Off Campus

28 September 2005

A Nerf's a Nerf

We here at OC, being of sound mind and pocketbook, are ever-vigilant regarding consumer protection and product awareness. Wherever there may arise a new and interesting product, we pride ourselves in passing the word on to you, our faithful reader (you know who you are, George Sanderson, 1334 N. Beachwood, Trengley, WI). Likewise, when consumer products fail to meet the needs of consumer-type people (or "When Products Attack", as Fox TV would say), we feel it is our responsibility to bring these facts to you, the consumer, so that you, the consumer, can be better informed in your decision to buy, say, an egg-beater that also lets you download ringtones or a shoehorn that doubles as a stun-gun.

In light of this consumer awarenessness, we have recently had cross our desks an internal memo from the Nerf company, detailing a list of proposed Nerf products that, for one reason or another, failed to meet the high standards of the Nerf company, and never made it beyond the prototype stage. The following document (with sections XXXXX'ed out that are deemed to be sensitive information and/or a threat to Nerfional security) lists several rejected products, along with brief reasons for their failure to proceed past the testing phase at Nerf Labs. We hope you will find this information useful when....uh...not buying products that don't exist.


Internal Memo

Nerf Industries
Product Testing and Evaluation Department

Re: 2004 Q3 Product Prototype Results - Section 3B to 4Y - Negative Group



Product No. 548325
The Nerf Pilates Ball

Test subjects had difficulty maintaining balance on the Nerf Pilates Ball, complaining that it lacked the necessary support to perform exercise and instead caused them to crash awkwardly to the floor whenever they attempted to place their weight on it. Suggestions were made that the item would be better served as an oversized pillow or dodge-ball substitute.

Product No. 882184
The Nerf Switchblade

While the product functioned properly, never failing to spring open when activated, the parents of some test subjects expressed concern over a product that would encourage children to have playground knife fights and begin using the terms "shiv", "blade", and "pig-sticker". Test groups of children (aged 4-7) were often found dividing up into gangs and shaking down the research observers for candy and spare change. Failure of this product to proceed beyond testing phase also brings to a close the development of the satellite product line of Nerf Zoot Suits.

Product No. 828637
The Nerf Bicycle Helmet

Field tests on this product indicate a basic re-design, if not complete abandonment, is necessary. Crash tests indicate that Nerf alone is not enough to prevent lacerations, abrasions, and skull fractures when a subject wearing the Nerf Bicycle Helmet impacts against concrete, brick, or tightly-packed hay at speeds as high as 40MPH, and as low as 3MPH. It was also learned, tragically, that Nerf cannot stop bullets.

Product No. 258764
The Nerf Thermos

This product was essentially a failure on all counts. The Nerf Thermos failed to keep hot liquids hot, failed to keep cold liquids cold, and essentially failed to keep any liquids contained within its soft, porous form. Upon pouring liquids into the Nerf Thermos, they were basically absorbed within its walls and then slowly began seeping out onto the countertop. Clinically one of the most disgusting things our technicians have ever witnessed. Especially the beef stew.

Product No. 483571
The Nerf Fondue Set

Much like the Nerf Thermos, this product had containment issues. While the liquid contained here was of a thicker nature, thus prolonging the eventual absorption and oozing, the end results were nonetheless disturbing. Primary factors in the failure of this product were: A) Nerf and extreme heat do not mix, B) Hot cheese and burning Nerf create a potentially deadly odor, and C) no human should have to witness the sight of a melted cheese/Nerf puddle.

Product No 588214
Nerf Jarts

Seeking to capitalize on the nostalgia for the long-banned backyard game of the 70's, this product was designed to be totally safe, even in the event of direct ocular impact. The end result of a non-lethal, totally Nerf Jart, however, was a fairly non-aerodynamic (a stiff wind could send the projectile off-course and into another state) projectile that through no amount of forceful lobbing would stick into the ground. A sub-group tested a revised version of the Nerf Jart, which featured 10-lb lead weights attached to aid in terrestrial penetration, but ultimately this modification resulted in the destruction of the Nerf aspects of the product, as well as several broken feet and cheekbones.

Product No. 757128
The Nerf Two-Person Submersible

Designed as an amusement and low-depth exploration vehicle for children ages 5-9, this item succeeded in living up to its name, as no sooner did the two test subjects climb into it and close the hatch, than the submersible sank like a wet Nerf rock to the bottom of the test tank. More a submersible-shaped lead sponge than a recreational sea exploration toy, the item, in its present form, delivers a one-way trip only. Focus group research has indicated that any association of the Nerf name and the words "watery grave" would lead to negative market recognition and possible loss of sales in the long term.


Chief Engineer
Product Testing and Evaluation Department



We at Off Campus salute the staff at Nerf Labs for their continuing efforts in striving for safer consumer products, and making the world a better place through Nerf.