There are two parallel definitions of a gimmick:

* A cheat; either a method of doing something that appears impossible, or some device used for cheating.
* A feature that distinguishes something (in this case, a character or series) from the competition (with strong connotations of not adding any functionality or value).

This is about that second, as applied to characters.

The power of sheer gimmickry, when properly used, cannot be underestimated; a properly executed gimmick can make a character truly memorable.

The true definition of a gimmick is if an AlternateUniverse or {{Reboot}} equivalent (or a CaptainErsatz) isn't "really" that character without the gimmick, then that's this.

To a professional wrestler, finding something within to magnify and project outward is almost as important as being physically conditioned or even wrestling in of itself. Have something that immediately lets fans pick one out from amongst their peers can give fans something to believe in, to relate to. Drawing people's attention is the first step to drawing crowds, interest can make crowds want to see one win... or get their head beat in, so long as they are interested enough to tune in or buy tickets. Simply dying [[MulticoloredHair a few hairs blonde]] did wonders for Sputnik Monroe. Wrestling/RandySavage's memorable voice and odd way of speaking hyped fans for his matches that much more.

Most common in ComicBooks and ProfessionalWrestling, but can show up elsewhere. See also {{Idiosyncrazy}}, for when a character's gimmick is driven by his insanity, rather than out of universe considerations. Compare the DancingBear.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Franchise/{{Batman}}'s gimmick in the [[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League]] is either his detective skills, or his sheer intellect.
** He's also TheCowl in a team of [[TheCape Capes]].
* Batman's RoguesGallery is filled to the brim with these. To name some particularly famous cases:
** SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker provides an example of how far you can go without going outside your Gimmick: outside of the SilverAge, he defines the human version of the MonsterClown. Within the SilverAge and SilverAge styled settings, he's merely a prankster VillainousHarlequin.
** ComicBook/TheRiddler, in some versions, is actually an interesting case, in that his gimmick is also explicitly his motivation and downfall: His superiority and inferiority complexes are such that he has to leave clues, to prove that he's smarter then everybody else.
** Most Batman villains are like this to either a small extent (ComicBook/{{Catwoman}} is fond of going after Cat related valuables) or a huge extent (the Riddler as previously mentioned). Appropriately, ComicBook/TwoFace can't seem to decide whether his theme is opposites or the number two. Maybe he should just flip for it.
* Toyman is an excellent example of a character whose only real continuity between versions is his Gimmick.
* An example of a poorly implemented gimmick: Paste Pot Pete. (Pete later changed his name, because it was too silly, even for the SilverAge.)
* SpiderMan's gimmick, in universe, is his spider theme (less important) and sharp wit (more important); but out of series, his gimmick is OneOfUs: he's an average person who got hit with the superpower stick, and now has an extra set of responsibilities.
* CaptainAmerica's gimmick is Patriotism and embodying the American Fighting Spirit.
* GreenArrow has a whole RobinHood and Bow And Arrow gimmick going.
** As well as his very outspoken left-wing political views, which, since the '70s, have been a defining character trait of his.
* TheFlash's RoguesGallery was full of gimmick themes with obvious names: Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, Rainbow Raider, The Top (In that he spun like one).
* ThePunisher's willingness to kill and torture bad guys.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Literature/NeroWolfe was best known for solving cases while never leaving his house. His narrator, Archie Goodwin, did all of the relevant legwork; the combination of the the Hard Boiled-styled detective and the very [[DefectiveDetective Defective]] GreatDetective was the gimmick of the series as a whole.
* Penny of ''Literature/PleaseDontTellMyParentsImASupervillain'' decides to have candy be her main gimmick as a MadScientist, and starts designing weapons based around sugar. Some are simple (such as a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_jet_cutter water knife]] that uses soda instead of water), but others are more involved, like a wand that covers enemies in a candy coating, freezing them in place. Apparently it's common for mad scientists to have a theme to their inventions.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional wrestling]]
* Some commonly reoccurring gimmicks have pages on this wiki. They are not mutually exclusive to each other and many different variations of each are explained in more detail on each respective article.
** AllAmericanFace
** ForeignWrestlingHeel
** GarbageWrestler
** GorgeousGeorge
** {{Jobber}}
** RickyMorton
** TheGiant
** WorldsStrongestMan
** WrestlingMonster
* [[JakeRoberts Jake "The Snake" Roberts]], whose gimmick was being evil. And having a snake.
** However, he may end up being just as well known for his born-again Christian gimmick in the 90s, as it led to StoneColdSteveAustin delivering his Austin 3:16 promo, and the AttitudeEra at large.
* Prolific in the late '80s and early '90s [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} WW]][[strike:[[Wrestling/{{WWE}} F]]]][[Wrestling/{{WWE}} E]], when every character would be gimmicky. See WrestlingDoesntPay for examples.
* The leprechaun Hornswoggle's original gimmick was to be a [[FastballSpecial projectile]] for the fighting Irishman Finley. After he got popular he became more of a prankster that lives under the WWE rings. [[spoiler: And was the anonymous Raw GM who only spoke through a computer.]]
