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[[quoteright:350:[[Franchise/{{Transformers}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/optimi_7791.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Megatron must be stopped, [[CrackIsCheaper no matter]] the [[{{Pun}} cost!]]]]

->''"How can ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' possibly 'sell out'? It '''started''' as a twenty-minute toy commercial."''
-->-- '''Ethan''', ''[[http://www.shortpacked.com/index.php?id=941 Shortpacked!]]''

The Merchandise-Driven show, otherwise known as the "half-hour toy commercial", is not merely a television show (or other work) with a line of toys licensed on the side, but a television show ''created from'' a line of toys. The program exists largely to sell these products to the audience, and this is most commonly associated with cartoons and {{anime}} targeted at a younger audience.

Note that there are very few instances of the Merchandise Driven cartoons of today that predate [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toy_advertising#Branding the deregulation of children's television in the Reagan years]]. The FCC classified 1969's ''Hot Wheels'' cartoon as "a thirty-minute toy commercial", which pretty well killed the show (along with reruns of ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_the_Lionhearted Linus the Lionhearted]]'', a show starring the cartoon {{Mascot}}s of the Post Cereal line).

(Conversely, it was rare that a popular show would [[TheMerch spawn action figures and toys]] when it was actually on the air in the US. Throughout TheSixties and TheSeventies, the only reliable source for the various {{Cool Car}}s and {{Cool Ship}}s from various science fiction and superhero shows were the Corgi line, imported from the UK. Mego's ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' figures didn't appear until well after the show was in reruns.)

Today, there is a full symbiotic relationship between the show's production and the toy company (or other manufacturer licensed, show-themed products), which is usually the primary (or even only) sponsor of the show. But the key difference between this and normal licensed merchandising is that here, it is the toy manufacturer who dictates the show's {{Canon}}. They may be able to [[ExecutiveMeddling demand addition or removal of characters from the series based on the actual toys in their production line]], or that new characters must be something that they can design a toy version for on demand (Military or paramilitary-themed shows and HumongousMecha anime are particularly prone to this). Another sign of a toy manufacturer exerting influence is the blatant structuring of episode plots solely around the newest merchandisable toy ''accessories'', often where the characters GottaCatchEmAll or be declared a failure ''as a human being'' ... [[BrokenAesop yeah, something like that]]. Meanwhile, in {{Tokusatsu}} works, it has become common for the production staff to use weapons and {{Transformation Trinket}}s from the show's toyline [[OffTheShelfFX in the actual show itself]].

Merchandise Driven shows are not limited to a young audience either. Many works are adapted from manga, video games, toys, etc. only if there's an existing lucrative market, and older fans are often targeted for their potential loyalty and deeper wallets. That so many comic books and late-night anime can maintain a decent budget is due to this small but vocal group of fans.

Can be halfheartedly avoided with the use of a SegregatedCommercial. Still, this sometimes produces a FranchiseZombie. However, TropesAreNotBad -- some fandoms like the merchandise more so than the show itself.

Many musicals ensured that potential hit tunes were reprised a few times. This was as much for the sake of the song publishers as for dramatic opportunities like the DarkReprise. The revues, which were formed around SketchComedy and had little to no plot, could get quite shameless: some of them explicitly introduced song reprises as a ploy to sell sheet music.

'''Note that a show can have a line of licensed merchandise without being Merchandise Driven''', and once the requirements are met the writers are basically given free rein to script what they want. See TheMerch for that. ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' creator Charles Schulz was famously quoted as saying there is nothing wrong with using characters in marketing, so long as the quality of one's work stays refined. That said, Bill Watterson has, equally famously, taken no chances and limited ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' to the print medium to prevent any decay in quality. (Unfortunately, this caused people to just make offensive unauthorized merchandise...)

Also note while advertising can often be the main reason for a show's existence, it is '''never''' the only reason, that's what actual commercials are for. Shows of this nature always do their best to tell a story and to keep the viewers hooked with said story. Keep that in mind whenever viewing a show that falls under this trope.

It's also notable that, when the series is particularly well-done, it may [[BreakawayAdvertisement outlive the product that inspired it.]] This seems to be particularly true of comic books, such as ''ComicBook/RomSpaceKnight'' and ''ComicBook/{{Micronauts}}.'' It's also common for merchandise driven shows to develop a cult following that long outlasts the original merchandise; such a fanbase may result in its eventually being UnCanceled (usually with accompanying ''new'' merchandise), as the current incarnations of ''Franchise/{{Transformers}},'' ''Franchise/GIJoe,'' and others can attest.

Compare MisaimedMarketing, where this sort of thinking is applied where it shouldn't be. See also {{Defictionalization}}, where the licensed merchandise is also merchandise ''inside'' the show; and BreakawayAdvertisement. In some instances, this can also be intertwined with OffTheShelfFX. Contrast with TheMerch, where the merchandise sales came ''after'' the work, in order to support it. For derivative works that are (usually) not metatextual focus of the original work, see TieInNovel, LicensedGame, and AdvertisementGame.

