Why Is Marketing For Nerf Guns So Different For Girls Than Boys?

Why Is Marketing For Nerf Guns So Different For Girls Than Boys?

Let's examine how Nerf falls into the trap of gendered advertising with their boy and girl blasters.
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Advertising has always seemed to be a major, if not the main, perpetrator of gender roles in American society. What may seem a simple means of promoting a product in everyday lives has unconsciously warped the collective perception of men and women, putting both genders into distinctly separate boxes. If one is a female, then they must act and look this way, checking items down a list that is nearly impossible to emulate in reality; men have a similar set of expectations set before them.

The work of advocates, primarily the feminists, in modern times, have caused these hard-to-crack gender roles to slowly but surely break down. However, there are ad campaigns as of late that still perpetuate a clear line between the genders, such as Nerf’s male toy blaster line and its female “Rebelle” blaster line of toys.

The popular brand of toy dart guns has kept its advertising towards male consumers relatively constant in recent years. An ad for the Nerf “Rampage” gun features a teenage boy firing the blaster at a target off of the box.

The model looks like a deviation from the target audience of Nerf toys, which is mostly composed of kids aged from 6 to about 11 years old. However, the inclusion of the teenager with a brow furrowed in concentration, entirely focused on his target, with a slight smirk on his face—essentially, he fits all the general requirements for someone that looks “cool”—causes boys to look at him and say, “wow, I bet if I get this gun, I will look as cool as he does when I am chasing my friends around the park with it!”

The model is busy in action, unsmiling and deeply focused on the task at hand because, according to Nerf, boys do not sit and pose with their Nerf guns; they shoot them. It is also notable to point out that the color of this specific line of Nerf toys is blue, and when thinking of gender, blue is generally associated with boys and pink generally with girls.

Though the inclusion of a Nerf gun line directed specifically at females is a huge step forward for the company, as Nerf has practically always marketed to boys, the ad campaign for the female “Rebelle” line of blasters falls into too many of the classic female tropes. The ad for the “Pink Crush” bow and arrow blaster features a girl that looks to be about preteen age, younger than the model on the “Rampage.”

This model wears a huge smile on her face, and though she is aiming her blaster, she is not performing the action of actually firing it. In the upper background of the ad, other young models pose with their guns. One of them stands with attitude and a pinch of cute, holding her gun like Lara Croft does on the cover of Tomb Raider II.

The other is, again, aiming her weapon but not firing it. While men in advertising always seem to be in action, unfocused on anything except the task at hand and ignoring the camera in front of them, it seems as though these girls were told they were being watched by a camera and instructed to act accordingly so. Where the “Rampage” gun was blue, this blaster, along with everything surrounding it, is slathered with varying shades of pink, for Nerf apparently believes girls will not buy their product unless it is painted with the “epitome of girliness,” pink, and not in yellow, or green, or red, or blue, or black. That is almost every color of the rainbow for the boy guns and one for girl guns.

Despite the flaws in this ad campaign, Nerf has (almost) corrected their mistake with their line of Rogue One blaster toys based on the weapons of characters in the film. At the center of these ads is Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the second female protagonist of the Star Wars film universe. Jyn’s blaster is the second-largest in the toy line, second only to a deluxe blaster sold only in select stores, and on the gun’s box, she is pictured aiming her blaster off of the box, her face devoid of any smile.

The box’s label also names her “Sergeant Jyn Erso” rather than just her name, something that pays a great respect to her vastly integral role in the film and avoids belittling her in any way. The blaster itself is orange, not pink, and appeals to both boys and girls. This is in direct contrast with Nerf’s “Rebelle” line, for Jyn is made to look tough, mean, and focused, a behavior and attitude previously only reserved for men in advertising.

Nerf is not the only company guilty of pandering to gender roles that will soon become too outdated to exist in a rapidly changing world. Their marketing for their Rogue One line of toys was a huge step forward and sets an example other corporations should follow. Companies like Star Wars and Disney have already picked up on the importance and value of respecting the consumer by marketing products that represent boys and girls equally, especially with their recent films and the merchandise that accompanied them, Rogue One and Moana. If there is one thing that is just simply not true anymore, if it even ever really was, it is that men always get down and dirty while still looking good with dirt and sweat all over their body while women sit still and look pretty.
Cover Image Credit: Nerf/Roy Mendez

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29 Stores That Will Just Give You Free Stuff On Your Birthday

All I want for my birthday is a bunch of free stuff!
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October holds the record for having the fourth highest amount of birthdays! With so many people having October birthdays, like myself, I wanted to share with everyone 29 stores that will give you free stuff for your birthday! If you weren't born in October, don't worry, you'll still be able to get free stuff when your birthday rolls around!

