Great Advertising for Next to Nothin'

by Barb Cote on May 25, 2010

Barb Cote

Barb Cote

Hasbro has launched an inventive new campaign for its NERF Brand that invites NERF owners to create and submit films of themselves using NERF products.

The Battle of the Ads is a web-based contest that includes social media, email marketing, and user-generated video.

Nerf Battle of the AdsIn case you have never heard of NERF:

“Nerf is a type of toy, created for safe indoor play, which either shoots or is made of foam-like material. Most of the toys are a variety of foam-based weaponry, but there were also several different types of Nerf toys, such as balls for sports…”   (

Having survived the “launching” of 3 boys, we made significant financial investments in these toys that are more air than solid. The best part of a NERF product is that they all involve movement, whether launching a football, baseball or foam dart. In case you’ve never noticed, adolescent boys are also into movement. Add a video camera and you have instant “customer engagement!”

Suppose that you have an ad budget that is perhaps a little “airier” than last year’s.  This is the way to maximize the natural trajectory of this social media lovin’ product by simply placing it in the hands of a brand enthusiast who believes that it’s “NERF or Nothin!”

NERF or Nothin'!Provide logos, imagery, special effects and music that the filmmakers can download for free off  of the site. Data capture will be deadly accurate as registrants can win daily prizes as well as be eligible for the grand prize of $10,000.

Make it easy to share your videos with friends via social media networks and email, and pick up MORE information when friends and other viewers can vote for their favorite film while entrants can see how many votes they have.

Best of all, when the campaign ends you have lots of new advertising material to work with — and a well-documented fan base.

Nerf Video

Click to Watch the Video: 14-Cup Pyramid Challenge

Tapping in on user-generated advertising (UGA), also known as consumer-generated media (CGM), has been around now for about 5 years.  When you buy a book on Amazon, it’s rated based upon reviews by its loyal fan base of unpaid contributors.

Terry Heaton describes our post-modern state as the “age of participation.” He also states that “transparency is the new paradigm for marketing conversations.”2

Heaton (very appropriately for this article) states, “People don’t really mind being considered targets to be hit, an enemy to be battled, prey to be pursued, uninformed to be educated, misled to be guided, pedestrians to be driven, and valued only to the extent that they ‘consume.’”3

“The Battle of the Ads” works because participants will both consume AND contribute. Hasbro wins and so do those who agree that it’s “NERF or Nothin.”





About the Author:

Barb Cote serves as the Creative Director at SIGMA Marketing Group.  Connect with Barb on or follow her on .

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