See also ProductPromotionParade, a common occurrence in Merchandise Driven works, and CashCowFranchise. See the Analysis page for a list of tropes {{enforced|Trope}} in these works as ways to sell more merchandise.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Otome-oriented franchises usually plays this trope straight, with loads of merchandises ranging from decorative keychains, apparels, figures, to housewares. To get a good idea how they win this trope, look up TheMerch for ''AudioPlay/DiabolikLovers'', ''Manga/KurokoNoBasuke'' and ''Anime/{{Free}}'' These franchises also loves to create limited-edition one-offs that usually costs ''triple'' in auctions. Strangely enough, while still in the same demographic, BoysLoveGenre (usually manga) works usually avert this trope, with mostly relying on readership rather than merchandise revenues. BL games however zig-zaggs this trope.
** Not that their [[{{Moe}} male]] [[BishoujoSeries counterparts]] are any different. With shows like ''Franchise/LoveLive'' and ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' being huge [[CashCowFranchise Cash Cow Franchises]] with tons of merchandise (some [[SexSells less sexual than others]] even if it's [[MisaimedMarketing not the intent of the show]]) for [[{{Hikkikomori}} nerdy shut-ins]] and {{Otaku}}s in general to consume. The moral of the story here is that we are equal in PerverseSexualLust.
* The ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime is an arm for advertising the video game series, with storylines being tied to the games, certain Pokémon games being promoted near the time of release, and character and plot being de-emphasized over showcasing the newest monsters. And it worked; it became one of the most popular children's cartoons and anime series at the time of release, and helped turn Pokémon into the CashCowFranchise it is now.
** ''Anime/PokemonOrigins'' is a completely separate OVA created to promote ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'', aimed at older fans who grew up with [[VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue the original games]]. As such, it still serves as a promotional arm for the games, especially with [[spoiler: Mega Charizard X]]'s appearance, but otherwise focuses more on bringing the original games to life rather than shoving all the newest Pokémon and features in viewers' faces.
** Almost all ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' manga is this, though as demonstrated by the above two examples, they can handle the Merchandise-Driven aspect in different ways. ''Manga/PokemonSpecial'', for example, isn't as relentless in this regard as the regular anime (as evidenced by its ScheduleSlip tendencies), and puts a stronger focus on characters and storytelling.
* Contrary to what some may believe, the original ''Manga/YuGiOh'' manga/[[Anime/YuGiOh anime]] did not fit this trope: not only was Duel Monsters not originally part of the series, it took a while before it could be developed into a real collectible card game, which explains why the series seemed to be [[NewRulesAsThePlotDemands making up rules as it went along]] before the Battle City arc, which was lampshaded heavily in the Abridged Series. Its sequel series, ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'', and ''Anime/YuGiOhZexal'', however, were very much this, causing some fans of the original to complain. Ironically, there's a rumor going around stating that the cards were wiped of text not to eliminate the Japanese language from the dub, but because a rule in the FCC prevented "in-show advertising" in children's television to be shown (which [[ExecutiveMeddling the executives]] felt the show would skirt if the cards were left untouched or translated). Evidence for this is seen in ''Yu-Gi-Oh: TheMovie'', in which the cards look like the real cards, and are even translated into English.
** The fourth spin-off, ''Anime/YuGiOhArcV'', veers slightly away from this trope by valuing character development and plot over the cards. For example duels are repeatedly interrupted or cut out and barely shown to make room for more plot-important scenes.
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'', in all of its anime forms. Even more so in manga for, as Manga/CMonDigimon was finished ''before'' the v-pets. Notable as Creator/{{Bandai|NamcoEntertainment}} didn't care about anything except the merchandise and gave the anime writers a free hand, with '''diverse''' results. ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' even features merchandising from the franchise in the show!
** It should be noted that, nevertheless, it still shows in most series, only not as blatantly as other examples in this page; the exact degree varies considerably. ''[[Anime/DigimonAdventure02 Adventure 02]]'' is a good example -- in the series, Takeru's and Hikari's Digimon had to evolve into Armor forms because the plot placed a restriction on normal evolution methods. Later in the series, the limitation was lifted, allowing Patamon and Tailmon to reach their (more powerful) angelical forms; nevertheless, they still went with the Armors most of the time, since they were what was selling then.
** ''Anime/DigimonXrosWars'' tightly embraces the marketing side - practically every main character was clearly designed with CombiningMecha toys in mind, and as such the story primarily wove itself around said combining gimmick, but it is unclear how much of the story is influenced by it. It paid off, as its toy sales were reportedly the best of any ''Digimon'' line in years and were enough to get the show an extra season. Said extra season, ''Anime/DigimonXrosWarsTheYoungHuntersLeapingThroughTime'', is significantly less toyetic so far, to the point where no actual toys for anything introduce in it are known to exist at this time.
** On the other hand, ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'' provided a rather blatant example, as Takuya, Kouji and Kouichi's combined forms, as well as their Ancient Digimon, were quite clearly designed as simple amalgamations of their earlier Hybrid forms and thus easily able to be made into toys. Susanoomon, the final hero, was also a visible amalgamation of [=KaiserGreymon=] and [=MagnaGarurumon=].
* ''Anime/{{Beyblade}},'' which focused on [[SeriousBusiness a wildly popular world dominating sport]] where competitors play with little spinning top toys and try to tip each others' toys over.
* ''Anime/BattleBDaman'' had a similar premise, based on increasingly ludicrous games involving marble-shooting chibi robots.
* In the same gamut, ''Anime/{{Bakugan}}''. At least it has a better justification (parallel universe and all).
* ''Anime/OjamajoDoremi'' showcased magical accessories that were not only gaudy and colorful, but even in the anime looked like cheap plastic, and featured sounds, lights, and actions that were easy to replicate via the magic of mass production. This [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/415PW38R1JL._SS500_.jpg Dreamspinner]], for example, is ''precisely'' as depicted in the show, right up to the point where it fails to spit out a magic wand and costume -- they're sold separately.
* The entire ''Anime/BraveSeries'' was heavily Merchandise Driven; the franchise was essentially a remake of ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' when Takara was having difficulty with its other contractors about that franchise and so turned to Sunrise, then already famous for ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'', and asked them to animate several toy-driven kid's shows. The brand never did as well as Takara had hoped it would and they eventually stopped caring, which led to both the above example and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome pretty much everything that ever happened]] in ''Anime/GaoGaiGar''.
* The anime version of ''VideoGame/{{PaRappa The Rapper}}'' was made purely for this.
* The "success" of a ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' anime series is often considered to be measured by the number of Gunpla models it sells. The fact that many of these series are either good, great, or mind-blowing, seems completely unimportant to its production company.
** Ironically, Tomino made the original Gundam series in an attempt to make the Giant Robot genre something other than a toy commercial. It [[ExecutiveMeddling hasn't always worked.]] For example, the color scheme of the titular mech was drastically altered to be more visually appealing (even though it was much, much less realistic). And all of the other modifications to the original story.
*** Even more ironically, the Gundam series' continued survival and success is largely down to the fact that Bandai chose to sponsor the series and sell plastic models. The original series' cancellation was in part due to poor merchandising.
*** ''Manga/GundamSousei'' discusses this. The show's ratings were absolutely terrible, so [[Creator/YoshiyukiTomino Tomino]] started creating blatantly toyetic mobile suits and vehicles (such as the G-Armor) in hopes that toy sales would keep the show afloat. It didn't work, but the strong toy and model kit sales did help convince the studio to do a trilogy of {{Compilation Movie}}s, which eventually led to ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'', which was far more successful.
** In the later parts of the UC timeline, mobile suit technology is refined to the point where the suits can be built 20-30% smaller and lighter without sacrificing power or armor. And so Bandai gets to market smaller and cheaper models in the same scales, grades, and price points as before.
*** Despite the expense of new kits, this has been phased out as newer kits are often priced depending on their weight and complexity. Kits like the 00 Qant and the Unicorn Gundam are hot sellers but they are priced according to how much plastic is in those kits. On the other hand, large kits like the Sinanju err to the more expensive side.
** By the time of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamIronBloodedOrphans'', the price of the HG kits are barely the half of the other kits thanks to the inner frame features, all mobile suits in these lines can interchange parts with each other as well as attaching Builder parts onto the peg holes on the frame.
** Often times, Bandai will find ways to release old kits as a new model with various ways to make them seem like legitimate standalone kits. One such method is to market recolors (0 Gundam and the Celestial Being colors) or spin-off variations of a kit (Astraea, Astraea type F) without having to create an entire set of runners. This can be both subtle and completely in your face like the GN condenser 00 where the frame is the exact same except for an extra clip that gives you the condenser pieces.
** ''Anime/GundamBuildFighters'' is what happens when Gundam abandons any pretense at not being merchandise driven. It's basically a typical toy-driven ToBeAMaster series... except the toys are Gundam models. ''Build Fighters'' is marginally more decent about this than its predecessor, ''Anime/ModelSuitGunplaBuildersBeginningG'', though. The previous show had AnAesop that modifying your kits or scratch-building parts is bad (of course, we know the real reason why Bandai would rather you buy stock parts), whereas scratch-building is very much celebrated in ''Build Fighters''.
** Funnily, this is also the creation behind Sunrise shows that fans call "it's Gundam, only not". Since the Gundam name has such a specific stigma behind it and requires model sales to be successful, Sunrise will make shows that in many ways are essentially Gundam series, but called something else in order to avoid said stigma. Examples being ''Code Geass'', ''Valvrave'', and ''Dragonar'', which was called by fans "the best Gundam show of the 80s".
* ''Franchise/{{Zoids}}'' is unusual in this respect, as the original model line from the 80s had no supporting media, aside from two short promotional videos, a few video games and a comic series produced by Creator/MarvelComics. The second model line, however, had numerous anime and manga adaptations, though only the first three (''Anime/ZoidsChaoticCentury'', ''Anime/ZoidsNewCentury'' and ''Anime/ZoidsFuzors'') saw distribution outside of Japan.
* ''Anime/CrushGearTurbo'' was advertising for a rather strange game where battery-powered toy cars rolled around and collided in a small tray until one of them had the wheels fall off, or something. [[ShortRunInPeru The merchandise is almost as hard to find as]] [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes the show itself]].
* Franchise/HelloKitty and all her Creator/{{Sanrio}} friends. They have various adaptations including TV shows and comic books, but they are at heart saleable products.
* In ''Anime/SailorMoon'', the Outer Senshi had unique {{Transformation Sequence}}s due to the transformation wands Bandai sold at the time. Since the Outer wands came with tubes of lipstick, the Outer Senshi were given close-ups of their lipstick magically gliding over their mouths during their transformations.
** In the live-action ''Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon,'' the weapons and accessories used by the characters in the show were the actual toys on sale concurrently in the shops.
** Also, Creator/NaokoTakeuchi originally designed the Sailor Starlights with short hair (which fit the androgynous theme behind the characters), but was convinced to give them ponytails after Bandai representatives informed her that it was difficult to produce short-haired dolls.
* ''Anime/HimeChenOtogiChikkuIdolLilpri'' is an [[TheAnimeOfTheGame adaptation]] of a Sega arcade game called ''Lilpri - Yubi Puru Hime Chen'', which allows players to scan cards to customize their own MagicIdolSinger. The cards are even used in the show by the three main characters and are advertised at the end of each episode.
* Franchise/PrettyCure: Becoming a long running CashCowFranchise for Toei Animation. The franchise grew so popular over the years that toys, dolls, accessories, and coloring books are released long before the new season even airs or even proves ratings worthy.
* Mini 4WD related manga and anime ''Manga/DashYonkuro'' and ''Manga/BakusouKyoudaiLetsAndGo'' are created solely to sell toy models from Tamiya. They even add tips on how to race the toy cars. The premise is similar to ''Anime/CrushGearTurbo'', except these are even older.
* The ''Franchise/BlackRockShooter'' franchise exists to promote new BRS figurines. It would have been less egregious if other Other-world characters have their figurines released, but they just keep releasing BRS variations (regular, 2035, BRSB, IBRS...), and the variations aren't even all that different. Anime distributing company Creator/FUNimation have even gone on to say that the reason why they were unable to get the rights to the TV series was because of the expensive toy dealings that were practically tacked on to the rights.
* Similar to BRS above, variations of Anime/SuperSonico (and recently her friend, Super Pochaco) exists to promote her figurines. While most of her variations are different (swimsuit version, bathing version, waitress version and so on), there are some egregious examples like the Tanned version and color variants (which are, well, [[PaletteSwap recolors]]), [[http://supersonico.jp/goods/ see it for yourself, along with her other merchandises]]. Note that the link doesn't contain her ''prize figures''.
* In ''Anime/QueensBlade'' the Visual Battle Books are what really ignites any other related product for the franchise, from figurines to {{Anime}}[=/=]{{Manga}} and VideoGames; ''Hobby Japan'' itself are endorsed by other companies to make merchandise of their products, so making some for their in-house creation comes off as expected.
* ''VideoGame/{{Medabots}}'' was a vehicle to sell a series of video games and customizable action figures; justified in-universe by having battlers being able to take one part from their opponent on victory and add it to their robot. Fits this trope to a T; and was also pretty memorable in its own right.
* ''Anime/CardfightVanguard'' definitely smells of this, with a hefty number of early episodes pretty much being dedicated to instructions on how to play the game[[note]]By "early", this includes up to and during episodes as late as 25[[/note]], throwing in Real Life Booster Pack names now and then [[note]]In which characters say when facing a new card "Isn't that the new card from *Insert booster pack name here*?[[/note]], and in one instance, promote a CD Single of their theme song.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Redakai}}'' was made in an attempt to support a card game of the same name, with the characters "Unlocking new X-drives" (basically opening a booster pack of cards and [[ProductPromotionParade listing them off]]) at the end of each episode.
** A glaring example of this is a comment made when Ky unveils his "[[GoldenSuperMode Gold Metanoid]]":
--> '''Boomer''' - I've ''got'' to get me one of those!
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Monsuno}}'', a series centered around a card game and a line of toys where monsters burst forth from spun tubes.
* ''Anime/MegaManNTWarrior'' existed to promote Capcom's already-popular ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' video games; as well as the accompanying merchandise for the series itself.
* Parodied in the dub of ''Anime/CrayonShinChan'' with Tokusatsu hero Action Bastard, spoofing toy-driven tokusatsu with open plugs for action figures, role play gear, and mail-away offers during episodes.
* ''VideoGame/{{Aikatsu}}'' was made to promote an arcade card/rhythm game of the same name. The events of the anime and the clothes worn by the characters during performances are made to match the content of the expansion pack released on the arcade game. Some episodes are even related to some of the side merchandises. It may be perhaps the most successful of these kinds of shows today in Japan-it makes more money than Pretty Cure does!
* The ''[[Anime/PrettyRhythmAuroraDream Pretty Rhythm]]'' and ''Anime/PriPara'' series are based off arcade games as well.
* The movie Oshare Majo LoveAndBerry: Shiawase No Mahou.
* ''Anime/BeastSaga'', due to being the SpiritualSuccessor to Battle Beasts/Beastformers.
* ''Anime/YokaiWatch'', being based on a video game, is this, to the point where [[http://kotaku.com/the-anime-thats-taking-japan-by-storm-1558122724 it's currently rivaling Pokemon in popularity]].
