followers.

One of the Hidden Cash SFL prize envelopes
Credit Hidden Cash SFL

University of Miami marketing professor Jeffrey Weinstock characterized the hunt in South Florida as "viral marketing," which he says is more cost effective than other means of marketing. The Twitter gives them access to a market inaccessible to them before. For example, Elton Aguilera says he created his twitter just to follow the Hidden Cash SFL clues. 

The In South Florida team said it will continue to expand the hunt to more diverse locations, and to include gift cards from local restaurants. And as the hunt continues, so does In South Florida's reach on Twitter.

Hear the full broadcast version of this story here: 

Elton Aguilera describes finding his $50, and the people behind Hidden Cash SFL explain the project.