Hasbro is now facing an international boycott of its Nerf products after tricking a fan blogger into giving the company his address in order to send legal notices.
Hasbro’s problem was with a post published by Martyn Yang on his toyblaster review blog Urban Taggers last year—a review of the N-STRIKE ELITE “RAMPAGE” BLASTER, which Nerf was not yet selling but, as Yang pointed out on his blog, was already widely available.
“I had genuinely believed that I was not doing anything wrong by Hasbro given that my endorsements are for genuine products etc,” Yang told Australian news site Crikey. “As a consumer and long-time fan, I felt that the far from up-front emails from Hasbro and their lawyers were very poor behaviour from such a large and sophisticated organisation.”
The problem started when Hasbro sent Yang an email offering him some Nerf gun accessories for a giveaway. All the company needed was his address, and Yang quickly complied.
However, the freebies never came. Instead, six days later, he received a threatening letter from Hasbro’s law firm, Baker and Mckenzie, demanding Yang take down the post immediately. Yang agreed, but after that matters only got worse. Even though Yang cooperated, Nerf could not determine who was distributing the leaked products.
Three weeks later, Yang discovered representatives from the law firm allegedly hanging around his apartment and questioning his neighbors. This was the last straw for Yang.
“I really do not appreciate being ambushed by lawyers or their representatives on a Sunday afternoon when I haven't done anything wrong,” he wrote to Nerf. “I have taken down the images and it's not my fault that neither you nor Hasbro seem to be able to find out whoever the original source of the guns.”
He shared the saga, including the full email quoted above, with Urban Taggers community members, many of whom vowed to boycott the company.
“Hasbro is just insane. Everyone knows Urban Taggers is the biggest and best blog and do a helluva lot more for the Nerf brand than any other marketing channel,” wrote one commenter.
“I've been having a lot of reservations about Hasbro stuff lately, and this just cemented my resolve to not buy Hasbro anymore,” wrote another.
Hasbro’s legal threats not only failed to determine the source of leaked Nerf products, it also alienated its biggest customers in the process. Now that's a review worth deleting.
Photo via Urban Taggers