* ''Anime/SelectorInfectedWixoss'' is an unusual instance of this played straight. On the surface it looks to be a tcg anime akin to ''Anime/YuGiOh'' with a dash of MagicalGirl for flavor. A closer examination shows that the presentation is a {{Deconstruction}} of the SeriousBusiness mentality such shows treat their card games. Wixoss seems just to be a cute game for girls, but those that can see and speak with special cards known as LRIG's are Selectors, unique in that they can battle in hopes of granting a girl's greatest wish. The game is revealed to have a dark consequence for those that fail three battles, quickly [[spoiler:reversing the effects of their wish into a curse]], and their cute LRIG companion will disappear. The anime delves into what a harsh system will do to girls as they struggle to win battles at any cost, sacrificing friendships in the name of achieving their wishes, and a worse twist that befalls those unlucky enough to win. Ostensibly it exists to promote the Wixoss card game, but unlike most anime of this nature the rules are barely explained and focus more on the characterization of those playing, the psychological complexity of those desperate enough to play, and exploring many DarkerAndEdgier themes that make you wonder why little girls would buy such a depressing product.
* ''Anime/SuzysZooDaisukiWitzy'' was technically created to increase awareness of the ''Suzy's Zoo'' franchise in Japan.
* ''Manga/SgtFrog'': Inverted here - it's Keroro's love of Franchise/{{Gundam}}s that earned them Bandai as its merchandising arm. The [=KeroPla=] line of plastic models features Keronian characters and mecha all compatible with existing Gundam models.
** It also resulted in the series making it to ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', [[FridgeBrilliance Keroro's living the mecha fanboy dream]].
** And on Keron, the platoon is a super duper popular cash cow... but they didn't actually know this until they got letters from Keronian kids on New Year's. ''Somebody'''s really rich, but it sure as Hell isn't them.
** It's parodied in episode 10 of the anime (at least in the dub), where an armored vehicle is introduced just to add it to the toy line.
--> '''Keroro:''' It's so roomy!
--> '''Giroro''' ([[BadBadActing in monotone]]): Yes for action figures, and toys.
* ''VideoGame/DanballSenki'', a series that could be seen as a SpiritualSuccessor to Medabots, existed to promote a series of video games and a corresponding line of customizable, 1/1 scale model kits.
* Kotobukiya has been quite blunt about making the anime adaptation of ''Anime/FrameArmsGirls'' very much about enticing people to buy kits of the small robot girls. It lends the show a certain [[NarmCharm charm]] in its unabashedness in marketing them.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Marvel's ''ComicBook/{{Micronauts}}'' comic book series was created specifically to sell the action figure toy line, but writer Creator/BillMantlo successfully turned it into a well-written and sometimes deeply philosophical science fiction epic, while doing all they could to avoid some amazing similarities between the toy line and the recently-released ''Franchise/StarWars'': ''Film/ANewHope''. The comics outlasted the toy line, but since Marvel doesn't own the trademark, the Micronauts have rarely reappeared in the Franchise/MarvelUniverse, and their more familiar aspects, and name, have been suspiciously absent when they did appear. Bug still appears without the rest of the team, since he bears so little resemblance to the "Galatic Warrior" figure on which he was very loosely based, that Marvel can claim him as their own original creation.
* Creator/MarvelComics had ''several'' toy-based series in the late 70s/early 80s: in addition to ''Micronauts,'' there was also ''[[SuperRobotGenre Shogun Warriors]]'','' ComicBook/RomSpaceKnight'', ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', ''Franchise/GIJoe'' and others. Somewhat unexpectedly, nearly all of them, especially ''G.I. Joe'', are usually regarded as quite good. All of these (except ''Transformers'' and ''Joe'') were considered part of the main Marvel Universe, meaning they could interact with Marvel characters. In fact, even after losing the rights to the main characters, Marvel still owns the ones they created (such as the Dire Wraiths from ''Rom'') and they still show up in the comics occasionally. Marvel also created a few series that were ''intended'' to be adapted as toy lines, such as ''ComicBook/CrystarCrystalWarrior'' with Remco.
** At least for the first few issues, ''ComicBook/TheTransformers'' was considered part of the mainline Marvel Comics universe, in that there was some overlap, but not as much as there would be between Marvel's main titles. ComicBook/SpiderMan appeared in issue 3 of Transformers, and the Transformers comic villain Circuit Breaker made an appearance in ''ComicBook/SecretWarsII'' (so that Marvel wouldn't lose the copyright on the character to Hasbro). Issue 8 had the last specific reference to the Marvel Universe in the series with an appearance of the Savage Land (which was only used as a LostWorld backdrop to explain the origin of the Dinobots).
** After merging with a toy company, Marvel produced a comic based on its own "[=MegaMorphs=]'' TransformingMecha toys. Fans seem to regard the resultant comic as SoBadItsGood.
** The G.I. Joe comic was partly created as an end run around using animation in toy commercials. The amount of animation was limited to a few seconds. However, they could do full 30 second animated commercials for a comic book. That's why it's one of the very few comics to ever be advertised on television. It was really about selling toys.
* One of Marvel's least successful toy tie-ins was a series called ''US-1'', which was meant to promote Tyco's [[http://tycotrain.tripod.com/tycous1trucking/ slot-car truck toys]]. The toyline lasted for six years; the comic only lasted 12 issues. The comic would later become [[http://atopfourthwall.blogspot.com/2008/12/us-1-1.html fodder]] for ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'', to the point where the series is referenced in the theme song.
* Creator/MarvelComics' ''ComicBook/SecretWars'' miniseries was created to promote sales of Creator/{{Mattel}}'s Marvel toys. As such, certain story elements were implemented for the sole purpose of benefiting the toy line, such as ComicBook/DoctorDoom's armor being damaged and rebuilt so that he more closely resembled his action figure. Strangely enough, certain characters who played big parts in the series did not get their own figures, while characters who didn't even appear ''at all'' (such as ComicBook/TheFalcon, ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}, and the Hobgoblin) did.
* DC produced three mini-series for Creator/{{Kenner}}'s ''Super Powers Collection'' toy line. The minis are fondly remembered today due to featuring artwork from legendary comic artists like Carmine Infantino and Creator/JackKirby.
* Speaking of the ''Super Powers Collection'', Creator/GeorgePerez designed Comicbook/LexLuthor's suit of green PoweredArmor so it could be adapted as a figure in the line. Though initially discarded after ''Comicbook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'', the look proved popular enough that Lex has worn variations of it in the decades since.
* A similar mini-series was produced for Kenner's ''[[https://www.figurerealm.com/actionfigure?action=seriesitemlist&id=253 Total Justice]]'' action figure line. The contrived plot saw the members of the Franchise/{{Justice League|OfAmerica}} donning high-tech suits of [[PoweredArmor battle armor]] after temporarily losing their abilities. The writer, Creator/{{Christopher Priest|Comics}}, has admitted in later years that the series was pretty awful.
* ''Toys/AmeComiGirls'', which is based off the {{Animesque}} line of statues.
* The original ''ComicBook/AtariForce'' started off as promotional giveaways included with UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}} game cartridges. The second series kept the backstory and the characters, but was otherwise an original sci-fi romp.
* This is the entire reason Spider-Man's short-lived [[http://www.comicscube.com/2015/05/the-saga-of-spider-mobile.html Spider-Mobile]] even existed. In the 70's, Creator/StanLee was seeking new revenue streams for Marvel to exploit, and thought that giving Spider-Man a CoolCar would make the character more appealing to toy companies.
* Likewise, DC introduced the Supermobile for Franchise/{{Superman}} because Corgi's Batmobile toys had proven to be a massive success, and they wanted to see if lightning would strike twice.
* Also, the entire reason Superman's enemy ComicBook/{{Brainiac}} became a living computer is because the makers of the Brainiac toy computer threatened legal action over trademark infringement. As part of a settlement, DC turned the character into a living computer and then [[http://comiccoverage.typepad.com/comic_coverage/2009/04/which-came-first-brainiac-or-brainiac.html included a footnote advertising the toy]].
* This is becoming more and more common in "regular" comic books, from Events to other stories. Many, many stories now heavily feature rapid-fire costume switches and variants on old costume designs, as heroes gain temporary power-ups. DC's ''ComicBook/BlackestNight'' and Marvel's ''ComicBook/FearItself'' show this most strongly. In the former, a dozen heroes get possessed by Power Rings that alter their costumes more than once. In the latter, heroes and villains get new costumes and weapons. All have the side-effect of allowing whole new sets of toys to be created in their likeness. Although curiously, ''Fear Itself'' didn't receive a line of toys, and there haven't been any variants produced of the characters in the toy-lines. ''Blackest Night'', on the other hand? Pretty much ''every'' Black Lantern has received a figure, at the very least.
* Creator/LarryHama's legendary run of ''[[ComicBook/GIJoeARealAmericanHeroMarvel G.I. Joe]]'' was full of this, in spite of his writing. Many, ''many'' issues featured an entirely new cast of characters on their "first mission" or a "training run" or somesuch thing, as they were based off of new toys that were coming out. Hama seemed to take it in good cheer, and enjoyed coming up with creative new concepts and character names. Aside from a near-constant recurring main cast, the comic featured an endless supply of new background characters.
** The title was so popular that a second book, ''Special Missions'', was started up with the stipulation that Hama ''didn't'' have to write all of the new toys into it.
** In one case, when the "Eco-Warriors" subline (which included main cast member Flint) was worked into the book, Hama added a line about how the team's special new uniforms were made out of ''[[LampshadeHanging recycled action figures]]''.
* Spy Gal, who received a one-shot comic book as part of a promotion between Marvel Comics and Benefit Cosmetics.
* As Website/{{Cracked}} [[http://www.cracked.com/article_20437_6-hilariously-awful-examples-product-placements-in-comics.html pointed out]], there's an entire genre of promotional comics published by DC and Marvel designed to plug various products. These include (among other examples):
** A ''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' comic featuring Sears appliances.
** An ''[[Comicbook/TheAvengers Avengers]]'' comic featuring Harley-Davidson motorcycles. This partnership also spilled into installments featuring ''ComicBook/CaptainAmerica'' and ''[[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]]''.
** An ''[[Comicbook/TheAvengers Avengers]]'' comic featuring Audi vehicles, with the cast consisting of characters featured in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'' (ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, Comicbook/BlackPanther, Comicbook/BlackWidow, ect.)
** An ''Avengers'' comic featuring Pirate's Booty snacks.
** An ''Comicbook/AllNewAllDifferentAvengers'' comic featuring Western Union.
** A ''Captain America'' comic featuring Kiehl's cosmetics.
** An Comicbook/IronMan comic featuring a DJI drone.
** A ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'' comic featuring tech from Hitatchi Data Systems.
*** Not to mention [[http://s3.crackedcdn.com/phpimages/article/1/3/2/9132.jpg?v=1 the time they]] went to OfficeMax.
** An ''Comicbook/IncredibleHulk'' comic featuring mattresses from Sleepy's.
** A comic starring a CanonForeigner hero who drove a Pontiac Solstice, featuring a guest appearance from ComicBook/BlackCanary.
** A series of ''Justice League of America'' comics featuring Subway sandwiches and cameos from famous athletes.
** An ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' comic featuring Lexus vehicles.
** A ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' and ''Franchise/WonderWoman'' comic featuring Tandy UsefulNotes/TRS80 home computers.
** The unforgettable ''The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man.''
** And Marvel's ''Combo Man,'' who somehow gained the powers of various Marvel characters by eating Combos.
* ComicBook/MonicasGang had a comic series about the theme park based on the franchise, the main stories was about the characters having adventures on the park or just enjoying it, one can wonder how the characters can go to a theme park based on themselves but can be explained by the Main/AnimatedActors trope, and the comic was quite good and it wasn't much of shameless advertising, the rest of the stories in each issue were not related to the park, when the park was closed, the comic series was cancelled.
* InUniverse example in ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW'' #28, when Twilight notices Well-To-Do has made merchandise of her. {{Justified|Trope}}, since Twilight's a princess and all.
-->'''Twilight:''' You're still using my face on merchandise?! I didn't agree to that!\\
'''Well-To-Do:''' ''[holding slightly similar toy of Twilight]'': This? This is the park's new mascot "Princess Twilight Sporkle"! See? Totally different from you! Our legal department said it's totally fine!
* It's common for Marvel and DC video games to get RecursiveAdaptation comics to promote them, such as ''ComicBook/InjusticeGodsAmongUs'', ''VideoGame/MarvelFutureFight'' or the third ''ComicBook/ContestOfChampions'' series.
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in an issue of the "ComicBook/HeroesReborn" ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'' series, where Sue notices that Johnny has begun wearing a new costume for no apparent reason.
-->'''Human Torch:''' Two different costumes means two different toy figures.
* Way back in UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks, the Chicago Mail Order Company partnered with Centaur Publishing to create ''C-M-O Comics'', which was like very comic anthology of the day, except that it featured ProductPlacement for items in the Chicago Mail Order catalogue, along with ads for them. ''ComicBook/TheInvisibleTerror'' was part of the series, among others.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'', as its creator Jim Davis would eventually reveal, was created specifically with this kind of marketability in mind. Maybe not as a toy ''per se'' (the character was ''dramatically'' less toyetic in appearance in the beginning), but definitely as a line of merchandise. ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'' frequently lampshaded this. In one episode, another cat named Gabriel performs a HostileShowTakeover, eventually leading Garfield to complain that "He's got my merchandising!"
* [[ComicStrip/{{Monty}} Robotman]], created by United Feature Syndicate in the '80s to be a marketing icon -- a rare instance of a character actually being created by a syndicate and handed over to a cartoonist instead of the other way around, and an excellent example of how Merchandise Driven the comic strip industry in general had become by this point. After looking over a comic submitted for syndication by a young Bill Watterson and recommending that he spin off [[ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes two of its minor characters]] into their own strip, they asked him to incorporate Robotman into the resulting product. Watterson, unsurprisingly, refused, and wound up not getting the gig. He moved on to rival Universal Press Syndicate, and the rest is history. And what became of Robotman, you ask? He eventually did get his own comic strip, but it never became the marketing boom the syndicate hoped, and was eventually renamed ''Monty'' after the eponymous character was written out ''at the syndicate's own recommendation'' when [[{{Irony}} they discovered]] it was hard to market a strip called ''Robotman''.
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'':
** A repeating gag is that Calvin, for all his artistic pretention, definitely wants in on the market share.
--->'''Calvin:''' Look at the dopey clay tiger Hobbes made.\\
'''Calvin's Mom:''' Gee Calvin, I think this is good.\\
'''Calvin:''' You LIKE it?? Where's the marketabiity?\\
'''Calvin's Mom:''' Ask Hobbes if we can put it on the coffee table.\\
'''Calvin:''' But look what I made! A hundred shrunken heads of popular cartoon characters!\\
'''Calvin's Mom:''' Eww, you stitched their mouths shut?!\\
'''Calvin:''' Gloat now, 'cause some day I'll be a lot richer than you.\\
'''Hobbes:''' I call it "Symphony in Orange, No. 1".
** Calvin's dad especially rails against the consumerism of mass media, a viewpoint that mirror's Watterson's own.
--->'''Calvin's Dad:''' Our lives are filled with machines designed to reduce work and increase leisure. We have more leisure than any man has ever had. And what do we do with this leisure? Educate ourselves? Take up new interests? Explore? Invent? Create?\\
'''Calvin:''' Dad, I can't hear this commercial.\\
''[Calvin is thrown outside]''\\
'''Calvin:''' If it were up to my dad, leisure would be as bad as work.\\\
'''Calvin's Dad:''' How can you stand these cartoons? They're just half-hour commercials for toys. And when they're not boring, they're preachy. And these characters don't even MOVE. They just stand around blinking! What kind of cartoon is THAT?\\
'''Calvin:''' Meet my dad, the Creator/GeneSiskel of SaturdayMorningTV.\\\
'''Calvin's Dad:''' Watching a Christmas special?\\
'''Calvin:''' Yep.\\
'''Calvin's Dad:''' Another show extolling love and peace interrupted every seven minutes by commercials extolling greed and waste. I hate to think what you're learning from this.\\
'''Calvin:''' I'm learning I need my own TV so I can watch someplace else.
* Regularly mocked in ''ComicStrip/{{Foxtrot}}'', where Jason makes no secret whatsoever that he wants money, not artistic recognition.
** One of his proposed Slug-man comics was nothing but Slug-man and Paige-o-tron using their various weapons against each other (EachSoldSeparately, UsefulNotes/BatteriesNotIncluded, and all ending in a TradeSnark) ending with Jason wondering if it was customary to approach network executives or toy manufacturers first.
** Another had him submit a comic strip to his school newspaper.
--->'''Jason:''' Honestly, what do you think of my strip?\\
'''Peter:''' Well, it's not particularly funny...\\
'''Peter:''' And it's not particularly well-drawn...\\
'''Peter:''' In fact, it's probably the lamest thing I've ever seen.\\
'''Jason:''' But will it sell T-shirts?\\
'''Peter:''' My, but you do have pure motives...
** And this immortal line:
--->'''Jason:''' Do you think the world is ready for cartoon-shaped Ty-D-Bol tablets?

