Lake Park High School marketing teacher Dan Colucci took a chance and tried contacting Rob Dyer, founder of the nutritional drink RuckPack.
He thought it would be nice to let him know Colucci's students were focusing their latest project on his product.
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Colucci never thought Dyer would offer to take time from his own teaching responsibilities as an accounting instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., to travel to Roselle and hear the students' ideas himself.
And Dyer, a U.S. Marine Corps combat vet and entrepreneur, knows a thing or two about good marketing.
Dyer appeared last month on ABC-TV's "Shark Tank," a reality show that features a panel of celebrity investors who help entrepreneurs. Dyer impressed the panel so much that panel members Kevin O'Leary and Robert Herjavec chose to invest a total of $150,000 in his company -- twice the amount Dyer sought.
At Lake Park, students in Colucci's marketing class formed teams to develop promotional campaigns for the nutritional drink as their final projects for the semester. The seven groups served as mock advertising agencies, pitching their ideas to Dyer.
Plans included various modes of communication, including print, social media, radio and promotions.
Team members Sarah Bobek, Sam Cummings, Mauricio Cardona and Cassidy McGinn created a QR code they incorporated into their advertising that directed potential customers to the product's website.
"This was a great opportunity to apply what we've learned in our marketing class to a real-world scenario," said Cassidy, a senior who plans to major in advertising in college.
Dyer said he was impressed with the students' ideas, noting the teams all incorporated a promotional game, which had not previously been considered, into their marketing plans. He also liked the Pandora radio ad suggested by one team.
In addition, Dyer told the class how he and fellow Marines developed the concept for RuckPack while fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan. Frustrated by having to take up to 20 pills and capsules per day, Dyer and his team devised the idea for RuckPack -- a single-source vitamin and energy shot to help weary troops recover quickly from fatigue and dehydration with minimal down time under stressful conditions.