Real life, real learning at Irondequoit High School

'Pie In The Face Night' tops sports marketing class' project
Posted on 11/28/2018

Real life. Real learning.

That’s something Irondequoit High School business teacher Lou DiCesare is keen on teaching students. “I’m a big believer in learning while doing,” he says.

That’s what happened last fall in his sports marketing class. Students separated into eight small groups for this assignment: Pick an IHS varsity team and design a promotional campaign to help boost attendance at a home game by 25 percent. The groups chose football (two groups), boys soccer (two groups), girls soccer (two groups) and field hockey (two groups). Students could use:

A halftime and/or pre- or post-game event to spark interest
Design, distribute post flyers or posters like billboards
Social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to promote the game/event
A giveaway from a local business to lure fans

Groups were graded on creativity/incentive, their use of social media and posters and the end result: Did they increase attendance?

The winning team – sophomores Jordan Flynn, Marcus Harris, and Tyler Murray and freshmen Julian Taylor and Josh Thompson – promoted a Pie-in-the-Face event at halftime of the Oct. 2 girls soccer match. Fans signed up (for free) as they entered and were randomly selected to deliver by their own hand (or by proxy) a whipped-cream pie in the face of members of the marketing team.

DiCesare praised their next-level marketing idea of having Flynn be smacked with a pie in the face on the IHS “Morning Show.” It was a promotional tactic that no other team used.

Twenty-two pies that night made for lots of fun – and quite a mess. The team members also had to think on the fly when their initial plan of doing the “contest” on the soccer field was nixed because it would have made the playing surface too messy. “We learned that not everything is going to go as planned and you’re going to have to problem-solve,” Murray said. “It actually worked better,” with the event closer to the fans in the stands.