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Surprisingly, ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'' was not made for this, although it happens to be perfect for selling toys anyway. But the [[ShowWithinAShow Shows Within The Movie]], ''Woody's Roundup'' and ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'' (the latter was [[{{Defictionalisation}} Defictionalized]]) both are, and the two main characters are part of the merchandise. ''Woody's Roundup'' is even said to have been CutShort because the toys weren't selling anymore, the fate of too many real-life series to name.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'' quickly became Disney/Pixar's CashCowFranchise in terms of selling merchandise. Kids don't want Woody, Buzz, or any of the other characters Pixar created; they want cars. It's a symbiotic relationship: despite lukewarm critical and box office reception, John Lasseter keeps producing ''Cars'' films at Pixar, and spin-offs set in the same universe made by [=DisneyToon=] Studios, because [[DoingItForTheArt that world is his personal pet project]], and Disney has no problem letting him do it because he happens to pack each film full of more marketable new vehicle characters than an entire ''Transformers'' series.
** The first ''Cars'' film was green-lit by Michael Eisner specifically because he knew how much money other companies were making by selling car toys. The project Eisner turned down in order to make ''Cars''? An early version of ''Toy Story 3''. THAT is how valuable he felt the ''Cars'' franchise could become.
* ''WesternAnimation/GnomeoAndJuliet'' is an interesting variation on this trope. It was put into production by Disney in the late '90s as a passion project for Music/EltonJohn (who had previously done the music for Disney's ''Disney/TheLionKing''), who at that point hadn't made a compilation album. Disney's logic was that if they crammed as many of Elton John's biggest hits into the film as they could, they'd then make a fortune by positioning the movie's soundtrack as an unofficial "Greatest Hits" album. [[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer Seriously.]] It turns out this wasn't actually such a good idea, and [[TroubledProduction after nearly a decade of trying to make the film work]] Disney gave up on it and handed it off to someone else.
* ''WesternAnimation/JLAAdventuresTrappedInTime'' was commissioned by Target to promote its line of Franchise/{{Justice League|OfAmerica}} action figures. In an example of [[TropesAreTools Tropes Are Not Bad]], the film was pretty well received by fans and critics.
* The reason Thrax has the power to change the appearance of cars in ''Film/OsmosisJones'' is because the creators thought it'd help sell toys. However, the film's toy line was never released, making the gesture somewhat meaningless.
* The television movie ''WesternAnimation/FurbyIsland'' was made to promote the emoto-tronic Furby toys.
* ''WesternAnimation/TwinkleToes'' was made to sell Skechers' new Twinkle Toes brand of light-up shoes. Yup, not even a toyline. Just shoes. Those kids' sneakers with the electric lights that flash every time you take a step, which were popular for a solid generation before Twinkle Toes. It's a charming kids' film in its own right, though, and if anything, the scene that introduces the shoes encourages kids to use their creativity to decorate their own shoes rather than buy Skechers.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory,'' a feature length movie widely regarded as a classic. Quaker Oats Company agreed to underwrite the production in order to help the launch of a new line of candy. While Quaker failed, Nestle, the eventual owners of the Wonka license, did succeed with the re-releases of the film, as well as the remake.
* Possibly the most blatant was ''Film/TheWizard'' which was basically a 90 minute infomercial for the UsefulNotes/NintendoEntertainmentSystem. They not only include showing characters playing popular video games at the time, they also showed the Nintendo hint line, and most (in)famously the Mattel Power Glove (which never worked as well as advertised, making one character's TotallyRadical statement "it's so bad" [[HilariousInHindsight more true in the literal sense]]). The climax of the movie has them going to a video game championship where it's revealed that they will be playing a secret game. The not-released-at-the-time [[MundaneMadeAwesome SUPER! MARIO! BROTHERS! 3!]] The climax of the movie is the new ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' game!
* ''Film/SinginInTheRain'' is a rare example of a merchandise driven product that turned out beautifully. The studio had the rights to a catalog of songs, and asked some filmmakers to make a movie with those songs in it for promotional value. A more crass motive you could not imagine, and yet ''Singin' in the Rain'' is considered one of the best movie musicals of all time.
* The Franchise/{{Batman}} films are pretty good examples of this:
** Part of the reason ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'' sucked so bad was because Creator/WarnerBros [[ExecutiveMeddling forced]] Creator/JoelSchumacher to make the film "more toyetic" (a word the director had never heard before then). The films oft-derided visual design choices were partly a result of the art design being rushed so that they could start producing the toys.
** In fact, this trope is partially what led to Schumacher being hired to direct the Batman movies in the first place. In 1989, Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/{{Batman}}'' proved to be a massive hit in both theaters and toy aisles, bringing in an estimated $500 million in merchandise sales. However, the DarkerAndEdgier (and [[HotterAndSexier more sexual]]) nature of [[Film/BatmanReturns the sequel]] outraged parents, resulting in a letter-writing campaign aimed at the studio and UsefulNotes/McDonalds, who had run a Happy Meal promotion based off of the film. The [[Creator/WarnerBros WB]] execs came to believe that Burton's dark and disturbing vision of Batman wasn't conducive to selling merchandise, so he was removed from the director's chair so that the series could shift to a lighter and more colorful (and therefore more toyetic) tone with ''Film/BatmanForever''. This time, [=McDonald=]'s refused to pony up any money until they'd seen the script for ''Forever'', wanting to avoid a repeat of the previous controversy.
* Pretty much the same thing happened on ''Film/StreetFighter''. A lot of the stuff involving tanks and other vehicles was put there at the behest of Hasbro, who wanted the film to promote their tie-in toy line.
* At least part of the reason why the ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' movie franchise was in DevelopmentHell for so long is due to [[ExecutiveMeddling executives]] wanting to depower the Man of Steel so they could give him Franchise/{{Batman}}-like toys that they could sell to kids. Several of the script drafts for Creator/TimBurton's ''Superman Lives'' movie (including the one by Creator/KevinSmith) featured Superman donning a suit of PoweredArmor and using gadgets like high-tech goggles and S-shaped throwing stars.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'', as a whole, is often cited as being this, particularly the prequel trilogy. A unique example as well; since [[Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox Fox]] apparently gave Creator/GeorgeLucas the merchandising rights in lieu of salary as director, so Lucas could promote ''Film/ANewHope'' himself [[ItWillNeverCatchOn since the studio thought the film would flop.]] Not only have the films been massive box office hits, the merchandise sells so well that it's a key reason why a major film often needs merchandising potential just to get greenlit these days.
* The ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' movies were created to promote the already popular ''Ride/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' ride, then the subsequent merchandise. [[ViciousCycle Which led to]] the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride being refurbished to feature umpteen Jack Sparrows, to hype the movies' DVD sales and box-office receipts. Predictably, this [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks disgusted fans of the attraction's classic layout]] but was a blessing for fans of the movies who always wanted to see [[RuleOfCool Jack and the crew as part of the original ride]].
* Mattel execs hoped ''Film/MastersOfTheUniverse'' would save the then-dying [[Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse franchise of the same name]] by reigniting interest in the brand. Unfortunately, the film flopped and the toy sales continued to plummet.
* Similarly, Creator/{{Hasbro}} started the Film/TransformersFilmSeries out of a need to revitalize the brand after the DorkAge of the Unicron Trilogy. It worked. The films were all box office hits, and the toylines were big sellers. The toys for the first Transformers film surpassed ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' in sales for the top boys' toy series. The second film proved to be a big example of CriticalDissonance (it made several worst of 2009 lists, but made over $836 million worldwide), and had steady toy sales. The third film made over $1 billion worldwide, and the toys make that much every year. It even got to the point where ''Film/TransformersAgeOfExtinction'' was greenlit largely due to the toy sales; leading to a further array of figures including fan favorites like the Dinobots.
* ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'' was created as a revival of the G.I. Joe toyline. While the film wasn't the biggest hit, the toys were major sellers; so much that the sequel, ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation'', was funded with the money made from the toys.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** In ''Film/IronMan2'', the helmet and repulsor toys worn by the kid [[spoiler:who Tony rescues from nearly getting killed]] are actually from the toyline. This is quite possibly the only superhero movie where using the ''actual toys'' used to promote the film is completely appropriate in-story.
** In general, it's speculated that one of the reasons Franchise/IronMan changes suits in every [[Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse MCU]] movie (sometimes sporting multiple armors in a single film) is because it gives the toy companies more products to sell. ''Film/IronMan3'' in particular had an entire fleet of new armors that got very little screen time but nonetheless featured heavily in the merchandise for the film.
* In universe, ''Film/JingleAllTheWay'' has a show to promote the Turbo Man toyline.
* While not itself a victim of the trope, ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'' lampshaded and parodied it throughout [[PlayedForLaughs for the laughs]]. Countless background objects have the movie's name on them culminating with a few lines from Yogurt.
--> Merchandising. Merchandising. Merchandising. We put the picture's name on everything. Spaceballs the coloring book. Spaceballs the lunch box. Spaceballs the breakfast cereal. [[BreadEggsMilkSquick Spaceballs the '''flamethrower''']], the kids love that one.
--> [...]
--> God willing we'll all meet again in ''Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money''.

