Hasbro NERF Toy Blaster

- in CASE STUDIES, The Drum



Video games are a global phenomenon – in Germany alone, there are over 29 million gamers. But this activity is increasingly eating up the younger generation’s free time, with up to 136 minutes per day spent video gaming in 2014!

Toy manufacturer Hasbro decided that it was time for physical fun to fight back.

The company asked agency partner OMD to help it turn digital gamers into real-life gamers using Hasbro’s NERF foam dart blaster toy brand. The challenge was to make a lost generation enthusiastic about this range of non-digital toy guns, re-energising grown-up ‘youth’ to take part in physical action and fun.


OMD came up with a branded content strategy based on the insight that NERF blaster action and entertainment always starts right away. There are no rules, no need for additional equipment – just immediate fun!

The plan was to make people feel the fun of playing in the real world again, as well as enabling them to share this fun digitally with their friends.

The hardest test would be to convince hardcore digital game fans to get involved. So OMD devised a campaign that would conquer the epicentre of the digital gamer’s world, partnering with the most famous influencers of this generation: 15 top YouTube stars gate-crashed the Gamescom international digital game fair in Cologne in 2014, equipped with NERF toy blasters.

The campaign literally fired up! The whole fair became an analogue playground, proving the strength of real-life fun with NERF to the most ardent digital gamers.


The Gamescom event action was recorded and instantly uploaded by the YouTube stars to their own YouTube channels, multiplying and boosting Hasbro’s real-life fun message far outside the borders of the fair itself.

In addition, an integrated, sustainable wave of branded content creation was kicked off via the YouTube stars who carried on the NERF story at home. They encouraged their fans to record their own fun NERF action moments and use the hashtag #NerfNicht to share these real-life NERF action videos online with more friends.



The results exceeded all expectations: 

  • #NerfNicht entered the Top 5 in Twitter’s German trending chart
  • 3.8 million YouTube views (+500% versus benchmark)
  • 8.2 million contacts from a 1.9 million target group
  • 190,000+ comments
  • 653,000+ likes

Most impressively, underlining the massive resonance of the campaign in the market, Hasbro sold 40%+ more NERF toy blasters than the previous year.

Hasbro’s NERF branded entertainment campaign beat the digital industry with their own weapons, unlocking additional growth potential for the fun blaster range and turning it into the leading brand in Hasbro’s portfolio in Germany.

Dominik Scholta, Director, FUSE

This case study was originally published in the BOBCM DACH Region Edition (2015) co-edited by Sandra Freisinger-Heinl and Greta MacFarlane.

About the author

Justin Kirby is a consultant, educator and thought leader with a 20+ year career in industry as a digital strategist, producer and entrepreneur. He chairs and speaks at conferences around the globe, judge industry awards, and advise brands and agencies.