"Hi Pocket. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the new Rebelle line. Do you feel girls really need their own line of blasters branded and designed specifically for them?"
"What do you think about the new Rebelle line? I like the blasters but hate the pink. Why do you think they did that?"
"Are you going to buy the new Rebelle series of blasters from Nerf?"
Ahh, Rebelle. Talk about making a splash! The upcoming Rebelle line from Nerf has quite the buzz and maybe it's good to start shaking things up a little from communities other than those in the Nerf world. I generally prefer to stick to the toys themselves rather than the themes behind it, but for this particular one I thought I'd finally deliver a rant piece, so here's my own thoughts- after the jump:)
So when it comes down to the new upcoming Nerf Rebelle line of blasters, from a purely selfish point of view, I’m actually not at all fussed about whether it’s for girls or boys or pink or green or whatever. As with all Nerf gear, if you want to paint it, you can and will regardless of whatever the stock colour is. And if you’re bringing it to games, it’s more important that it performs well, (which from the sounds of it it will, given its stock Elite ranges ) so I don’t think it really matters what it looks like ( and I’ve seen some of your mods out there fellas, and some of you are clearly function over form!) .
What I think really matters here, is Nerf are releasing new cool blasters for 2013; some with some pretty innovative never before seen in Nerf tech like hammer cocking and a bow that shoots elite darts. If we were the types of people who cared what people thought of us then we wouldn’t be into this hobby in the first place. As long a they’re not shaped like stereotypical cliché “girly” things like unicorns, our community can do things with them to make them look awesome. I have no doubt in the hands of props builders like Johnson Arms and Nerfenstein that that “pretty” white and pink scheme is going to look seriously bad ass with a new coat of paint and some imagination. That being said I have to admit though, black, white and pink is actually a pretty cool palette and much nicer than original Vortex or N-Strike ever was. (it's almost Bret Hart of WWE fame inspired. And he was the excellence of execution!:P)
|Bret Hart would endorse Rebelle:D|
But, I’m dodging the question somewhat. DO I feel girls need their own line of blasters branded and designed specifically for them?
To be honest, no, not really. I’ve always said if I had kids, I would be strongly against dressing them in stereotypical gender specific colours. I’ve also never been one to follow traditional stereotypical male/female activities and roles. I’m a guy who studied fashion design and was a perfume consultant and had a pink bike as a kid because it was that or nothing. And closer to home, I’ve always been critical of the terms “boys toys” and “girls toys”. But that’s me, and while I adopt this belief, it’s not necessarily what others think. It’s definitely not what the masses think because this isn’t actually anything new. Check out the ride on toys section, and you can see exactly the same car or bike painted (and/or licenced) differently depending on whether it’s for a boy or a girl.
A lot of the things identified in the market research as to what a “Rebelle girl” is, could be very easily apply to boys too. Like being social? Who likes Nerfing on their own?:P Active? Creative? I'm pretty sure these are not gender specific traits. Other things that have been discussed like accessorising? Um.. think we’ve all been screaming for more attachments from day dot. And even collectable darts- how many of us went out and bought the camo darts because they looked cool?
So.. while yes, Katniss from the Hunger Games did make using a bow cool again.. well so did Hawkeye from the Avengers. (I’m pretty sure the Hawkeye bow was purple too!)
If it was me, I’d have probably preferred to blur the line more by featuring more girls in the advertising alongside boys. Marketed it more as a “all in” type of game play where the whole gender thing stays out of it and the foam is the focus. But the sad state of things is from a “real world” marketing perspective- this might not sell. The age that these Nerf blasters are targeted at is used to being segregated and playing apart, so combining the marketing strategy in a ‘shot gun’ approach probably wouldn’t work.
I’ve always believed that marketers fail to challenge assumptions and play it safe when they’re actually in the position to facilitate change and break down many stereotypes and barriers, but when big $$ are on the line, the risks taken are few and far and in between. I've actually seen many products with a very similar colour scheme to these new Rebelle blasters- secret diaries and backpacks and so forth. Least you can coordinate, right?:)
My whole life I’ve been surrounded by strong, independent women who to be honest would see right past Nerf’s somewhat blatant attempt at appealing to ‘girls’ (even my 13yo sister would prefer an Elite series blaster) and wouldn't be interested. But this sort of marketing exists for a reason, and has for decades so perhaps it's just the way things are and it works. So will it sell?
In my opinion, it’ll do ok. And it'll people like you and me who couldn’t care less about being the target audience will probably be the ones buying them:)