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Office Wars: Helping Germany Have Fun at Work

NERF Blasters are colourful toys that fire foam darts or disks, but this type of play is not always seen as appropriate for German children. How do we sell them?

We found two clear insights that helped us identify and connect with a new target audience for NERF.  First, we realised that toy blasters were perfect for young men who hadn’t really grown up.

Second, we knew that young men just starting their working lives could find sitting at a computer screen frustrating. They needed to let off steam.

This led to our solution: Office Wars – five minutes of great fun – before getting back to some serious hard work.

How We Conquered the New Target Group
We identified “Stromberg” – the German equivalent of “The Office” in the US – as the must-watch primetime show for our target. The fifth season was in production after a two-year break, and the anticipation was massive.

In close collaboration with the production house Brainpool, we embedded the NERF Blasters into the entire series. We kicked off a national craze for office warfare and started a new passion. The key to success was to ensure that the connection between the NERF Blaster and the show was seamless. Our savvy audience would see through anything inauthentic. The next step was to use search, partnerships and social media to turn this engagement with the product on-screen into sales.  We supported each episode with a smart search strategy, driving consumers to Amazon to buy “the Blasters from Stromberg” during and after each broadcast. We also sold NERF Blasters via the official “Stromberg” shop, reinforcing that they were a real part of the show.

Finally, we connected via a Facebook page where 500,000 fans got a message from the main character himself, Bernd Stromberg, who said he didn’t want his staff fighting anymore, so fans should try to win the Blasters from the show.

Internationally Recognised Success Case
We not only earned massive social buzz and free media coverage, but also doubled the sales on Amazon in the all-important pre-Christmas season.

In addition to the success for our client, the campaign has won internationally- recognised creative awards from The Global Festival of Media and Cannes Lions.

“Working for our branded play division, we at Hasbro feel greatly honoured and   encouraged by the Lions to continue to deliver immersive brand experiences to our consumers – anytime and anywhere.”

Markus Grossweischede, Marketing Director, Hasbro Germany

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