[Screenshot from YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8fU3_VMeL8]
Since the beginning of the country, kids learned to shoot.
And kids had guns.
The real kind.
They also played with toy guns, thanks to the era of Cowboys and Indians.
And the G-man craze.
Later, science fiction put black and silver plastic lasered weapons in the hands of the young.
But then came the 90’s — put an orange tip on that toy!
Then: Make that whole thing orange!
But just as a reminder, judging by the crime rate at the time, everything seemed okay back when we had this:
And how about a little bit of the fantastic Kurt Russell:
But we’re kinder and gentler nowadays.
Hence, a consumer group in New York has called on toymaker Hasbro to cease all sales of “assault style” weapons. That would be, plastic guns that fire Nerf darts.
The Empire State Consumer Project has delivered a letter to the company’s board of directors, noting, “As the holidays approach, we are reminded of our mission to protect the safety of children.”
And what keeps kids safe? The removal of foam projectiles and the propensity to fire them:
As we watch holiday toy commercials, we see the Nerf Ultra One and other extreme Nerf machine guns for children and are reminded of mass shootings that have devastated American children and families for decades now. In these times, the TV ad for this product plays like a Saturday Night Live parody, except that it is not at all funny.
Here’s the ULTRA One:
Does that conjure SNL?
It’s a matter of this being a very vulnerable consumer group. Children buy what they see and we’re not sure this is driven by market demand for assault weapon toys by children or the industry creating the demand.
In the view of ESCP, it’s about values. And how could anyone possibly find “joy” in shooting a gun?
When your products themselves violate most of your proclaimed corporate values, something is very wrong. How does promoting play with huge automatic weapons create joy, creativity and connection around the world, and across generations, and make the world a better place for children? How do these weapon products use your business as a force for good? Who would this child be shooting with his cache of assault weapons?
It’s also keenly about (and get ready for a lot more of this word in the future) dignity:
Marketing assault weapon toys to this most vulnerable group of consumers is an assault on their dignity and their worth as human beings. We implore you to remove assault-style toy weapons from your product offering. Social responsibility asks for a connection between the hearts of board members and the people who generate their profits, in this case, the children.Be responsible to these children; be leaders on this issue…your shareholders will thank you.
There is nothing good that can come from the constant assault on boyhood. This whiny letter to Hasbro demanding they remove the only play weapons of war left on the shelves is yet another example of it. If the nincompoops who wrote it manage to get their ideas in front of New York lawmakers, it’s almost a certainty they’ll outlaw the toys. Albany lawmakers have nothing better to do than make everything from plastic bags to large sodas illegal in New York (except tearing full-term babies to pieces. They have lots of tolerance for violence and murder within the womb).
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