* Several of Creator/MargaretSnyder PictureBooks come with a [[{{Toys}} Toy]].
* The ''Literature/AmericanGirlsCollection'' of books is this trope combined with the need for role models. Every book in the series features a new outfit for the starring character, and for her corresponding doll -- a school outfit, a Christmas outfit, a birthday outfit, and so on, along with accessories, sometimes even extending into doll furniture. They'll bend the universe of the characters in order to make this work -- how does Addy, an escaped slave who is starting life over in the city, manage to get nice new dresses regularly? Her mother is a seamstress. The merchandise ends up working for the series, though, because the accessories are [[ShownTheirWork impressively well-researched]], and usually end up contributing to the sense of history, or to the story -- or both!
* ''Literature/DeltoraQuest'', which started as a standard fantasy series; but gained an anime adaptation with a card game and series of collectible figurines.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' and ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' novels published by Black Library sometimes seem like this. Occasionally, it seems like every named character in the Horus Heresy series who doesn't die is condemned for his heresy to spend eternity as [[CrackIsCheaper an expensive piece of plastic]].
** Horus Heresy isn't really the best example as GW proper does not produce any Heresy-era miniatures (their sister company Forgeworld announced a series of Horus Heresy campaign books and models, but the book series had been going for years before). Many BL books heavily feature special characters from the games and sometimes you can catch hints of new models in books released shortly before a new codex/armybook that feature the army in question.
* A series of {{Franchise/Barbie}} novels was published in the 1960s that portrayed the character as a high school student. In 1999, a new series was published for Generation Girl line.
* An in-universe example: in Creator/BruceSterling's ''Zeitgeist'', the girl-band G-7 was created by Leggy Starlitz primarily to sell TheMerch. The music is only of secondary interest to him.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The degree to which ''Series/CaptainPowerAndTheSoldiersOfTheFuture'' was merchandise-driven actually drove producer Creator/JMichaelStraczynski off the show.
* ''Series/ICarly'': Parodied when the webshow started advertising for sneakers on her show. The foot warmers and wi-fi pedometer linkup exploded and wiped hard drives, respectively, so they obviously didn't advertise them for long.
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' and ''Franchise/KamenRider'' have devoted whole episodes to new merchandise, and ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' takes it further.
** In the original ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'', the Rangers' Power Morphers were designed to be worn on their belts while in civilian gear, but this gimmick was dropped after the first episode, with the teens usually just keeping them in their pockets instead. This is likely because in ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'', the Morphers ("Dino Bucklers") were supposed to be stylized belt buckles with golden "Z" symbols on the back (with the Z visible when the heroes put their Bucklers on backwards), but the American Morpher toys neglected to include the Z stickers or the holsters needed to attach the toys to a belt. Since the toys completed missed out on the whole belt buckle disguise aspect, the show didn't use it either.
** This may also be why in [[Film/MightyMorphinPowerRangersTheMovie the movie]], the Rangers' costumes were redesigned to incorporate emblems of their respective dinosaurs on their chests. This had long been a feature of most of the Power Rangers action figures, merchandise, and promotional material, but couldn't be incorporated into the show itself because of the reliance on Japanese stock footage. When it came time to make a movie out of 100 percent original footage, the Rangers now conveniently looked more like their action figures.
** A particularly bad example is when, in ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'', the debut of the Red Ranger's motorcycle overshadowed the debut of one of the show's staples -- the team's HumongousMecha. Worse, there was a monster that ''turned into a car'' not too many episodes later. Perfect for debuting the bike ''and'' working with the plot rather than against it.
** The MilestoneCelebration episode ''Forever Red'' in ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'' was a hideous example of this. The original finale to the episode was supposed to have had the classic Megazords fighting Serpentera, but was shot down because they didn't want to promote old toys. Even more, because Bandai was helping finance the episode (as it was made during the transition between Saban and Disney), they were forced to use the brand new motorcycle Cole got ''the episode before'', leading to the ridiculous CurbStompBattle between it and Serpentera.
** ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'' has a nasty case of it. The toys don't really look like the show versions due to the show being rushed to production and the toys being manufactured before the show was even finished casting. So the Rangers' TransformationSequence involves transforming first into the suits minus helmets but with face-concealing masks (as that is how the toy makers did the usual head-flipping figures without actors to base heads on) and then the helmets form. During mecha fights, the toy versions of the Rangers' gear is used while in the cockpits, and only there. This means there are enough all-new suits and weapons that you could make a whole new series out of them if you wanted... and all this stuff only exists while piloting the Megazord and serves no purpose whatsoever within the show. (You'd think morphing from the show version to the toy version would make a good MidSeasonUpgrade, but that'd mean making expensive new fight scenes instead of being able to use StockFootage from ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger.'')
*** Later seasons (''Series/PowerRangersDinoCharge'' and ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaSteel'') would follow ''Samurai''[='s=] example and have the Rangers continue to don new armor and weapons in the Megazord cockpits. On the plus side, these were better justified in-show as assisting in powering and operating the Megazord (''Samurai'' had no such explanation) and were strictly ''secondary'' merch where the ''Samurai'' toyline focused on the zord armor at the expense of the regular suits.
** ''Series/PowerRangersMegaforce'' didn't have the cockpit armor of ''Samurai'', but it was just as bad of a case, if not worse, due to the first half adapting ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'', a series with a rather large amount of mechs as well as collectable cards. Due to Nickelodeon forcing Saban to limit each season to 20 episodes, the zords basically debuted back-to-back - for an idea of just how forced this was, by the end of episode 5 in ''Megaforce'', the team had the same number of Zords that the Goseigers had gotten by ''episode 9'' of that series[[note]]not counting Exotic Brothers, which was a one-off powerup[[/note]] - in fact, of the 20 episodes[[note]]not counting the Halloween or Christmas episodes[[/note]] of ''Megaforce'', the team gains mechs or some other powerup in 12 of them. The second half, ''Super Megaforce'', was a bit better in the mecha department, since the majority of the zords the team gained were from older seasons,[[note]]and the only zords from ''Super Megaforce'' that were released were the new ones[[/note]], but it was just as bad if not worse overall, since ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'', the sentai ''Super Megaforce'' was adapted from, had ranger keys, which allowed the team to transform into past ranger modes - one key for each ranger; while they didn't release all the keys used in the series[[note]]the only keys they didn't release were the ones of the Sentai-exlclusive teams, although the keys from ''Dairanger'' were teased at a toy fair; also, the female Red Samurai Ranger and Super Megaforce Gold mode keys were never released[[/note]] they ''did'' release several toyline exclusive keys.[[note]]The keys for the extra heroes - other than the the [[Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy Magna Defender]] and [[Series/PowerRangersMysticForce Wolf Warrior]] - as well as the [[Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue Titanium Ranger]] and [[Series/PowerRangersTurbo Phantom Ranger]], were not used in the show, but did have keys exclusive to the toyline[[/note]]
** ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaSteel'' has another major example of toys dictating the show. In the source series ''Series/ShurikenSentaiNinninger'', the Rangers' {{Cool Sword}}s are their transformation devices; when Saban was adapting the show, Bandai asked them to make it so that the Rangers' secondary SwissArmyWeapon (which is shaped like a giant ninja star) was the transformation device instead, since they wanted to move as many toys as possible and knew the sword would already sell well by virtue of being the Rangers' primary weapon.
** [[WordOfGod The production staff]] of both series have even said that TV ratings are an afterthought compared to merchandise sales. The reason behind the increasing amount of mecha and Rangers in newer ''Super Sentai'' seasons are to recoup the losses of an underperforming ''Power Rangers'' under Disney's tenure with the show. ''Power Rangers'' is also typically the best-selling boys' toyline in America; so it's often a big deal when it's outperformed, as other examples of this trope can prove.
** Notable examples of [[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands awkwardly introduced]] pieces of merchandise: the Faiz Axel in ''Series/KamenRiderFaiz'' and the Zect Mizer in ''Series/KamenRiderKabuto.''
** For the past number of years, both shows have designed have designed the systems by which heroes use their powers around a collectible toy aspect:
*** ''Super Sentai'' and by proxy ''Power Rangers'' have power cells in ''Series/EngineSentaiGoOnger'' and ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'', discs in ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' and ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'', both [[CardsOfPower cards]] and "headers" (mecha heads) in ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'' and ''Series/PowerRangersMegaforce'', keys in ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'' and ''Power Rangers Super Megaforce'', batteries in ''Series/ZyudenSentaiKyoryuger'' and ''Series/PowerRangersDinoCharge'', trains in ''Series/ResshaSentaiToQger'', shuriken in ''Series/ShurikenSentaiNinninger'' and ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaSteel'', globes in ''Series/UchuSentaiKyuranger'', and vehicles in ''Series/KaitouSentaiLupinrangerVSKeisatsuSentaiPatranger''. In many cases, the collectible isn't just tied to the roleplay gear but is built into the mecha as well (in ''[=ToQger=]'' and ''Lupinranger VS Patranger'', the collectible vehicles ''are'' the mecha). Occasionally, there's still a season without a collectible (''Series/TokumeiSentaiGoBusters'', ''Series/DoubutsuSentaiZyuohger''), but they're increasingly rare.
*** ''Franchise/KamenRider'' has {{cards|OfPower}} for ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'', USB memory sticks for ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'', coins for ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'', switches for ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'', [[RingOfPower rings]] for ''Series/KamenRiderWizard'', padlocks for ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'', cars for ''Series/KamenRiderDrive'', eyeball-like gadgets for ''Series/KamenRiderGhost'', video game UsefulNotes/{{cartridge}}s for ''Series/KamenRiderExAid'', and bottles for ''Series/KamenRiderBuild''. Not only do these objects work with the toys such as the transformation belt, but they also provide powerups in the arcade games ''Ganbaride'' and ''Ganbarizing''.
** In fact, you can see the different priorities in toy sales between ''Sentai'' and ''Rangers'' by what gets featured in the show: Japan favors the roleplay gear, hence the collectibles; while America pushes action figures more and so promotes {{Super Mode}}s and [[EnvironmentSpecificActionFigure Environment-Specific]] armors.
** ''Series/HikoninSentaiAkibaranger'', despite being a spinoff series aimed at an older target audience, is just as merchandise-driven as the mainline Sentai seasons. Specifically, the show is sponsored by Bandai's Tamashii Nations division, who are in charge of producing the Toys/SHFiguarts line of collectable action figures. As a result, guest Sentai warriors in ''Akibaranger'' tend to be characters who are being released as part of the Figuarts series.
** This is also why in all three of the above shows, an overpowered SuperMode or giant overkill mecha combination will be used for almost every episode after it's introduced, even against monsters that are clearly no stronger than the ones who came before. The only shows where this is justified is ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'' narrative-wise, since after Fourze gets the Cosmic Switch, the monsters really do get stronger [[spoiler:since he fights nothing but Horoscopes from that point on]] and ''Series/KamenRiderKiva'' [[RealLifeWritesThePlot filming-wise]], since the regular Kiva suits were too heavy for stuntmant Seija Takaiwa (to the point where he almost died from the weight) and the Kiva Emperor suit conveniently happened to be far lighter.
* Another toku franchise, the ''Franchise/UltraSeries'', is quite merchandise driven with its numerous [[TransformationTrinket Transformation Trinkets]], weapons, planes, spaceships, kaijus and Ultras all waiting to be turned into plastic toys. Taken UpToEleven in the most recent versions of the franchise such as ''Series/UltramanOrb'' and ''Series/UltramanGeed'', where the TransformationTrinket has collectible parts (cards and capsules, respectively) that are constantly added to the show whenever a new Ultra form is introduced.
* Every single episode of ''Series/MadanSenkiRyukendo'' is devoted to the introduction of some new toy. The main character has four different forms (with four different action figures) each with its own robot sidekick -- that's eight episodes to introduce everything. Then towards the end of the series he gets a SuperMode that upgrades ''everything'' he has, meaning another eight episodes to introduce all of his new powers. And then at the end of that, he gets an Ultimate Form. With equally Ultimate robot sidekicks. This isn't counting the episodes where he gains a new piece of barely-useful equipment (Madan Dagger, anyone?) or one of the two other main heroes gets a new upgrade/robot sidekick/finisher. God forbid he use the powers he already has in a new and interesting way.
** The show's {{Spiritual Successor}}s, ''Series/TomicaHeroRescueForce'' and ''[[Series/TomicaHeroRescueFire Rescue Fire]]'', actually have the toy company's brand name (The Tomica series of die-cast cars) in the title, although at least they're better about making the toys fit in with the storyline.
* The ''Franchise/MetalHeroes'' franchise of the early '80s to mid-'90s featured the same kind of toys most sentai do, however a lot more emphasis was placed on firearms such as ''Series/BlueSwat'''s famous Dictator, which fired frighteningly similar to a real gun. Also, they had ''crazy'' arsenals even when it was just one hero, as much gear as the average ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' series (right down to the giant robot in some cases.) Bikes, tanks, drill-tanks, fighter jets, and [[Series/SpaceSheriffGavan at least one giant mecha-dragon]] all launched from a huge flying base. There are whole sentai teams who don't have as deep a bag of tricks as a Space Sheriff may on his lonesome.
* For a time in TheSixties, it was ''de rigeur'' for eccentric characters in high-concept {{Sitcom}}s to drive George Barris-customized show cars. They would invariably be available as AMT model kits. Examples include ''Series/{{Batman}}''[='=]s Batmobile, ''Series/TheMonkees''[='=] Monkeemobile, and ''Series/TheMunsters''[='=] Munster Koach and Drag-U-La.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' parodied this with "Trim-Jeans Theatre," which presented plays and movies with the cast members all wearing Trim-Jeans.
* The newer seasons of ''Series/{{Glee}}'' have basically gone from a TV show about life in a glee club to a commercial to sell cover albums. Is it really a surprise that the ratings have gone down?
* Bandai produces toys for the Indonesian tokusatsu ''Series/BIMASatriaGaruda'', just like for the Japanese franchises it was inspired by.
* In-universe example in the NBC ''[[Series/WonderWoman2011Pilot Wonder Woman]]'' pilot. The heroine's garish costume was explained as something she wore specifically to sell Wonder Woman action figures, as this version of the character was a corporate businesswoman who used [[CrimefightingWithCash merchandise sales to fund her vigilante activities]].
* Although ''Series/SesameStreet'', as a Creator/{{PBS}} program, is not as merchandise driven as most of the other examples from network TV, WordOfGod says that Zoe, a Monster added in the 80s-90s, was designed specifically to be marketable--her orange fur was chosen to complement the red Elmo, etc--while most of the other characters before were designed more organically. This has made her controversial among Sesame Street Muppeteers. Abby Cadabby, the newest female Muppet, was created in the more traditional matter.
* Parodied in ''Series/RoboCopTheSeries'' with the ShowWithinAShow cartoon superhero Commander Cash. Created by OCP to sell toys (some of which are explosive), cereal and promote the positive side of shady business practices; because OCP cares about the future.
* ''Series/RomperRoom'' effectively became this when Claster Television, the company that created the show, was bought by Creator/{{Hasbro}} in 1969.

