Created By: BlackbirdMizuFebruary 17, 2012 Last Edited By: BlackbirdMizuMay 9, 2014

Pet Fad Starter

When the appearance of an animal in a media leads to a growing demand for it.

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Trope
Needs a new name Needs more examples

When the appearance of an animal in a work of media leads to a sudden spike in demand for that animal. Basically, an animal version of The Red Stapler.

Just like with songs or certain pieces of merchandise, the appearance of a certain animal in a work of media will often lead to sudden attention on the animal, and thus a spike in demand for that animal. Quite common with dog breeds (as many dogs on TV are purebred) but does happen with other animals as well.

As with the impulse buy of any animal, this often leads to problems for the people who buy them. When a movie featuring a certain animal comes out, animal advocacy groups often put out messages to discourage people from buying the animal, and for good reason: when the hype dies down people often get bored of the pet, especially when the pet turned out to be more work than they expected. This has led to a lot of animals being abandoned.


Examples:

Advertisements
  • The famous "Taco Bell Dog" is often cited as the original source of the popularity of the chihuahua breed.

Film-Live Action
  • The Disney film Snow Dogs led to a short spike in demand for huskies, the breed featured in the film. Many dog and husky enthusiasts advised against this, as huskies are very high energy breeds (after all, they were bred to pull sleds for long distances) and aren't very good for many first-time owners.
  • Legally Blonde is one of a few things that has been credited with popularizing chihuahuas as "accessory" dogs.

Film-Animation
  • One of the more famous examples is One Hundred And One Dalmatians. The film made the breed more popular, and as a result, demand jumped up. Like many "fad" animals, several were abandoned a few months later, aided by the fact that dalmatians are very high-maintenance dogs that many owners aren't prepared to deal with.
  • As with dalmatians, Lady And The Tramp led to a sharp spike in demand for the Cocker Spaniel breed. The poor breeding done to meet the demand compounded the health problems the breed already had.
  • When the film Rio came out, some people feared that the film would lead to an increased demand for parrots, which would've been particularly bad since parrots are extremely high-maintenance animals that need constant attention and lots of patience, not to mention they often live for several decades. Thankfully, that never came to pass, though likely for cost reasons; parrots are expensive and run from several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Not exactly an impulse buy, especially for a first-time bird owner.
  • Ratatouille caused a demand for pet rats. Not the worst case, as rats are easy to care for even for a child, but it did lead to some abandoned rats.
  • Finding Nemo made tropical saltwater fish popular for a while, which was pretty ironic because a major point of the movie was that fish belong in the ocean.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • The popularity of Lassie led to a large demand for collies. As with other dog breeds that come into this effect, several were bred to meet the demand, leading to unhealthy, inbred dogs. Many people blame this for health problems the breed has today.

Western Animation
  • Pet turtles grew in popularity when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and movies became a hit. Many parents bought them for their kids without realizing how long the turtles can live, leading to many getting released in the wild and even becoming an invasive species in a few places.

Other
  • From time to time, seeing a big celebrity with a pet leads to a demand in them.
    • Paris Hilton is a notable example, and is often credited with/accused (depending on who you ask) of popularizing tiny "purse dogs" like chihuahuas.
Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • February 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Not a good name. It assumes that only one thing is thought if when it comes to affects that work has done. What about encouraging Fur And Loathing, or the particular art style Disney switched to for years with this film, or having a cast of talking animals?
  • February 17, 2012
    BlackbirdMizu
    Yeah, I know it needs a new name. 101DalmationsEffect is just sort of a "placeholder" name until I or someone else can think of a better one.
  • February 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • February 18, 2012
    Wyvernil
    This seems covered by The Red Stapler, though it could be a subtrope.
  • February 18, 2012
    BlackbirdMizu
    Pet Fad Starter? I like that!
  • February 18, 2012
    SilverFalcon
    Pet Propaganda perhaps?
  • February 18, 2012
    CurlyWurly
    Here in the UK, we have an insurance company called "comparethemarket.com" who's advertising campaign features an anthropomorphic meerkat telling people the difference between said website and "comparethemeerkat.com" (a fictional website set up by the company.) Since the advert's launch three or so years ago, meerkats have popped up all over the place in all forms of merchandising. Not sure how many people have got pet meerkats since. Would this be a sub-trope or an example for this one? Thanks, Curly.
  • February 18, 2012
    Waterlily
    I seem to recall reading about Marley And Me bumping the sales of Labrador Retreivers, but now that I look for that info I can't find it.

  • February 18, 2012
    BlackbirdMizu
    To Curly Wurly: This trope refers to more people buying an animal because they saw it in a movie or a show. What you posted belongs to a different trope.
  • February 18, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    The Finding Nemo entry misuses the word "ironic." I'd suggest replacing "pretty ironic" with "arguably Misaimed Fandom."

