Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Susan Davis: The titles are so similar that it's superficially easy to confuse the two, but the JMS series was Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, not Captain Planet and the Planeteers.

Looney Toons: Well, yeah, that was my bonehead error when I first wrote up the page. I certainly knew better. Much later I'd realized I'd made that mistake somewhere, but I never went looking for it; I should have.
Looney Toons: Wiki, what is it you're trying to say with
  • If Ben10 automatically comes off as a toy deal series by first glance, wait till you see its sales.

I'm not sure if you mean the sales figures are so low that they bely the appearance of a Merchandise-Driven show, or that the figures are far higher than expected.

Wiki: Sorry bout that, I guess I was a bit obscure. I mean if you really watch the thing, it really displays strong toy deal comes first traits, and the noteably high sales compound to it. Basically they achieved what they were going for.

Cassius335: Memo to Wildvine; Get a new agent.

Scrounge: He has a better agent than any of the new aliens from Season 3 or 4, apparently. Think any of them will ever get a Transformation Sequence? LATER: They never did. Some of them never even got used again. Isn't it sad, Eye Guy?
Seven Seals: There was a sizeable list of parodies and aversions of this trope that was completely cut. Is there some new policy I haven't been informed of that they're no longer in fashion? (Like any ego-based editor I am, of course, ticked off that one of my examples was cut, not genuinely interested in the overall quality.)

Ethereal Mutation: I'm going to put them back in. Looks like they were a kneejerk deletion. If somebody feels the need to delete a large section of an article, bring it up in discussion first.

Nlpnt: The picture demands some sort of Dick Cheney joke, but I just can't think of a good one at the moment.
Vampire Buddha: I took a chainsaw to this page. Here's what I removed and why (Haruhi bless folders):

    open/close all folders 

    Irrelevant crap 

    Incorrect examples 

The thing with most of these is that simply having merchandise, even a whole lot of merchandise, does not mean it's merchandise driven. Having one or two items, as in the comics and Gargoyles examples, is about as far from merchandise driven as you can get while still having toys.

The webcomic examples also don't fit because the creators originally wrote them for fun, and The Merch accumulated gradually. It would only count as this trope if the creators had the merchandise first, and wrote the comic to fit.

As for Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, and Mirabelle... those are fricking toys! A toy cannot possibly be merchandise driven, because it is merchandise. Now, if Mirabelle had her own cartoon, then yeah, that would fit the trope.

Perhaps it might be an idea to make a whole new Merchandise page for discussion of merchandise in general? (23:46 GMT, 16/4/2009)

Daibhid C: The Gargoyles example, as well as the Super- and Spider-Mobiles, seem to be looking at it from the wrong angle. Not "This franchise exists to sell merchandise" but "Elements of this franchise exist purely to be merchandise, due to Executive Meddling, and don't really belong in it at all".

Madrugada: Chainsawed incorrect examples. Open to discussion if someone thinks they should be replaced. Keep in min, the definition of this trope is not"Shows with a heavy merchandising tie-in" but "Shows which were produced in order to sell merchandise." In other words, The merchandise is the only reason the show even was made in the first place.

  • Futari wa Pretty Cure has been accused of existing primarily to sell show-themed virtual pet/cellphones and card decks to young teen girls.
  • Marmalade Boy and Hana Yori Dango both had merchandise items inserted into their plots (reportedly to the detriment of those plots); these items were sold by the primary sponsor of the programs, Tomy.

  • The original Macross series was not particularly merch-driven but ended up doing very well; its successor Macross 7, however, is very obviously driven by its need to sell toys given how often the elaborate transformation sequences are shown, as well as the very kid-friendly level of violence in the series.
  • The amount of Executive Meddling that turned Sailor Moon into this by the last two seasons is legendary.

If it wasn't merchandise driven from the very beginning, it isn't merchandise-driven, since this trope relies on the conditions leading to the creation of the show..

  • To hear it from accounts of Jon Peters' tenure on Superman Lives, he wanted to make the film as toyetic as possible. L-Ron, a robot personal assistant from Giffen's run on Justice League International, would be brought in as "Brainiac's gay robot sidekick." In the J.J. Abrams script, Superman's mom and dad (oh yeah, Krypton doesn't blow up in that script) have an alien dog that was explicitly designed to be turned into a toy. And when Tim Burton was brought on, there was talk about giving Superman a reliance on "Kryptonian gadgetry," making him Batman, only invincible.
  • The same thing happened with Batman & Robin, when Joel Schumacher was told by the Warner Bros. executives to make Batman & Robin "as kid-friendly as possible" and to make it "more toyetic", following the success of his last film, Batman Forever. Co-star Chris O'Donnell joked that making Batman & Robin was like "making a toy commercial".
    • Possibly lampshaded by Poison Ivy in the film:
      Poison Ivy: I'm a lover, not a fighter! That's why every Poison Ivy action figure comes with [Bane]!
  • Star Wars. The original trilogy has a shitload of merchandise (Boba Fett action figures, anyone?) due to George Lucas deliberately making the setting as toyetic as possible. It is also rumoured that he replaced Wookies with Ewoks in Return of the Jedi because it would be easier to make a toyline. It was only, with the prequel trilogy, however, that he worked directly with toy manufacturers to work in as many action figures and vehicles as he could. Just about anyone will agree that the paddingtastic pod racing scene in Episode One was only inserted to let Lucasarts make a tie-in racing game.
    • In an interesting inversion however, Lucas has control over what toys the company makes while the company (Hasbro) has no control over what potential merchandise appears in the film. After the sucess of the first Star Wars film, Lucas created a board of people to oversee and approve or deny the creation of toys, which at the time were made by Kenner, as he was disgusted by one of their original proposed products which was a group of generic space alien action figures placed in a bag with the Star Wars logo attached.
  • Arguably Extreme Makeover: Home Edition belongs in this category, due to the show's intense focus on Product Placement. The show has been called an hour-long Sears commercial.