* This sort of work is homaged by the energetic Hip hop/Dancehall act Major Lazer with [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4SNtFQZF0A the video for their song "Hold the Line."]] The film is a mostly animated adventure featuring a Lazer-armed superhero fighting vampires, cut with footage of kids playing with Major Lazer action figures. Even down to the video quality it looks exactly like an '80s toy ad for He-Man or similar. Sadly the toys are unavailable, made for the promo only - especially irritating because they look beautiful.

* Creator/{{Gottlieb}}'s ''Canada Dry'' (a rethemed version of their earlier ''Pinball/ElDorado'') was produced for a promotional contest in France.
* ''Pinball/{{Corvette}}'' was released in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the car line.
* ...and Creator/SternPinball's ''Pinball/{{Mustang|Stern}}'' was released for the 50th anniversary.
* Played straight with the various ''Pinball/HarleyDavidson'' pins.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* This used to be a staple of the Southern USA, where it was often part of a baby {{face}}'s duty to shill merchandise during intermissions. [[Wrestling/LanceStorm Thrill]] [[Wrestling/ChrisJericho Seekers]] TagTeam, arriving in the country via Wrestling/SmokeyMountainWrestling, were baffled by the concept and felt there was a passive aggressive attempt to push them out of the company given they weren't good enough at shilling wares to justify how much they were getting paid. As it became increasingly clear that the territories were not coming back though, [[FollowTheLeader this practice became more common in other regions.]]
* [[Wrestling/{{FMW}} Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling]] were accused of hiring Megumi Kudo for the purpose of selling catalogs after she had been cut from the [[Wrestling/AllJapanWomensProWrestling Zenjo]] roster and faded into obscurity. However, their most infamous case was perhaps during the "World Entertainment Wrestling" era when Mr. Gannosuke appeared in a porno wearing Hayabusa's mask. Supposedly this was an attempt by Team No Respect to [[InvertedTrope destroy the Hayabusa Brand]].
* While FMW faced accusations and ran a few over the top angles, Xtreme Pro Wrestling was actually founded by a pornography company and used its wrestling ring to film porn. In the event a wrestler wouldn't do porn(most who worked for it never did), XPW would merely film the wrestler doing something mundane, possibly to appeal to some kind of kink or maybe not, nothing explicitly sexual, then edit in clips of pornography in between clips of the wrestler so it could sell porn videos [[LoopholeAbuse with the wrestler's name on them]]. Disappointed workers and customers all around.
* Wrestling/DGenerationX's later runs. Which they promptly lampshaded at every opportunity, shoving in every cheap plug they could find. At least they made it funny.
* Parodied in Gateway Championship Wrestling by Wrestling/MattSydal, the shameless [[WrestlingDoesntPay wrestling shirt salesman]].
* Wrestling/AllJapanProWrestling's infamous "Puroresu Love" era was all about getting as much merchandising and sponsorship as possible after the bulk of its roster deserted the company in favor of Wrestling/ProWrestlingNOAH, going from serious presented sport to...silliness. AJPW was noticeably behind the other majors critically and financially during this era but made enough money to stay open and eventually get back on track.
* After Toru Yano snapped in 2004, he became the drunken DVD advertisement of Wrestling/{{New Japan|ProWrestling}}.
* In Wrestling/{{TNA}}, the Suicide gimmick was devised to sell copies of their Midway developed video game. To this end, at least five men were put under the mask to keep it going.
* {{Subverted|trope}} by Sami Callihan in EVOLVE, where he mentioned a video game that featured every member of the roster but couldn't remember its name, [[ItsAllAboutMe just that more people were playing as him online]] than as Johnny Gargano.
* Wrestling/KevinSteen used this for one of his three reasons for joining Wrestling/AdamCole and Wrestling/TheYoungBucks in Wrestling/ProWrestlingGuerilla (the other two being an inability to beat Cole and [[XPacHeat disrespect he and the bucks got from the fans]]), saying he wasn't selling enough shirts.

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* An episode of ''Series/FeralTV'' (spinoff of the Australian programme ''The Ferals'') had an episode where the boss of the station had, for reasons best known only to him, purchased a container or two full of colourful plastic lampshades and demanded the characters make up a programme to sell them. The result: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqeDjOoYfP4 The ''Mighty Dorky Power Whingers!'']] Cancelled after one episode due to all the lampshades selling out, including those on set.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Homaged with the ''TabletopGame/CartoonActionHour'' role-playing game. The first version even suggested players think of gimmicks for a corresponding action figure when creating characters.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** What once started as a joke among the fanbase became less of a joke in light of the more obnoxious army rules sets that come out. In the memorable case of the 5th edition [[TheScrappy Codex Tyranids]], the iconic Carnifex, which was once a staple of any Tyranid list worth using for decades on end, was {{nerf}}ed into near oblivion. But fear not, for Games Workshop's new Tyranid model range is full of winning units, such as the Trygon / Mawloc kit, and the [[{{Metagame}} now-ubiquitous]] Hive Guard. Have fun buying new models, kiddies!
** Some players think that Games Workshop is steering away from this due to the increasing number of units with complete rules developed [[DevelopmentHell long before the models come out]]. Former examples include the Space Marine Drop Pod, Ork Battlewagon, Tyranid Gargoyles and Tervigon, Chaos Daemons' Seekers of Slaaneesh and Dark Eldar Razorwing, while current examples (as of October 2012) include various special characters like Old Zogwort, Justicar Thawn and Baron Sathonyx and a vast number of Tyranid units including the Harpy, Shrike Brood, Doom of Malan'tai, and Parasite of Mortrex. Forge World, a separate modeling company specializing in resin kits, will sometimes sell kits for these units, but [[CrackIsCheaper crack is not only cheaper, but has an infinitely simpler assembly]].
** Oddly enough, the company has almost no merch beyond the models and books themselves. Given the rabid fanbase, including many who love the setting but don't play the main tabletop game, this seems an odd choice in an age where even every webcomic sells T-shirts.
*** Currently, apart from selling licences to third parties to make computer, board and role-playing games set in the universe, the line of merch includes generic gaming accessories (not all those GW custom dice sets do anything you couldn't do with a pocketful of regular D6), figure transport cases and paintbrushes, in the hope that the punters won't ever discover that Officeworks also sell paintbrushes. Some of their tools seem to have a reason to exist, e.g. not many manufacturers make a mould line removal implement; but there are some you'd just get at Spotlight or another craft store, and not to mention their special branded super, plastic, and white glues. These are a people who insist on trying to sell you a pot to fill with water to rinse your paintbrush in. They once had a souvenir mug, but apparently it went wrong and was not cleared for food use, so was sold as a different brush-washing pot.
** Games Workshop undoubtedly swung back in this direction for a while, after their legal team's [[ScrewedByTheLawyers trademark debacle]] with the author of ''Literature/SpotsTheSpaceMarine'' a few years back. Almost all units and characters that had rules, but never got official models, eventually disappeared from the tabletop as the books containing their rules were superseded, with only a few exceptions (usually units with official models that went out of production and were never replaced). Likewise, practically all model-less units and characters in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' failed to make the transition to its successor, ''TabletopGame/WarhammerAgeOfSigmar'', although Games Workshop acknowledged that some players and collectors made their own models for them by recommending units that they could be used to proxy.
*** Another sign of a more merchandise-driven approach was a move towards artwork that replicated the miniatures, detail-for-detail, rather than focusing on exploring the setting beyond the tabletop like in the past (although this may also have been due to an increased reliance on freelance artists). However, recent information about the art direction of ''Warhammer 40,000'''s 8th edition suggests that they may be swinging back in the opposite direction again.

