If you grew up in the '90s, '00s or the '10s, then you probably know the brand Nerf. Although the foam-based weaponry supplier began life in 1969, its famous toy guns weren't released until 1989. Now 53 years after the company's foundation and 33 years after the release of the foam-shooting guns, Nerf has decided it needs a mascot – and the internet is terrified.
The company's new mascot is called Murph (presumably a joke playing on the words 'Nerf' and 'mascot'), and it looks something like a foam bullet yeti and certainly isn't a creature you would want to meet down a dark alley at night (see above and below). The humanoid foam beast has caused quite an uproar online, with many comparing the mascot to a mop, to Gritty the Philadelphia Flyers mascot and even to the large roller cleaners used in car washes. I'm not sure about you, but I think that after seeing this foamy abomination, I'll stick to the best lego sets for adults to satisfy my inner child.
According to AdoftheWeek (opens in new tab), Murph was created by The Martin Agency (opens in new tab). The creature uses they/them pronouns and is entirely made of Nerf's famous foam bullets, making it (or them) look a strange mix between spikey and cuddly (I just can't decide). The colourful anamorphic being was released alongside a new slogan, 'Unleash the play in you'. And considering the looks of this sinister Nerf beast, we can see 'unleash' as a fairly fitting verb.
Part of the reason the mascot is so unnerving is probably because it doesn't have a face. That and the fact that it appears to always be seen wielding a gun. However, I can imagine that having Murph on your side during a big Nerf battle could be pretty useful as you would never run out of bullets (although as a grown adult, I'm not sure how many more Nerf fights I'll find myself in to need them).
I'm not the only one who's slightly bemused by Murph's bizarre appearance. Over on Twitter, many users have responded to the launch of the mascot with horror. One user tweeted, "People will absolutely fall in love with something weird & ugly. They will not fall in love with some Lovecraftian Nerf Horror from the Abyss Who Sees into Your Soul with Ten Thousand Unseen Eyes".
Another wrote, "I mean it’s kind of a dope concept but it should have been killed then because it’s creepy af". However, one user did point out that "As memeable as this is, it's not entirely creatively bankrupt. In fact, it reeks very much of 90s marketing energy." That's a point I can agree with. It does kind of remind me of the weird McDonald's mascots from the '90s.
Yooooo, it's so crazy seeing Murph becoming the official mascot of NERF. I still remember when we both worked at the car wash in high school. Proud of you dude. 👏 pic.twitter.com/j2HTEJPzAzJune 18, 2022
Hasbro introduced the new NERF mascot, Murph. Pictured here with his cousin the Tooth Child from Candle Cove pic.twitter.com/5ygGZmQdaVJune 18, 2022
So is Murph almost literally "Nerfed Anti bear Armor"? pic.twitter.com/KEoYfjZu1RJune 17, 2022
It's safe to say I probably won't be sleeping for a few days while I try and fight off the mental image of Murph (perhaps I'll brush on our tips for a good night's sleep first). If you also think Murph is, well, terrifying, then why not have a go at designing your very own Nerf mascot? Just head over to our guide on how to download Photoshop if you need to upgrade your software to 'unleash' your creativity.