Photo courtesy of Dorothy Pisarski
BY PHONG LY
Dorothy Pisarski, Drake associate professor of advertising, was selected to work with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee and serve as a Skyway Host as part of Crew 52 during the Super Bowl.
Professor Pisarski was in charge of providing information and suggestions to Minneapolis visitors who needed assistance navigating the Skyway system or general tourism information.
Pisarski was inspired to apply for the role with the hosting committee after accompanying Drake advertising students to the Student Advertising Summit at the University of Minnesota one year ago. One of the keynote speakers that year was Wendy Blackshaw, the senior VP of marketing and sales for the Super Bowl in Minnesota. She talked about so many elements of how they made Minneapolis sound appealing to convince the Super Bowl committee to have this year’s Super Bowl in Minnesota.
Kyla Inderski, one of the Drake students at the advertising summit last year, really enjoyed Blackshaw’s speech.
“I thought the keynote speaker was very inspirational and exciting,” Inderski said. “Her involvement in such a profound event was awesome to learn about, and I definitely thought she was a great speaker for them to bring in.”
After meeting with Blackshaw, Pisarski told herself that as soon as the application became available she would apply, and she was then scheduled for an interview.
“I started getting good feelings right away that they liked me, and in fact, a few weeks later I got the notice that I was accepted,” Pisarski said.
Professor Pisarski was handed the task of helping tourists navigate the Minneapolis Skyway.
“Just like Des Moines has Skywalk so you don’t have to walk outside in the cold, they have the same thing in Minneapolis,” Pisarski said.
The system consists of skyways which connect corporate offices, bars, restaurants, bakeries, hotels, government services, retail stores, gyms, grocery stores, a church, art exhibits, etc. The entire system is nine and a half miles long, which starts at Target Field where the Minnesota Twins play to the US Bank Stadium where Super Bowl LII took place.
“No one would ever need to go outside in the cold,” Pisarski said.
The advertising professor felt like her role was needed because the Super Bowl committee felt like the majority of out-of-towners would be cold and curious about the Skyway, not knowing their ways around the system.
“I also speak Spanish and Polish. For foreign visitors, there is a good chance that I can help somebody somehow,” Pisarski said. “[Also] the fact that I’m adept at using computers and social media, so I’m not intimidated if they ask me to download an app or things like that.”
For Professor Pisarski, the most exciting part of this experience was the 10 days of free celebration around the city, which started on Jan. 26.
According to Pisarski, knowing that the Super Bowl was going to be a terrible inconvenience for the local residents, the Super Bowl committee set up free festival events in downtown Minneapolis for people to enjoy themselves, be a part of the experience and not feel like they were neglected.
“There is something for everyone,” Pisarski said. “For music fans, there is an area where they put Prince’s clothes, his jewelries, his apparels, etc. and for daredevils, you could pay a small price to zipline across the Mississippi River.”
Despite being a sports enthusiast as well as a soccer referee, Pisarski was not as excited for the actual Super Bowl as she was for the responsibility she had helping out with organizing the event.
“This has really been phenomenal for me, so much that the game is actually secondary,” Pisarski said. “The professionalism that they have planned all of this and how attentive they have been to the details make it a pleasure for me to work.”
By being a part of the Super Bowl committee this year, the advertising professor will be able to share with her students real-life examples of how event management and marketing operate at a such a professional level.