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‘Experience is the teacher of all things.’ A #RE@LThrowback Blog Post

by | Feb 12, 2023 | RE@L StudentCorner | 0 comments

‘Experience is the teacher of all things,’ wrote Julius Caesar in his Civil War memoirs from 48-49 BC. According to Wikipedia, this accounts for the etymology of the contemporary phrase, ‘Experience Is The Best Teacher.’

Despite the ultimate fate of Julius Caesar, there’s something universal about this ‘experience’ idea, isn’t there? Today’s savvy educators know that the sweet spot to learning lies somewhere on a continuum of knowing and doing.

Even with the virtually countless variables facing them in schools today, the best teachers still seek to find the right balance.

As our schools navigate a pandemic, though, big tobacco companies continue to attract new nicotine addicts via sensory overload. See RE@L’s blog post, Big Tobacco’s Approach to Vaping: Sensory Overload to read more about it.

RE@L’s anti-nicotine, anti-vaping curriculum, 1Up On Vaping™, is designed to bring a multi-sensory learning experience to middle school learners.

One powerful objective included in 1Up On Vaping™ is to help students better understand how big tobacco companies purposefully advertise with the impressionable adolescent in mind. After all, the relentless goal of big tobacco IS to produce another generation of addicted nicotine users, right? If you’re not sure, check out REAL’s blog post, Hook another generation on nicotine? “We can’t let THAT happen!”-So writes Global Ambassador for the World Health Organization, Michael R. Bloomberg & RE@L AGREES!

And so, how best for students to understand the devious tactics of these companies than to have students create agency ads themselves? Right?

Consider RE@L’s activity, The Agency. It is one of four engaging simulations nested within the 1Up On Vaping™ curriculum, and it allows students to do just that — create agency ads that market to kids.  Perhaps the fictitious help wanted ad would read something like this……

Help Wanted: The marketing agency of Dewey, Sellum, and Howe is seeking young, impressionable students who can help us sell a new product, the Power Vape 3000, to your peers. Help us create a message that hooks your classmates into a possible lifetime of nicotine addiction. With your help, we can make serious money!

Here’s an example which demonstrates the steps that students navigate in RE@L’s, 1Up On Vaping™ simulation called, The Agency.

One of several engaging activities included in 1Up On Vaping™, The Agency, first connects students with a short, basic lesson on the components requiring in creating a plan for product success. For the Vape 3000, they focus on five components: benefits, competition, pricing, communication and purchase.

Next students are introduced to a marketing ‘expert’ at Dewey, Sellum, and Howe. Who IS this guy, anyway?

The student marketer first learns about what they are marketing: The Power Vape 3000! 

It’s an interactive picture of the new vaping product, and the student marketers are encouraged to click on each component of the vape tool to better understand how the tool works and how it impacts the user. Power Vape 3000! Wow. The name alone is enough to impress, isn’t it? But it doesn’t end there!

The student marketer then selects one of several themes and one of several images to drive the marketing strategy.

With the theme and the background image selected, the ‘professionals’ at Dewey, Sellum, and Howe, create the tagline, a real attention-getter that shows just how attractive it is for kids to vape.

Finally, based on their work together, the student marketer and the agency come up with a ‘winning’ formula, one that creates piles of cash because 20% of all those who viewed the ad decided to try vaping in just two weeks.

Like the many variables our teachers face in their classrooms, the marketing possibilities are many, and students can explore an exhaustive combination of tactics by starting the process over again to develop ad after ad after ad after ad. Want to try it yourself? Email the Blogmeister and request your access to The Agency.

Yes, experience can be the best teacher, and RE@L’s 1Up on Vaping™ marketing simulation, The Agency, does just that. The is fun AND impressionable.  In creating an online ad for the “Power Vape 3000”, students  become more familiar with the many nefarious methods Big Tobacco and their agencies use to sell addictive, dangerous products to our kids!

Perhaps Julius Caesar was right: Experience CAN be the best teacher of many things. But, even better, the addictive experience of nicotine need not be undergone personally. It’s not necessary to be a Julius Caesar expert to understand how experience can be the best teacher. It’s 2021, and RE@L’s 1Up On Vaping™ delivers in a colorful, contemporary and compelling virtual gaming environment. 


*Some images in this blog were provided courtesy of


Randy Nelson


Randy Nelson is a retired educator of 38 years. He served students as a high school speech, theater, and English teacher. He served colleagues as a director of curriculum and instruction; and, most recently he served the La Crosse, WI school district as its superintendent of schools. He has a strong leadership track record promoting choice and innovation via unique community partnerships. He currently serves RE@L, inc as its Director of Education.