The Dainik Bhaskar Group last year devised and launched the largest B2B contest aimed at advertising agencies and marketers in Metro India.

It used an unconventional format rarely used in the B2B environment but an everyday part of newspapers – a crossword puzzle.

The crossword was a contest developed to promote Divya Bhaskar, the Gujarati language newspaper of the Dainik Bhaskar group. The gratification for the winners was an all-expenses-paid trip to attend AdAsia Vietnam, a conference held in late 2013. AdASIA is the leading advertising and marketing conference held every two years.

Two basic insights helped us devise and launch India’s largest contest in the B2B arena by any media group:

1. People tend to better remember a message if they complete the last loop in their mind. We believed creating a puzzle would help to keep Divya Bhaskar and its footprint area, Gujarat, on the minds of marketing and advertising executives by making them think of answers related to Gujarat for the crossword

2. AdAsia Vietnam expected to see lower participation from India. The challenge was the overall cost of the trip, including travel, lodging, boarding, and the registration fee itself. Most professionals were not expected to attend due to lack of organisational sponsorship.

With Divya Bhaskar celebrating its 10th anniversary, the opportunity was ripe for the campaign, “The Great Gujarat Crossword — One Word Can Take You to AdAsia Vietnam.”

To participate in the contest, respondents were required to complete the specially crafted crossword based on knowledge about Gujarat state and the newspaper Divya Bhaskar. The crossword was available on digital platforms but was also published in trade publications.

A few of the selected media agencies were specifically targeted for entry generation and creating buzz around the contest. Every morning, we ensured that a dummy airline ticket to Hanoi was kept at every work station so that when the person got to his desk, the first thing he saw was the international air ticket.

One morning, the famed mask representing Hanoi was left on their table with a thought line, “Souvenir from Vietnam,” to encourage executives to participate in the crossword puzzle challenge.

Additionally at these agencies, we ensured that the crossword entries were kept in their reception areas. Each crossword entry was a chance for the respondent to be one of the 10 winners to attend a fully paid trip to AdAsia Vietnam.

The programme was hugely successful, generating 1,037 entries. The campaign created quite a buzz around the brand, as well.

With the programme being such a huge success, the team is considering making it an annual event, helping Indian advertising and marketing executives attend an international advertising and marketing conference.