A spell(ing) well laid

28 Feb,2013

By A Correspondent


The fifth edition of HDFC Life Spell Bee – India Spells 2013 ended on a high note recently with Vaswati Das of Gurukul Grammar Sr Second School, Guwahati being proclaimed the winner. With a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh at stake, doubled from last year’s Rs 1 lakh, the organizers hyped the excitement this year by allowing the winner to take the principal or teacher from his school to witness the Scripps Spell Bee in Washington DC.


Seen as India’s adaption of the Scripps National Spelling Bee held in Washington DC, this year’s contest garnered robust participation from 35 cities reiterating the popularity of India’s biggest school spelling contest. Close to 3 lakh students from class 5-9 across 1000 different schools went through grueling initial rounds of spelling tests that challenged them on various parameters of their vocabulary.


A property of ENIL, Spell Bee has also evolved over the last five years and today is one of the most awaited properties every year. Sharing his experience on the contest, Hitesh Sharma, Chief Operating Officer, ENIL said: “This year Spell Bee has taken a quantum leap in delivering a wholesome experience to one and all within the space of edutainment. An additional level of screening in the form of the ‘Semi Finals’ has helped us focus on bringing out the best spellers at the National level. Spell Bee revised its format of tests completely and the manner in which they were conducted in 2013. The robust participation that we received online stands as testimony to the manner in which Spell Bee 2013 grew to being a competition that young students across India look forward to.”


Being the principal sponsors for the competition for the fifth year in a row, Sanjay Tripathy, Executive Vice President and Head, Marketing and Direct Channels, HDFC Life said, “It has been a constant endeavour to take the property to the next higher level year on year and this year has been a significant jump over the previous years. We really upped the scale this year not only in terms of the size and spread but also drastically changed the format to make it purely a spelling based contest closer to its US cousin the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Also, we have ensured that the winners are genuine spelling wizards who had to perform well consistently at every level of the competition.”


Asserting the importance that is levied on making the contest truly big in terms of scale, Mr Sharma said that amongst other engagements that have been crafted by Radio Mirchi, Spell Bee is a unique as it has constantly focused in helping Indian students spell right and thereby communicate better. “The objective of the property has been to make a difference or contribute to the overall development of Indian students across the country.  The biggest benefit that accrues to us is to have the ability to recognise Indian talent and give it an opportunity to shine.”


Mr Tripathy, who had a similar experience to share, said that the association with such an event has helped HDFC Life to reach out to and increase brand salience of HDFC Life amongst the core TG. “Through this property, we have been able to engage and interact with over 3 lakh students in over 1000 schools across 35 cities in India. We also believe that as a leader in the child segment that we should be responsible and provide a learning platform for today’s children and with Spell Bee, we have successfully managed to create one.”


With the contest being sought eagerly by school children every year, the organizers are looking at 2014 throwing up even more surprises. Affirmed Mr. Sharma, “The format that we introduced this year has been exciting and has worked brilliantly for us. Having said that Spell Bee is an ever-evolving property and I am confident that interesting things will keep happening in and around it taking the changing needs of the Indian student into consideration.”


Admitting that he wanted HDFC Life Spell Bee to become synonymous with Spelling-based contests in India, Mr Tripathy said, “With HDFC Life Spell Bee, change has been the only constant. We are continuously evaluating and evolving the property to take it to the next level – a few notches higher – year on year, every year. Therefore going forward there will definitely be some more interesting changes and it’s all a part of continuous evolution.”


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