* Franchise/{{LEGO}}:
** ''Toys/{{BIONICLE}}'' was something of an experiment in this trope for LEGO, in response to increasing financial trouble and realizing that reliance on their ''Franchise/StarWars'' license wasn't a good permanent solution -- the company theorized that promoting a line with a story would bolster sales compared to lines without a story. It's hard to tell whether the story was much of a factor, but they were proved right for a while -- no other LEGO line sold better until around 2007, this being when the story really started to become bloated. Though the toyline was terminated in early 2010, the line's head writer continued to write story serials (until LEGO shut down the story website in 2011, ultimately resulting in FourLinesAllWaiting all being LeftHanging), making ''BIONICLE'' an example of a merchandise-driven property that outlived the merchandise.
** Its SpiritualSuccessor, ''Toys/HeroFactory'', is still merchandise-driven but doesn't push its story as much in comparison. BIONICLE received a short-lived reboot in 2015 with the revamped building system from Hero Factory, which sports more versatility than a lot of classic BIONICLE building systems and massively sturdier molds.
** LEGO also tried this with an {{Animesque}} HumongousMecha set clearly inspired by stuff like ''Anime/{{Voltron}}''. ''Toys/LEGOExoForce'' lasted three years; while short compared to City or ''BIONICLE'', it was very popular during its run, second only to ''BIONICLE'' and ''LEGO Franchise/StarWars'' sales. It died in its third year due to the loss of the studio producing the related comics and because the bigger sets of the second year stayed behind in stores like solid rocks.
** The practice of crafting a story behind the toys has clearly caught on, as two of Lego's current flagships are ''WesternAnimation/{{Ninjago}}'' and ''WesternAnimation/LegendsOfChima''.
** And again with ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie'', but this time the movie itself has more control than the toys. In fact, the movie itself is essentially a love letter to the LEGO brand, and the toys are [[RecursiveAdaptation on the side]].
** One notable failure for LEGO in this area was ''Series/{{Galidor}}'', mainly because the figures ''were not constructed'' -- they instead had mostly-incompatible stuff; not only that, the show was pretty boring, the video game sucked, and the show got screwed over in the switch from Creator/FoxKids to Creator/ABCFamily; it served as a lesson for LEGO not to deviate from their main area of expertise (which they forgot when they created a ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' line that had pretty much the exact same setup, and also flopped).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* There is a whole genre of video games that only exist to promote a product. They are called Advergames.
** Both ''VideoGame/McKids'' and ''VideoGame/CoolSpot'', [[SugarWiki/NoProblemWithLicensedGames which are remembered for their great gameplay]]. The problem is that [[WhatWereTheySellingAgain neither of them have a lot of relationship with what they are trying to sell]].
** ''VideoGame/{{Zool}}'' (Chupa Chups).
** ''VideoGame/{{ChexQuest}}'' was probably the coolest thing you EVER got out of a cereal box if you grew up in the 90s.
*** This one actually became so pervasive that it spawned a fandom of its own and is a popular subject for ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' [[GameMod modders]] (since it is a ''Doom''-engine game). There are both unofficial and moderately official (as in "with the input of the original developers", although Chex themselves not so much) follow-ups to the original series as well. So Merchandise-Driven as it may have been, it no longer is bound to that and the "Chex" name and setting remain simply because that's what started it.
** ''VideoGame/{{Pepsiman}}'', based on a series of TV commercials that also had an associated toyline. One big difference from other advergames is that while the rest [[WhatWereTheySellingAgain have little in common with what they are advertising]], Pepsiman succeeds in making you remember which product you are supposed to buy. How? It [[EarWorm brainwashes you with a song]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdqW9PAv5_M]] that repeats the product's name, "[[ExpositoryThemeTune PEPSI-MAN]]!"
** ''VideoGame/DarkenedSkye'' is probably the weirdest case. When you look at it, it could have probably be an RPG on its very own (even the title doesn't look any Advergame-ish), but it's a game to promote the Skittles candies, riding the coat-tails of a similar venture by Mars Candy to promote M&M's. Since the makers had freedom (no ExecutiveMeddling, since the executive producer flat-out refused—she is quoted as saying, "you can fire me now, or you can, like, not make me do this"—and [[INeedAFreakingDrink only consented once she was good and schnockered]]), they decided to do it in a parodied way.
** In the early 2000s, Wonka.com had a plethora of [[{{Crunchtastic}} "Wonkanized"]] (and quite good) remakes of arcade games--''VideoGame/PacMan'', for example, became "Gobstopper Gobbler;" there were also several original games such as "Oompas Wild Rush."
* ''VideoGame/BrutalLegend'' does this in-universe, by using Merchandise to power the CommandAndConquerEconomy.
* ''VideoGame/UrbanRivals'' manages to do this without a tangible product. The WebComics promote characters on the cards, often with gang team-ups, sometimes with what appears to be a CrackPairing that actually hints as to how the cards could work together in a hand. The showcased character cards enjoy a boost in popularity and price, and purchasable booster packs tout the inclusion of the characters.
* The genre of games known as "toys-to-life", with [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters Loads and Loads of Figures]] to buy:
** ''VideoGame/{{Skylanders}}'' is Creator/{{Activision}}'s foray into this area: An ActionGame with collectible physical figurines and a device through which they can unlock virtual versions of themselves for player use. To date, consumer response has been positive due to the surprisingly high quality of the game component. You get three figures for free with the purchase of a game, and they're great characters, but in order to fully explore the game, you need a character from the other five elements. Of course, nothing's stopping the completionist from collecting all the characters. And their variants, if you're so inclined.
** Creator/{{Disney}} has ''VideoGame/DisneyInfinity'', an ActionAdventure series with a main focus on its ''VideoGame/LittleBigPlanet''-like [[LevelEditor Toy Box mode]] which uses the company's massive stable of well-known characters, along with those from Creator/{{Pixar}}, Creator/{{Marvel|Comics}}, and ''Franchise/StarWars''.
** Franchise/{{LEGO}} has ''VideoGame/LEGODimensions'', which is a MassiveMultiplayerCrossover VideoGame/LegoAdaptationGame using their own franchises and multiple well-known franchises from various companies, although Creator/WarnerBros (and various properties acquired by them over the years, like Creator/HannaBarbera toons and Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer films) is a little more prominent here; they published the game.
** Creator/{{Nintendo}} has entered this genre twice, first by using ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' for ''VideoGame/PokemonRumble U'', which didn't work out well, then later gaining far greater success with the Toys/{{amiibo}} line of cross-game compatible figures.
* In the early 90s, a bunch of Amiga games were released that advertised certain products (mostly from Germany). Examples are
** "[=BiFi=] - The Snack Zone" (promoting a popular sausage-like beef snack food called, well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin BiFi]], which is known in the UK as Peperami, where it is made out of pork)
** "Das Schmutzige Erbe" (The Dirty Heritage) 1 and 2, promoting the German Ministry of Environment and "living green"
** "Das Telekommando" promoting phone company TeleKom
** "Helikopter Mission" promoting the German Armed Forces and specifically service as a Helicopter pilot. Gameplay and graphics were similar to ''VideoGame/DesertStrike'', but no enemies, weapons or violence was involved and missions consisted of dropping paratroopers and supplies.
* ''VideoGame/DieAnstalt'' is a flash game made to promote a series of plush toys of various cute animals with severe mental issues (the goal of the game is to help the toys overcome their issues).
* ''VideoGame/EarthwormJim'' was born of a collaboration between Shiny Entertainment and the toy company Playmates, which was riding high on the success of the ''Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'' franchise. The original game was intended to kickstart a multimedia empire on the same scale as ''TMNT'' (albeit even sillier), complete with tie-in toyline. In the end, though, this attempt ended up as a dud, and while the first two games and [[WesternAnimation/EarthwormJim the animated series]] are fondly-remembered cult hits, the action figures wallowed in obscurity and are largely forgotten.
* There's no actual real-life merchandise, but side-scrolling ShootEmUp ''VideoGame/GeppyX'' is framed as an old 70's HumongousMecha anime. As such, levels are often broken up with live-action commercial breaks advertising fictional ''Geppy X'' merch.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'':
** Parodied with the ShowWithinAShow ''WebAnimation/CheatCommandos''. The show is not only blatantly market-driven, it doesn't even ''attempt'' to hide this fact. Buildings are routinely referred to as "playsets," and one of the toys is called the "action figure storage vehicle" within the show. "Cheap as Free" (the name of the fictional toy manufacturer) appears every time a new object appears, and the show's theme song includes "[[LampshadeHanging Buy all our playsets and toys!]]" In one episode, they even go through the battery compartment of the Headquarters Playset, where the batteries have been left in too long and have leaked.
--->'''Silent Rip:''' No wonder the electronic lights and sounds stopped working. These batteries haven't been changed since Donnie's twelfth birthday!
** This is particularly ironic since Homestarrunner.com is, itself, entirely supported by merchandise. In fact, they sell [[http://www.homestarrunnerstore.com/chcofi.html an actual set of Cheat Commando figures]] in the shop, and papercraft playsets are downloadable for free.
* Mattel created ''Toys/MonsterHigh'' just for this reason, also planning a book series and a movie from the get-go.
* ''BIONICLE'' had many different online animations in its original lifespan (Bohrok Online Animations, Vahki Online Animations, Piraka Online Animations, Stars Battle Videos, etc.) and its 2015 reboot featured a series of 90-second online animations as a means of storytelling (alongside books).
* ''Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story'' exists to promote Disney's Vinylmation figures.
* The ''WebAnimation/DCSuperHeroGirls'' web shorts exist to promote Mattel's line of DC dolls and toys.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* For a concise description of the ultimate Merchandise Driven show, see [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/01/05/ this strip]] of ''Webcomic/PennyArcade''.
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'': InUniverse, ''[[ShowWithinAShow The Squiddles]]'' is this.
* ''Webcomic/TheOatmeal'' may be such a comic, according to [[http://www.buzzfeed.com/jackstuef/the-secrets-of-the-internets-most-beloved-viral-m this article.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Deconstructed in ''Literature/SailorNothing'', when Himei notes that "I'm very tired." wouldn't sell any action figures. Nor would her second catch phrase, [[spoiler:"I want to live."]]
* Parodied by the WebVideo/JoueurDuGrenier in his special about Merchandise-Driven shows: He reveals that his show was originally created to sell [=JdG=] dolls, but for some reason they never took off. That a pull-ring doll that tells racist jokes might not be marketable to children apparently never occurred to them.
* Parodied in ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries''' first movie, where the climactic scene (the BigBad getting his attack laughed off then getting pulverized by a giant dragon with Music/OdeToJoy blaring in the background) is [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J12zTCrF1U#t=5m29s only slightly marred]] by the fact that half the action is obscured by a gigantic "BUY YU-GI-OH CARDS TODAY". Characters in-universe refer to Duel Monsters [[InsistentTerminology almost exclusively]] as "a children's card game", and much humor is derived from how everyone treats an innocuous playground activity as SeriousBusiness.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This ended up being one of the reasons for the cancellation of the ''WesternAnimation/MegaMan'' cartoon show, due to strife between Bandai and Capcom about the sales of the toys based on it. It also overlaps with WhatCouldHaveBeen, as the cancelled action figures included Proto Man in his Break Man outfit and Bass, suggesting these would have been status quo changes for the third season. Of course, the series also served to promote the [[VideoGame/MegaManClassic video games]] it was based on.
* ''WesternAnimation/MaxiesWorld'': Creator/{{Hasbro}} introduced a line of dolls in 1988, and there also was an animated series that aired during the 1989-1990 season.
* According to Creator/RobLiefeld, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen he almost had a deal]] for a ''ComicBook/{{Youngblood}}'' cartoon on Creator/FoxKids, which would've been created for the sole purpose of promoting an action figure line from Mattel. When Fox signed an exclusive deal with [[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel]] (thus killing Liefeld's cartoon in the cradle), Mattel dropped the idea for the toy line.
