Advertising-Only Continuity

Merchandise-Driven shows need to have toy commercials. Otherwise they wouldn't be able to sell toys to the kids. But the toy manufacturers need to know what the characters look like, as well as the very basic premise, months in advance, so they can create the toys and have them on the shelves by the time kids see the series. The problem is that the plotline probably wasn't included.

Between constant rewrites and the meddling executives, a change in the story is made after the toy is.

It could range all the way from a small but easily made mistake based on Common Knowledge, to something that would hit the Fandom Berserk Button on the media's forum. But either the advertiser(s) didn't notice or didn't care, or they don't think the kids will.

This will probably involve Fan Myopia, but please try to make it understandable to even non-fans.

Examples:

  • The existence of Environment Specific Action Figures often causes this to happen, where the merchandiser uses some Misaimed Marketing and seriously doesn't consider the plot. Such as The Flash using a Flashmobile, or Batman wearing a green costume in Gotham city.
    • Special mention goes to the line of Street Fighter G.I. Joe figures Hasbro put out in the 90's, which included things like high-tech vehicles and weapons despite the entire premise of the games revolving around hand-to-hand combat.
  • In one of the earliest Power Rangers toy commercials, they had Zordon call for the rangers to morph by saying, "It's Transforming Time!"
    • Another example from the original series was a tie-in comic for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers used the pilot's name of Zoltar instead of Zordon, spelled Rita Repulsa's name with a second s and gave them all different last names (although Word of God would not confirm their last names till years later).
    • All of the toys, promo art and tie-in comics released during the original run had the Rangers wearing costumes that included logos of their respective dinosaurs on their chests. This idea eventually made its way into Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie. Also, Goldar had wings (in the premiere he had them briefly; they weren't there when he was made to grow to fight the Zords in the climax, or ever again in season one - outside a blink-and-miss bit of Stock Footage Failure from the Japanese version in an episode that was All Just a Dream anyway. Yeah, he got his wings back in season two, but in season one, "Why does Goldar have wings in EVERYTHING but the actual show?!" was a question for the ages right alongside the power coin symbols on the suits.) While Goldar's situation was corrected by a change to the show character instead of the toys, MMPR suits with chest symbols remained confined to the Non-Serial Movie, and MMPR toys that actually look like the MMPR suits only debuted this side of the turn of the century.
  • A Power Rangers Zeo commercial gave the villain's name as Queen Machina instead of her husband, King Mondo, and had them operating out of the original command center when they were actually operating in the underground Power Chamber.
  • A Power Rangers Time Force one had the Big Bad, Ransik, searching for them with a Time Machine when it was the opposite way around, and the rangers constantly mentioning the evil Cyclobots as the reason they went back in time. (In the actual show, Cyclobots are Ransik's Mecha-Mooks.) And in the toy commercials during the series, Ransik has a never-elsewhere-seen sidekick instead of any of the other actual villains.
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs had a commercial which claimed that the bad guys and the borgs were aliens from another planet, when they were actually kids who wished to become the comic book heroes, the Beetleborgs.
    • Another Big Bad Beetleborgs commercial had generic mutants represent their enemies.
  • Most BIONICLE ads and promos fall under this, particularly the Toa Mahri ads that showed some sort of machine attaching their masks and gills before they go underwater. While one of the books explained that the machine was just cleaning them up, the Toa Mahri's gills are supposed to be a permanent anatomical feature, and they couldn't even breathe air at the time the commercial took place, yet their submarine was clearly filled with air. LEGO released numerous other online animations and games that more often than not took a very Broad Strokes approach to the story, likely confusing many kids in the process, because the actual story was only told through the books and comics at that time.
  • Happens all the time in Transformers. Sometimes it's relatively minor, like a movie Jazz figure recolored as an homage to G1 Jazz being explained in his bio as having been revived by Ratchet, or Beast Machines quietly expanding the small band of surviving Maximals. Other times it's more complex, like how the early Beast Wars toys' bios set up the series as a direct continuation of G1 on modern-day Earth, with Optimus Primal and Megatron being the same characters as G1 Optimus Prime and Megatron (which would later be contradicted by the TV series). In extreme cases, such as the current Kre-O sub-line, on-package bios and commericals may be the only fiction available.
    • TFWiki.net likes to invoke this when Hasbro applies the Transformers brand name to transforming toys made for a different franchise, such as Star Wars, which makes for amusing pages where the editors pretend to genuinely have no idea Darth Vader has been in anything else.
    • TF Wiki takes it a bit more seriously when it comes to packaging bios. See, if it's officially produced material it's not 100% dismissable, even if it's so not what happened in the show. These tidbits - where again, like Kre-O, maybe it's all we have on a non-show character - are called "micro-continuities." In a corner of The Multiverse, events like movie happened and also NEST has a squad of Autobots and non-feral Allspark mutations we didn't know about helping them fight the 'cons (Several non-sentient vehicles in the films have transforming toys whose packaging gives them something akin to Flavor Text. By TF Wiki rules, while these vehicles actually being these characters is not true in the movies themselves, it may constitute a "micro continuity" where the plane Optimus jumps out of is Stratosphere, the truck that Mikaela used to get an injured Bumblebee out of harm's way is Longarm (who isn't Shockwave like in Transformers Animated) and did it himself, a bike seen in Mikaela's garage is Brimstone, at least one Sector Seven dune buggy is Dune Runner, etc.)
  • A lot of the marketing for Digimon: The Movie refers to the Digidestined being kidnapped by an evil Digimon, which is a subplot from the third movie (The film was edited together from three Short Anime Movies) which was cut from the final product.
  • The commercial for a line of "battle-scarred" Gundam action figures featured the RX-78-2 getting rescued from the Zeong by... the GP-02 Gundam Physalis, which wasn't built until some three years after both of the former units fought each other, to say nothing of what happened with the GP-02 itself.
  • After the success of Aliens, many different alien related action figures were released with little or none connection to the original film, such as different alien/animal hybrid, but the most ridiculous example was the Alien King, how it's involved in the alien reproduction system is a mystery.

Alternative Title(s):

Plot Sold Separately