Making a work that allows for merchandise tie-ins is not the same as making a film solely to promote the merchandise line.

  • The Little Orphan Annie radio show from The Thirties offered decoders, mugs and other merch by mail order. In addition to payment, kids were required to send in proof-of-purchase of the sponsor's product. That, of course, makes it Older Than Television.
    • Brilliantly portrayed in A Christmas Story, where Ralphie finally gets his long-sought and -desired decoder badge, painstakingly works on the code given at the end of the show, believing with childhood innocence he was honestly going to help little Annie... only to find a crummy ad for Ovaltine.

Examples of The Merch or Product Placement. Not Merchandise-Driven.

  • Older than you think. Several cartoons from the 50's were like this. Specifically I can only remember the Peter Potomus series but there were others too.

Nope. There was no Peter Potamus merchandise until after the show. Ideal Toy Company was the sponsor but had no input into the content.

  • ''Spongebob Squarepants" after the series had been put on hiatus for about two years the show was revived after executives saw how well sales were going for toys, dvds, clothing, and other merchandise relating to the show, unfortunately the show was never as good as it was after it came back and they just won't seem to let it end.
  • Cars.

Again, the merchandise had to come first. That is not true of either of these examples.

Deleted the entire Aversions/Parodies section:
  • Parodied in Freakazoid!!. During a scene where Freakazoid is using his Super Speed to chase a villain down the highway, the writing crew of the show drive up next to him and suggest that he use the Freakmobile instead, in order to increase toy sales.
  • The Cheat Commandos cartoons on Homestar Runner are an explicit parody: locations are referred to as "playsets" by the characters, one commonly-used vehicle is "The Action Figure Storage Truck", and the show's theme song ends with "Buy all our playsets and toys!"
    • They even have their own brand of breakfast cereals: "Cheat Commandos-O's, ridiculous breakfast! Buy all our playsets and toys!"
  • Another parody comes in the movie Spaceballs, where all of the "merchandising" is shown in the movie. All of the merchandise is named "Spaceballs the (name of item)"... including both the standard (breakfast cereals, dolls) and the absurd (toilet paper and flamethrowers). The joke was extended on the original VHS release, as the cassette's box carried the title "Spaceballs the Home Video". Sadly, the DVD has no such tag, though a voice does bellow, "Spaceballs the DVD Menu!" when you start it up. In the film, a character also references a "sequel" named Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money.
    • Perhaps ironically, some of the items — notably the coloring book and the lunch box — are Transformers merchandise with Spaceballs labels on them!
    Yogurt: We put the picture's name on everything! Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the real money from the movie is made.
  • Parodied ruthlessly in The Simpsons, with the "Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Choc-O-Bot Hour", featuring chocolate-themed Transformers-type robots. In response to the question of whether it could be made longer to satisfy the demand for "educational programming", an executive calls the show "barely legal as it is".
  • Twisted in the webcomic Shortpacked!, as there is a definite merchandise influence... But it's stuff the creator buys rather than sells.
  • Shōnen Tournament Arc series based around invented, marketable games are common enough that Hikaru no Go and Akagi's use of ancient public domain games (go and mahjong, respectively) counts as subversion.
  • Director Guillermo del Toro resisted attempts to give Hellboy a toyetic car or dog (along with a lot of other Executive Meddling).
    • If you can't successfully market a BPRD toy line, you're in the wrong line of work.
  • Parodied/satirized in Watchmen, where Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias has capitalized on his own success as a superhero, and the books explicitly show his own action figure sitting on his desk. Now for the fun part — with the upcoming Watchmen movie, they've already started making Watchmen toys including, of course, Ozymandias. But he's not wearing purple.
    • For added irony value, in the comic Adrian Veidt sends his toy people a memo saying he feels it would be a bad idea to market a Rorschach toy, presumably because Rorschach is a brutal, misogynistic, racist, sexist, homophobic vigilante who brutally murders people. Guess what's hitting the shelves to tie in with the film?
      • There are also Watchmen condoms. In glow-in-the-dark blue. With "We're society's only protection" emblazoned on the packaging. It's pretty clear that the movie merchandise is itself an elaborate parody.
  • Similarly satirized in The Specials, in which a B-List superteam starts coming apart at the seams after a merchandising deal produces action figures of them rife with deliberate and outrageously extreme Adaptation Decay.
  • Parodied in Monty Python's Flying Circus, where E. Henry Thripshaw discovers a new disease (a verbal disorder), names it after himself, and sets out to make lucrative licensing deals.
  • The concept is brought up during Warren Ellis's run on Thunderbolts. Norman Osborne explains to Songbird that she's staying on the team, despite her moral objections, because of her "toyetic" nature, so that the Thunderbolts can more easily be marketed to the American people (that, and he has blackmail photos of her and Baron Zemo).
  • Parodied in Wildguard where Wannabe created variations of her costume for a number of different purposes: Artic, Deep Sea, Hazmat, etc.
    • Also, Road Rash has an action figure of himself that shots water from its hands. Only problem is his power is invisibility.
  • Mike Mignola said he came up with the idea for The Amazing Screw-On Head after wandering through a toy aisle, seeing all the different Batman figures and how they were essentially the same head on different bodies.
  • The Jurassic Park franchise has milked its share of toy products, video games, and the like, but there is also in-movie merchandising alluded to largely in the first movie, by Gennaro in one scene ("We can charge anything we want, two-thousand a day, ten thousand a day, and people will pay it. And then there's the merchandising..."), and by a close-up shot of a shelf full of merch later on (before panning to Hammond pondering over some ice cream)