Marketing is a funny thing. Some product slogans are so good that they evolve into common phrases in the English language.
Think of some of the legendary taglines: “Just do it.” “Maybe she’s born with it.” “The best a man can get.” “Eat fresh.” You don’t even need to see the logo or the company colors or branding to know what product they’re referring to.
There’s one from the late 1960s that doesn’t get nearly enough credit, though, and it’s an absolute banger. It makes me chuckle just thinking about it.
“You can’t hurt babies or old people.”
Whose product messaging is that, you might ask? A company whose toys have been hot commodities for more than 50 years: Nerf.
The iconic toymaker behind timeless classics such as the Super Soaker, foam-rubber dart guns, footballs and basketballs used to market its original release — a simple ball — as “the world’s first indoor ball.”
“Throw it indoors; you can’t damage lamps or break windows. You can’t hurt babies or old people,” read the tagline. And they were right.
The company started making indoor sports equipment in the early 1970s after the success of the OG Nerf ball, with a football and a basketball for shooting “NERFoops,” and a living room baseball arrived in 1983.
The Super Soaker, originally called the Power Drencher, landed in 1989 courtesy of a former NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer named Lonnie Johnson, who invented the backyard water fight weapon of choice. The Super Soaker was brought into the Nerf family in 2010.
The Nerf line has rolled with the times since the new millennium, with an incredible range of foam-dart firepower hitting toy store shelves and under Christmas trees around the world.
Now, to celebrate those iconic toys that defined the 1990s, parent company Hasbro has joined forces with Reebok (for the second time this year) on a sneaker collaboration that’ll take you on a trip down memory lane.
You’ll have a choice between the Reebok x Nerf Pump Omni Zone II, with the groundbreaking Pump customizable fit system, in “Light Jammer” and “Big Bad Backboard” colorways.
The “Light Jammer” is inspired by the light-up NERFoop design, while the “Big Bad Backboard” takes its cues from the legendary Nerfoop Big Bad Backboard.
Another Reebok classic, Shawn Kemp’s Kamikaze signature model, gets a slick 90s-aesthetic makeover in this pack too.
The collection offers a mid-cut and a low-top version in a “Backboard Breaker” colorway which needs no further explanation.
No matter which pair you choose, the Nerf x Reebok kicks all come in special packaging that unfolds into a functioning door jamb backboard for at-home hooping and the next generation of dreamers.
The Nerf x Reebok collection drops in Men’s sizing on 6/25 at finishline.com.
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