1. Starbucks

Who doesn't love a good Starbucks drink? Sign up for Starbucks Rewards, and you can get a free drink on your birthday!

2. Ulta

Free beauty products? Yes, please! Get a free birthday gift and double points on purchases made during your birthday month by signing up for Ulta's Ultamate Rewards program!

3. Sephora

Want even more free make-up? Sign up for their Beauty Insider rewards program to get a free which you can redeem any time during your birthday month!

4. Baskin Robbins


You can get a free scoop of ice cream on your birthday when you join their Birthday Club!

5. Old Navy

Old Navy will give you a free birthday surprise just for signing up for their email newsletter!

6. Buffalo Wild Wings

Who wouldn't want some free B-Dubs? By joining the Buffalo Circle club, you can receive a free order of snack size wings on your birthday!

7. Benefit Cosmetics

Get a free brow arch when you visit a Benefit Browbar beauty lounge during the week of your birthday! You don't even need to be a member!

8. Chick-fil-a

Sign up for email insiders for a free birthday surprise!

9. World Market

You can get a free birthday surprise when you sign up for the World Market Explorers Rewards program!

10. Bare Minerals

Whaaaaat! More free make-up? Sign up for Friends and Benefits, or FAB, to get a free birthday gift!

11. Krispy Kreme

Join their E-Club to receive a free donut on your birthday!

12. Sonic

Receive a special birthday treat when you sign up for a My Sonic account!

13. Olive Garden

Sign up for their eClub and receive a free appetizer or dessert on your birthday!

14. Great American Cookies

Get a free birthday surprise when you join the Cookie Club!

15. Dippin' Dots

By signing up for the Dot Crazy! rewards program, you can receive a free cup on your birthday!

16. Panera

When you join MyPanera, you can receive a free birthday pastry!

17. Red Robin

Yuuuuum! Get a free birthday burger when you register for Red Robin Royalty program!

18. Waffle House

Members of the Waffle House Regulars club can get a free waffle on their birthday!

19. Texas Roadhouse

Get a birthday gift by signing up for their email club!

20. IHOP

By signing up for Pancake Revolution, you can receive a free meal on your birthday! That's right, an entire meal!

21. Cracker Barrel

Go to Cracker Barrel on your birthday and get a free dessert!

22. Ruby Tuesday

Get a free birthday burger by joining their email club!

23. Wingstop

Members of The Club can get a free order of seasoned fries on their birthday!

24. Denny's

Go to Denny's, show them you ID, and receive a free Grand Slam on your birthday!

25. Cinnabon

Get a special birthday gift by registering for Club Cinnabon!

26. Longhorn Steakhouse

Create a My Longhorn account to receive a free treat on your birthday!

27. Zaxby's

Sign up for Zax Mail and receive a free Nibbler on your birthday!

28. Hooters

By joining the Hooters E-Club, you can get a free birthday gift!

29. TGI Fridays

Members of Friday's Rewards Loyalty Program get a free dessert on their birthday!

Cover Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/39908901@N06/8606910883

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5 Reasons That Every College Student NEEDS An Amazon Prime Account

The first six months are free!

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While there are a ton of things that college students want but don't really need, an Amazon Prime account is one of those things that all college students NEED to have.

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When you sign up for an Amazon Prime account as a college student, your first six months are free. Free is a favorite word amoungst college students and an Amazon Prime account is no exception.

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If you have an Amazon Prime account, you are able to access Amazon Video which has a plethora of TV shows and movies waiting to be binged.

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4. Renting textbooks on Prime is SO easy.

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Tell me something worse than having to rush to buy your textbooks before they sell out from the student union. Skip the hassle, Amazon Prime has all of the textbooks that you need.

5. You can order all of your groceries straight from Amazon Prime.

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If you're a lazy college student, don't worry, most are, little things like going to the grocery store are annoying AF, ESPECIALLY if you don't have a car on campus. Instead, you can order all of your groceries through your Prime account.


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