Marketing Students Bring Hype to Cambridge Athletics


Angeline Fu

Posters created by marketing students to promote athletes and their sports.

By Angeline Fu, Cambridge High School

The classic high school hallway isn’t complete without colorful posters for clubs, tryouts and plays decorating the walls.

But over the past few weeks, a new addition of vibrant photoshop jobs with comedic phrases have added to the collection of posters all over the school, often in odd locations.

As you travel between class periods, you can spot a student’s head photoshopped onto a baby’s body or onto a “Care Bear” on the walls, stairs, doors or windows.

These posters were created by the third-year marketing class, Advanced Sports and Entertainment Marketing, under the instruction of teacher Pam Masinko.

“This is the first time I’d ever done this assignment, and I was really scared, but it turned out better than I thought,” said Masinko.

The 31 students in the class formed teams to take on the project.

“What they essentially had to do is promote one of the sports and celebritize someone, hype them up, and it has worked,” said Masinko. “I really wanted my kids to use their creativity, thinking out of the box. I wanted them to get personally invested.”

The students had three weeks starting in late January to promote their chosen student athlete as much as possible, and at the end of the three weeks, they presented their projects in a “Shark Tank”-style competition where the winners earn a 100 on the assignment and gift cards.

Masinko evaluated based on the presentation, amount of persistence and buy-in and reactions from the community.

“For the school, I was just hoping that it would build some camaraderie and school spirit for the sports and individuals that don’t normally get it,” said Masinko. “For my students,  for three years we’ve talked about promotions, so I wanted to give them some real-world experience.”

Junior Ariel Birnbaum is one of the marketing students who participated in the competition.

“I just like that it’s very open to your own interpretation,” said Birnbaum. “You can make a PowerPoint, Prezi, foldables, mobiles. It’s not an art class, but you get to express yourself in many ways.”

Birnbaum’s team chose junior Sola Adebisi, a varsity basketball player, as its athlete to endorse.

“They didn’t tell me at first because they’re my friends,” said Adebisi. “They first showed me their senior night flyer. It was pretty fun. I liked it. They knew I’d be fine with it.”

The group started with “Wakanda”-themed flyers advertising for the men’s basketball, senior-night game with Adebisi’s face in the middle of his senior teammates’. The flyer ended up being brought to the basketball team’s game at Pope High School and was posted on Twitter, spreading the word of the flyer.

One requirement of the assignment was to include a larger event during the promotion period that went beyond just displaying flyers and posters.

To fulfill this, Birnbaum and her group mates brainstormed to find something most people are attracted to and came up with the idea of cookies.

“I guess we just thought about the things that get us excited because if people give me free food, I’ll support whatever you do,” said Birnbaum.

The group made 600 cookies and passed them out during the lunch periods, all the while promoting Adebisi and the basketball team.

This event is what created the phrase “Sola’s snacks”.

“After the ‘Sola’s snacks’ thing, teachers would ask me what I’m bringing in,” said Adebisi with a smile.

Events created by other marketing groups include a tennis Kahoot! in the cafeteria and a juggling contest to advertise the baseball team.

Birnbaum said the competitive element made the assignment more stimulating.

“We all had a passion for the project, which made it more exciting,” said Birnbaum. “I think it’s cool to get validation from your peers, like ‘Oh, I can’t wait to see what people think about our video or flyers.’”

Birnbaum’s team has only received positive feedback from the members of the school.

Birnbaum said she’s seen students repost flyers on Snapchat and comment on social media about them, as well as seeing students who normally wouldn’t go to the basketball games attend.

Principal Kimberly Premoli and Athletic Director Lesley Broadwell have also tweeted in support of the group’s work.

After releasing a hype video for Adebisi, Birnbaum said she saw a group of teachers huddled, passing the video around.

“I think I just wanted people to know Sola,” said Birnbaum. “‘Oh I remember getting a cookie, getting a flyer’, people coming to the state game because they saw flyers — that’s what I want.”

The promotions have made Adebisi a more familiar face to some in the school.

“I’m just not used to seeing my face around. It was weird, but then I started liking it because it was funny to me, like an inside joke,” said Adebisi.

The goal of the project was to give the athlete more support and attention, and Adebisi agrees this was achieved.

“My friends would always call my name, but I hear it more now,” said Adebisi. “It doesn’t take me out of the game, but it makes me happy.”

The marketing students have used the knowledge they’ve gained over the past three years in areas such as coloring, sizing and social media to tackle the assignment.

“I think it’s cool to see how marketing can affect the real world,” said Birnbaum. “Like, ‘Wow, what I’m actually doing is successful.’ I can also see what’s not appealing and say, ‘Well how can I use the feedback I’m getting and make something better?’”

This story was originally published on The Bear Witness on February 22, 2019.