Marketing class meets Shark Tank entrepreneur

An Introduction to Marketing class has found out that it’s easier to sell a product when you’ve had it in your hand. And it’s even easier when you’ve been in the same room as its inventor.

Spouting the enthusiasm that has helped make his creation a success, local entrepreneur Aaron Krause came to the School of Media and Communication Nov. 26 to tell the story of Scrub Daddy, a smiley-face-shaped sponge he says can tackle most cleaning tasks. It’s the same energy that landed Krause an investment on a recent episode of ABC’s Shark Tank.

Jan Gera, an adjunct advertising professor, says she wanted to find a product that has had little marketing behind it so the class could start with a blank canvas. Each student in the class is creating his or her own plan and they will form groups to create a pitch.

“You have to convince me that you’re going to be the agency that is going to sell this product,” Gera says of the group project.

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Gera says she was intrigued by Scrub Daddy, which has now had national exposure through Shark Tank and QVC, since “his hurdle has been distribution.”

Krause says he sold 72,000 Scrub Daddies on QVC in just six minutes the day after his episode of Shark Tank aired. “That’s the power of media.”

Those are numbers that aren’t easily sustained, so a constant presence in retail stores throughout the country is his next important step. Krause said Scrub Daddy got lost amid the dozens of sponges on the grocery store shelves, so he created a cardboard display.

“As soon as we put that in the aisles, it started selling.”

He’s excited by the doors Shark Tank has opened with exposure and a strategic partner with connections in the right places.

“You don’t go into the Shark Tank if you just need money,” he said.

With vital first-hand research now in their tool belts, it’s up to the students to see if they can come up with a plan to take Scrub Daddy to the next level of success.


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