|Farshot Blaster and target from Argos|
Under the name BOOMco, Mattel is launching a new brand that promises to be every bit as extreme as their blaster making competitors over at Hasbro. Their website, officially launching April 1st, displays young male teens skateboarding, eating some 'za, and engaging in spectacular foam combat inside every child's dream location: a warehouse. Overall, the marketing shows a group of relaxed teens having fun, as opposed to the series tacticool look of Nerf commercials.
|Twisted Spinner from Argos|
The blasters themselves don't appear too different than Nerf's own creations. They utilize foam darts with sticky tips to grip onto specialized targets. The videos show the teens attaching their targets on stationary structures as well as each other. Anyone who follows Nerf might have noticed the lack of Dart Tag blasters and accessories as of late. Could this be an attempt by Mattel to claim this neglected demographic?
One hurdle that Mattel faces is pigeonholing their target audience to teen males. Recently Nerf has been targeting multiple audiences, including girls with their Rebelle brand as well as the Humans vs Zombies fans with their Zombie Strike line. The Nerf brand is strong among young males, competing just in that demographic will be an uphill battle.
|BOOMco Darts are longer than Nerf Elite Streamlines! Picture from Argos|
One edge that BOOMco will have over all the current competition is money. Companies like Tek-Recon are much smaller in scale than Hasbro and have had difficulties going blow for blow against the toy giant. Mattel is ranked as a top Fortune 500 company and has access to many resources that can provide useful for competing against Hasbro. If this is anything like the Mega Bloks acquisition, it could serve as the first shots fired in a very expensive war for the blaster market.
Ultimately, BOOMco serves to be a threat to a brand that has for a long time dominated the toy blaster space. Competition in any industry is great for consumers, as the brands involved will create better products at possibly cheaper prices. While the science behind the new BOOMco blasters is unkown, I would be surprised to see specs and ranges that aren't at least on par with Nerf. Mattel should understand that with a brand this large, you can't be limping into the pot and hoping to get lucky.
What do you think about Mattel competing against Hasbro? Do you think BOOMco has a shot at taking down Nerf? Do you think both brands can coexist, or is it truly Nerf or Nothing? Comment below and let us know!