'Hong Kong is it!' for AXN as brand building exercise gathers steam

The Indian leg of the Hong Kong AXN Challenge organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and AXN took place on Saturday in South Mumbai. Senior marketing manager AXN Rohit Bhandari said that this was the first time the channel had organised an event on such a large scale in India. Smaller events held in the past have included go- karting and action themed movie festivals he said.

The event represents the 'daring, adventurous and irreverent spirit' of the channel, he said. Twelve teams from the Navy, the Army, Air Force, corporate houses as well as hardcore adventurists took part.

Apparently the channel received 460 responses but restricted the number of teams to keep track of the goings on. Bhandari said that later in the year the channel would have a similar event for India, which would cover five to six cities. The logistics are still being worked out, he said. However, there would be no restrictions on the number of participants allowed. He also said that the channel would be looking for sponsors for the event.

Bhandari also said that there wasn't much of a relationship with the tourism boards of other countries in the region at the moment as most of them have already held their tourism promotions. In Singapore the channel is on the terrestrial band. Bhandari pointed out that Malaysia had acted as a sponsor for the Oscar winning film 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'.

Regional director South and South East Asia Hongkong Tourism Board, David Leung, said that partnering with AXN was a brand fit as both organisations target the same audience. Both promote themselves as action adventure destinations which throb with activity.

The board is also looking at promoting two events in Hong Kong. A mega sale is on from June till August and the board will use the media to spread awareness among Indians some of whom are shopping addicts. He also said that the street carnival taking place just before Christmas would see Hong Kong's 18 districts unite. The three areas around which the 'city of life' is being promoted are conservation, tourism and recreation, he said.

As far as Saturday's event was concerned the teams swam in the open sea, ran, cycled and finally row boated. The top five teams tested their mental agility with a written test about Hong Kong.

The number one placed team of CR Panda and VS Dahiya compete in the grand finale in Hong Kong on 20 April. Before that, regional competitions will be held to decide participants from Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and Bangkok. Snippets of all regional events will air on the channel in a series of episodes. Besides complex sports the Hong Kong, showdown will see contestants answering questions about Hong Kong at each checkpoint.

There will also be a challenge along the lines of the reality show 'Who dares wins'. This will be in the form of a 'treasure-hunt-cum-street dares' competition. The Hong Kong event will air in its entirety on the channel.

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