    EDITED IN: And what exactly is "surprising" about the Harry Potter example?
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    This is interesting, but make sure you put in in the Trivia section, because this isn't a storytelling trope.
  • February 26, 2012
    TBeholder
    to split or not to split?..
  • February 26, 2012
    surgoshan
    Yeah, Harry Potter's not surprising. JK Rowling did come out saying she hoped people wouldn't buy owls, as they are incredibly inappropriate as pets.
  • February 26, 2012
    Seguir
    Oh, you mean The Red Streamline Stapler?
  • March 10, 2012
    BlackbirdMizu
    I would argue the Harry Potter example is kind of surprising. Most of the other animals listed are already seen as traditional "pet" animals. Very few people keep owls as pets and they're not seen as pet animals, so it is weird that Harry Potter would start a trend of keeping owls as pets. (especially considering that other works featuring wild animals as pets do not typically cause this to happen)

    To Catbert: I will be sure to put this in the Trivia section. :3
  • March 10, 2012
    BlackbirdMizu
    Gah, having trouble figuring out how to list it as Trivia. How do I get the little Trivia banner over it? (you know, the one that says "This entry is trivia, which is cool and all...")
  • March 10, 2012
    Waterlily
    "I seem to recall reading about Marley And Me bumping the sales of Labrador Retreivers, but now that I look for that info I can't find it."

    I've heard the same thing about Beethoven and Saint Bernards. I'll see if I can find anything tomorrow.
  • March 11, 2012
    MorganWick
    ^^ You put it on a Trivia index, as far as I know, but why are you trying to do it with an unlaunched YKTTW?
  • March 12, 2012
    Koveras
    • In Universe example in Labyrinths Of Echo: After Sir Max procures two kittens (in the world of Echo, cats are much larger than in ours and are kept as livestock on farms), a lot of rich citizens of Echo decide that he imported some rare breed and decide to get the same.
  • March 12, 2012
    Aviaticus
    A Real Life example: Pet stores sell a lot of rabbits around Easter time, when baby animals are all over advertisements. This leads to yearly shelter overcrowding in the fall when families give them away due to allergies or after realizing how long they actually live. This is such an extensive problem that an initiative to stop the gift of live rabbits for Easter has been going on for a decade, encouraging people to "Make Mine Chocolate" instead. http://www.makeminechocolate.org/

    (Sorry, forgot to Get Known)
  • March 12, 2012
    Khorgar
    Pet Fad Starter seems appropriate as a title. I would fit it in as a subtrope to The Red Stapler.
  • March 14, 2012
    TheNinth
    And like the Labs and St Bernards, I remember hearing about Jack Russell terriers getting popular after the show Frasier started. And like the others... I can't seem to find anything about it now. I'll keep looking.
  • May 7, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Any more?
  • May 7, 2014
    DAN004
    Subtrope of Garnishing The Story? (i.e the "everything's better with a particular animal" tropes)
  • May 7, 2014
    Chabal2
    There is a project to recreate the direwolves (the prehistoric version, though Game Of Thrones has contributed to the demand), or rather, a large breed of dog that only looks like a direwolf but otherwise acts like a Big Friendly Dog. In this case, the dog's high price tag and maintenance will hopefully prevent mass buying and dumping.

  • May 8, 2014
    xanderiskander
    Video Games
    • Sonic Thehedgehog: Hedgehogs were almost completely unknown by the general populace before Sonic jumped into the video game scene and became a household name for SEGA in the 90's. They're still obscure pets, but not nearly as much.
  • May 8, 2014
    Generality
    I don't think the Harry Potter thing is surprising. They're popular books and Hedwig is a strong friend to Harry throughout. I wouldn't be surprised if toads enjoyed a slight bump in popularity as well. In any case, I think it's worth noting that owls are not at all social creatures and thus tend to make bad pets, something most kids would not glean from the text or be inclined to look up, thus the need for the aforementioned sanctuary.
  • May 8, 2014
    Daefaroth
    ^I thought it was, although that may be a USA-centric view. I don't think any state allows private citizens to have owls as pets.
  • May 8, 2014
    Larkmarn
    This is The Red Stapler but more specific... there's nothing about that which claims animals don't count.
  • May 8, 2014
    paycheckgurl
    ^ I think there's enough examples here to call it a subtrope.
  • May 8, 2014
    reub2000
    It's not about the number of examples that makes this a valid subtrope. This is a valid subtrope (subtrivia?) because the effect it has on the animals.

    Anyways, the Rio link is broken.
  • May 9, 2014
    JonnyB
    The turtle craze also caused outbreaks of salmonella.
  • May 9, 2014
    zarpaulus
    • You Tube videos have increased the popularity of several "exotic pet" species, such as fennec foxes.
  • May 9, 2014
    CaveCat
    I think I remember hearing that when Paulie was first released, people supposedly wanted conures as pets.
  • May 9, 2014
    DAN004
    So this is an Audience Reaction?
  • May 9, 2014
    xanderiskander
    ^It's a trivia page about an audience reaction I guess.

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