Nerf has entered a new and polarizing chapter.
On Friday, the popular toy company—mostly known for its selection of foam-dart blasters—introduced the world to its first-ever mascot, Murph. According to AdWeek, the faceless anthropomorphic character is made entirely out of foam darts, and is described as “a playful spirit and gifted athlete” that uses they, their, them pronouns.
“We wanted to introduce a mascot that represents this ageless, unbridled fun that lives in all of us and creates a physical embodiment of that feeling you get when you play with Nerf,” said Adam Kleinman, global VP of Nerf’s parent company Hasbro. “Nerf recognizes that while screens are great, there remains a need for kids, and their parents, to get out, get active and make memories.”
Murph is part of the company’s “Unleash the Play in You” marketing campaign, and will appear in stores, ads, and social media content later this month. However, the mascot didn’t receive a warm welcome from consumers, many of whom called the character “nightmarish,” “terrifying,” and down right creepy.
You can read some of the reactions below.