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Online gaming in the real world with Nerf toys

sales growth
over target

Nerf, one of the leading children’s toy companies in the world, is known for its flashy coloured blasters and the endless fun they provide. However, in 2019, the blaster giant faced a number of challenges and turned to Dept to help them reconnect with their target audience. By helping the brand to reposition itself, Nerf is back on top.

An increase in competition

The global children’s toy company, which emerged in 1969, creates a variety of “safe-foam” products ranging from sports balls to dart blasters. In recent years, competition in the toy industry has greatly increased, especially with the rise of online gaming, and brands have a shorter and shorter lifecycle. Nerf was facing a similar problem in the Dutch market; they were no longer considered “cool” and had more companies than ever to compete against. Nerf had a clear goal in mind: to achieve an additional +8% in revenue. For us, this translated into one goal: we wanted Nerf toys to reappear on children’s Christmas lists.


we aimed to have Nerf toys reappear on children’s Christmas list

Embrace instead of compete

Instead of competing with online gaming, our experts decided to use it to Nerf’s advantage by connecting the brand to the online world and gamers. How did we do this? By working with the most popular gaming influencers in the Netherlands to create Nerf Battle Royale. An offline game which feels very similar to an online game and which uses signature Nerf blasters. The idea and the content were distributed via YouTube, one of the most visited platforms for gamers. By being visible where the target demographic was watching gaming videos, boosted the brand’s credibility. Lastly, our experts also worked closely with, a Dutch marketplace website, as a sales partner to make Nerf products readily available to parents and grandparents who wanted to purchase them for their children.


A three-step plan

To ensure the campaign was viewed as authentic and credible, we focused on selecting influencers who represent Nerf’s values. Ultimately, this led us to choose four popular influencers who took part in a three-phase process:

  • Phase one: The gaming influencers announce that they will participate in the first-ever Nerf Battle Royale. Each influencer forms a team which fans can be a part of.
  • Phase two: The four teams compete on a massive Nerf Battle Royale site. 
  • Phase three: Launch the campaign across multiple social media platforms, via TV commercials and on

In the end, over 16,750 kids signed up for the Nerf Battle Royale – a huge success. Within six weeks, we reached 23.9 million views on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch and Giphy. And’s assets added an additional four million views. More importantly, Nerf sales grew by + 26%, a huge 18% above the target. This resulted in the best Q4 turnover ever for Nerf NL.


Combining both online and offline worlds

By harnessing the power of both online and offline aspects, our experts helped Nerf to achieve substantial sales growth with the help of smart campaigns, using four strategically chosen influencers. Come Christmas time, Nerf was back to being one of the most desired items on a kid’s wishlist.

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