* Charles Wright went from a NoCelebritiesWereHarmed Charles Barkley, to Voodoo sorcerer, to ultimate fighter, to political revolutionary, to pimp, to moral guardian to pimp again.
* Wrestling/BrodusClay's gimmick was based on his real life job as a body guard but then he became a giant dancing DiscoDan and the only living, breathing Funkasaurus in captivity.
* Wrestling/BryanDanielson started off as a bland vanilla midget who was picked up by Spanky because he needed a partner but then merged the ROH World and Pure wrestling titles and became an ArrogantKungFuGuy. Then he became the bland vanilla midget rookie Daniel Bryan until he won one of the ladder matches at ''Wrestling/MoneyInTheBank'', burnt his bridges and degraded into an insane SmallNameBigEgo who hates goats and the word yes. This was partially based on real life, where he was the very definition of vanilla midget before working on speaking.
* [[Wrestling/RonKillings K-Kwik/Ron "The Truth" Killings]] was just a wrestling rapper but then was betrayed by Wrestling/JohnMorrison and became an insane conspiracy theorists who talks to people who are not really there and hates all you all little Jimmies. He also developed a fear of heights and spiders. He was also the bad toothed Pretty Ricky but most fans would rather forget that one.
* [[Wrestling/DwayneJohnson The Rock]]'s gimmick was speaking in third person at all times and comically overselling.
* Wrestling/TheUndertaker's gimmick has switched between being a grave digging zombie, a wrestling evil in hearts of all men, a wrestling biker, a wrestling grim reaper and the last outlaw. Through it all, the gimmick of being unbeatable at Wrestlemania has been his only constant.
* Wrestling/TheOneManGang's gimmick was having a chain and {{squash| match}}ing {{jobber}}s, then he reappeared from an over seas trip to get in touch with his Deepest {{Darkest Africa}}n roots, becoming a {{pretty fly for a white guy}} Akeem the African dream.
* Albert was one half of Trish Status's [[FunWithAcronyms T&A]], then became the disgustingly hairy A-Train, then went to Japan where he became the star Giant Bernard then returned the the US in an Akeem like fashion as Lord Tensai. He then tagged with the Funkasaurus and became {{disco dan}} Sweet Tea.
* Wrestling/{{Goldust}}'s gimmick was being ambiguously gay and being a movie critic who took himself so seriously he dressed and painted his body to look like an Oscar award. Then he got sick of movies and became [[{{the X formerly known as Y}} The artist formerly known as Goldust]], a gimmick which involved dressing in the most offensive manners possible (such as BlackFace) and reciting poetry. Then he Goldust returned to form but got electrocuted by Wrestling/StevieRichards, adding a speech impediment to his gimmick. He popped up in TNA as Black Reign, whose gimmick was being Goldust without the gold and having a pet rat named misty.
* Black Magic started out as a simple mat technician, then became the ForeignWrestlingHeel Lord Henry Norman, then became the dance battler Wrestling/NormanSmiley, then went to being the cowardly screaming Norman who was forced into WCW's hardcore division and would dress in the home team uniforms of the cities he wrestled in.
* Macaela Mercedes started out as as an ill tempered brawler before becoming the relentlessly cheery high flier Wrestling/JillianHall. But then Jillian got breast implants and became a malicious, vain bully. Then Jillian became "the fixer", a freelance consultant who needed a protective mask when she wrestled do to a giant mole that grew on her face. Then the Boogeyman bit the mole off Jillian's face and her biggest client fired her, seeing her slip closer to her cheery character before becoming a bully again. Then she became convinced she could sing, [[HollywoodToneDeaf even though she couldn't]].
* Speaking of the Wrestling/{{Boogeyman}}, his gimmick was that he was an actor from a failed television program who got {{lost in character}}, believing her really was the Boogeyman. He also had the gimmick of randomly appearing to beat up people the fans did not like, talking to clocks, wrestling with glass from smashed clocks sticking out of his head and eating worms.
* [=LuFisto=]'s gimmick was started as [[{{Louis Cypher}} Lucifer]], then became a tease who tried to get men to drop their guard so she or her partners in crime could beat them up more easily. Then she became a Kawaii anime about {{garbage wrestling}}.
* The base gimmick of Leva Bates is a geeky super hero who wants to protect honorable professional wrestlers from all the evil they encounter in their line of work ([[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor except in places]] [[CardCarryingVillain where it is the other way around]]). Extensions of the gimmick include "specialized armor" (goggles to stop eye poking and other case by case bases) and [[{{Cosplay}} channeling other characters she likes]].
* Cheeseburger's gimmick was being the underfed whipping boy of the Wrestling/RingOfHonor locker room but then became a blood thirsty man-leech in Wrestling/{{Chikara}}.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theatre]]
* In the musical {{Gypsy}}, the three strippers that Rose and Louise meet sing about how “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” in order to stand out from the crowd. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFRSawe33sA Electra covers herself in lights, Tessie Tura uses refined ballet moves, and Mazeppa uses a trumpet.]] Later, when Louise is more or less pushed into a stripper role, she takes their advice to heart. Her gimmick is speaking directly to the audience.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/MonsterRancher'' differentiates itself from other MonsSeries in that you can create monsters to raise by "unlocking" them from [=CDs=] or [=DVDs=] that you already own.
* ''VideoGame/{{Warzone 2100}}'' has ''two'', the DesignItYourselfEquipment (which isn't all it's cracked up to be) and the unusually realistic artillery.

[[/folder]]
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