I was perusing the Target holiday circular this weekend and noticed a whole section on pink Nerf blasters. The girl-branded Nerf guns are called their Rebelle line. (See image from the Target website.) The line was launched this fall.
If you remember, last year the boy-branded Easy Bake Oven hit the market so I guess it was just a matter of time.
But my question is do girls really need the Nerf guns to be pink to play with them? If a girl wanted to shoot Nerf blasters would the color really matter? (Contrary to my own point I do remember that my Huffy dirt bike was pink.)
“I think if anything, we went into this without any stereotypes and instead talked to young girls, found out what they wanted, and then designed a line of products that addressed that opportunity,” (John Frascotti, Global Chief Marketing Officer of Hasbro) told EW in an interview, saying that Hasbro did research for over three years while creating the line.”
“What girls wanted, he said, was Nerf toys that boast both high performance and a design made especially for them. “Just to be clear, we could have taken some of our Nerf blasters and just made them pink and put them in pink packages — but that’s not what we did,” Frascotti explained. Trying to encourage girls to buy existing Nerf toys or easing up the gendered overtones of those products was never really on the table: “This is an entirely ground-up effort.”
“Thanks to all that research, Rebelle differs from other Nerf lines in several key ways. The Heartbreaker bow comes with collectable darts bearing different colors and designs; there’s a Rebelle app that allows girls to play collaboratively and encourages teamwork; the bow’s size and ergonomics have been tweaked so that girls as young as 6 can activate it easily.
“The product’s main philosophy, though, is in line with that of the Nerf toys that came before it. “Nothing is really addressing this big opportunity for girls to be active and play,” Frascotti said. “Parents are concerned about the amount of time kids are spending in sedentary activities, in front of a screen of some sort.” By contrast, Rebelle promotes exercise and socialization in a way that will hopefully appeal to girls who have no interest in sports as well as budding athletes.”
I kind of buy this guy’s argument that Nerf toys can encourage kids to be active. Walsh and his little buddies used to love to run around the house shooting each other with the foam bullets and working as teams to attack. But I’m just not convinced they needed to change the appearance (or functionality) of the toys for girls to use them. Could they not have just shown more girls playing with the regular products in the commercials? It’s always boys playing with them.
So what do you think: Do they need to change the colors on toys or can they all just be interchangeable among boys and girls? If the commercials showed girls playing with orange or green blasters, would they play with those just as easily as the pink ones?