* ''WesternAnimation/CaptainSimianAndTheSpaceMonkeys'' was intended to be this trope but the action figures didn't sell, which led to its cancellation despite the fact that the show itself was pretty damn clever and well received. ''ComicBook/BuckyOHareAndTheToadWars'' met its doom after one season for the same reason.
* All the ''Franchise/GIJoe'' cartoons. This is most blatant with scenes where the plot stops to have the team's bridge layer tank, piloted by Toll-Booth, appear out of nowhere to lay a hinged two-piece bridge down, extending the size of the bridge to fit larger gaps. Of course, real-life armored vehicle-launched bridges can't extend their length like that, nor can the toy.
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}''. An odd instance of the fandom ''embracing'' this. Toy reviews abound, fanfic tends to feature toy characters who weren't on the show, etc. Most notably, if a character ''doesn't'' have a toy made, you'll often hear fans clamoring for it... the RuleOfCool applies here, and the RuleOfFun even more so, but they're double-edged swords: a sub-standard ''figure'' tends to garner far more backlash than a sub-par episode. The [[Wiki/TFWikiDotNet Transformers Wiki]] has [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/To_sell_toys a whole page]] about this.\\\
The original 1984 cartoon had its canon (or the closest thing a relatively episodic series can have to a canon) more or less entirely shaped according to [[ExecutiveMeddling corporate whims]]. Creator/{{Hasbro}} and Takara wanted to showcase so many characters, often at the same time, that episode premises were usually written without any specific characters in mind (aside from big names like Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Starscream, etc.) so that they could be slotted in later once they knew which toys the companies wanted them to push. Since this left very little time for character development, especially for teams like the Combaticons and Aerialbots, it resulted in the show's characteristic "introdumps"--sequences where four or five characters would be introduced in rapid succession with one or two lines of dialogue to establish their names, personalities, and occasionally special abilities before rushing back to the plot. (The GrandFinale "The Rebirth" is by far the worst as a result of being edited down from five parts to three; by the writer's own math, the absolute most time that passes without a new character showing up is a minute and a half.) Later, more experienced incarnations of the franchise are much better about this, although the toy companies' influence occasionally still results in unorthodox plotting.\\\
It's a good thing that ''Transformers'' works both ways -- the shows are always based on toys, but if the characters are popular enough, they may get toys made of them long after their cartoon has ended. That way, Hasbro can rectify the occasional bothersome dissonances between what the toy and the on-show model looked like, ''and'' get more money for themselves.\\\
In fact, the adult ''Transformers'' fandom has embraced this to such an extent, that a number of third party companies exist by producing unofficial Transformers toys. They typically make high quality figures of Generation One characters which Hasbro / Takara (the licence holders) never created, which can retail for up to four times the cost of an official figure of the same size, due to higher production costs and niche market power.
* ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983''. Mattel originally intended the toys as part of a ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' line. However, focus groups determined that an alternative design was more popular with children. These were sold each with its own "mini-comic" to establish the ''Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse'' franchise, and the television series followed a couple of years later, coincidentally throwing out most of the established backstory. The toy-based version of He-Man appeared in a few Creator/DCComics, teaming up with Franchise/{{Superman}}, before getting his own series from Creator/MarvelComics. According to Creator/JMichaelStraczynski, who wrote some of the episodes, ''He-Man'' was the TropeCodifier for the Merchandise-Driven cartoon.
** ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse2002'', was a short-lived attempt at a relatively more serious revival. Despite the show being well-received by fans, it was short-lives largely because of its poorly-executed toy line. (Near non-existent promotion and inconsistent timeslots didn't help, but the flop of the toy line was the killing blow.) Glutting the shelves with virtually nothing but [[TheHero He-Man]] and [[BigBad Skeletor]] (often in the form of ill-conceived variants rather than their usual on-screen outfits to boot) and making it near-impossible to buy any of the supporting heroes and villains turned out to be a poor strategy.
* The ''[[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' cartoon. Interestingly, it was ''originally'' [[ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMirage an indie comic]] created by two guys who were trying to push the genre as far as it would go, in order to make a not-entirely-serious point. Hence Comic Book Raphael calling his 1987 counterparts "sellouts" in ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever''.
** Though it originally didn't start out this way, ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'' wound up falling into this trope by the last few seasons especially with Creator/PlaymatesToys still having a good amount of control on the franchise, particularly with the ''Fast Forward'' and ''Back to the Sewers'' seasons.
** And of course, ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012'' owes a lot to this as well, hence why nearly every episode is a MonsterOfTheWeek one with new mutations, and even ones that aren't usually still involve one - that way there's more monster toys for the kids to buy and pit them against their turtle figures.
* A short-lived British animated series called 'Child's Farm' was made to sell, out of all products, shampoo. Although the shampoo is still being made, it is more popular than the show and so the show was cancelled.
* ''WesternAnimation/JemAndTheHolograms'' existed solely to sell dolls and playsets. The dolls were a hit at first, but as the show gained more fans, sales paradoxically started to wane, so the show was canceled despite the big ratings.
* ''WesternAnimation/JayceAndTheWheeledWarriors'', which was cancelled after the first season because the toys didn't sell well as none the characters were in the Wheeled Warriors toyline. That's why the show has NoEnding--the plot would have been resolved in a [[TheMovie movie]] that died along with the series.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'': The original series didn't start out this way, as the first toyline didn't sell all that well and the network had more faith in ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretSaturdays'' as their toy-selling cash-cow, but then the ''WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce'' line was a much bigger hit, outselling the Power Rangers line, which is a big accomplishment. The third season of ''Alien Force'' and pretty much all of ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien'' and ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'' became much more toyetic as a result.
* ''WesternAnimation/WinkyDink'': You are ''incapable'' of watching the show to its full interactive potential without the kit. Literally.
* The producers of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' later confessed that they were ordered by their bosses to produce this series as simply a means to selling more Batman toys. However, the producers, creators of the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse, worked their talent and created a dynamite television series after all. Ironically you would've been hard pressed to find any ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' toys even when the show was still on the air.
* The same thing occurred with ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'' and its story editor John Semper, who managed to sneak in compelling plot {{Story Arc}}s into the limited animation cartoon, which was specifically supposed to be designed to sell a line of action figures.
* ''WesternAnimation/IronMan'' primarily existed to sell toys, which is why there was such a heavy emphasis on Iron Man's {{Environment Specific A|ctionFigure}}rmors. When the show got cancelled, the remaining toys were {{ReTool}}ed [[DolledUpInstallment and sold as]] ''Spider-Man'' and ''X-Men'' figures.
* ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'', to the point where, because there were [[EnvironmentSpecificActionFigure costumes and accessories]] as well as the Ponies in the toy line, there are entire episodes where the Ponies are dressed as cheerleaders and in bathing suits, apropos of ''nothing''.
** Given the massive PeripheryDemographic for ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', Hasbro has switched gears extremely quickly (by toyline standards), rapidly introducing new/recoloured/retooled ponies and minifigs over the course of 2012. The growing sales can only encourage them. Of course, they still devote entire episodes to toy lines, though they're mostly the season premieres or finales. (''Friendship is Magic'' was technically pitched as a cartoon first, making this an inversion of the usual scenario where the toys and show are pitched at the same time, but ultimately Hasbro still has a large say in what gets into the show.)
** As with ''Transformers'', there are numerous instances of toys being made specifically to appeal to fan demand. In particular, G4 is the first generation of MyLittlePony to release toys based on antagonists; characters like Trixie, Nightmare Moon, and Chrysalis would almost certainly have never gotten toys if not for the fanbase. The most extreme example is probably [[FanNickname Derpy Hooves]], who ended up getting a limited edition Comic-con figure (among other toys and merchandise) despite most of her popularity stemming from the fact that [[MemeticBystander she had a goofy expression in her initial appearance]].
** And then there was ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls Equestria Girls]]'' -- dropping pivotal part of the title (because that worked [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Action_Masters so well last time Hasbro tried that on Transformers]]) solely to create new versions of the characters so Hasbro can have a line of dolls to compete with the trend of fantasy 'alternative' doll lines, such as ''Monster High'' and ''Ever After High'', both being made by Hasbro's rival Mattel. Conversely though, some of the more...shall we say [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement controversial]] plotlines (such as the royal wedding, the aforementioned Equestria Girls, or [[spoiler: alicorn!Twilight]]) have been accused of only existing because of this trope. WebVideo/PoniesTheAnthology 3 even used the former TropeNamer line from Freakazoid to make a joke about it.
*** Starting with the [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsRainbowRocks Rainbow Rocks]] line, the spin off movies started to branch off into its own thing. Sunset Shimmer became the main protagonist for the series and the characters started becoming more developed. [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsFriendshipGames Friendship Games]] was entirely separate from the My Little Pony universe besides the characters and some mentions to Equestria. Equestria Girls had now become its own franchise instead of piggybacking off the original like the first one was. The toyline has naturally gone down the same route the movies have as well, with the dolls becoming a lot less like Monster High and more into its own thing. The Friendship Games dolls, however, did not sell as well as Rainbow Rocks or the first line did, so Hasbro came up with a new idea: [[http://data.mlpmerch.com/equestria-girls/series/equestria-girls-minis/ the Equestria Girls Minis]] were introduced in late 2015 as a separate line to Equestria Girls. It was an overnight hit, selling out on Amazon in ''10 minutes'' and being sold out at numerous retail outlets. It probably has something to do with the fact that these dolls look EXACTLY how the girls appear on the movies and shorts and how adorable they are. [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsLegendofEverfree Legend of Everfree]], the latest line of Equestria Girls dolls doesn't seem to have the promotion that Rainbow Rocks or Friendship Games had as it seems that Hasbro is too busy focusing on the Mini dolls. Only time will tell with how successful it is.
*** As of 2017, the full sized Equestria Girls dolls are completely gone, to the point where on the 2017 lineup of the Equestria Girls Minis packaging it doesn't even have the "Minis" part of the logo, it just has the "Equestria Girls" part of the logo, signifying that THEY are the main line of Equestria Girls. Some fans have speculating the Minis were a plot by Hasbro to slowly soft reboot the line without getting anyone mad. Some fans believe the Minis were purposefully out to sabotage the dolls since the Legend of Everfree dolls were extremely hard to find in stores and the line never even got a commercial. While the movie did well, the toyline did not and it seems the Equestria Girl dolls have bitten the dust.
** Parodied by Mr. Poniator's "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CclzM_Be0Qg What I learned today]]" and "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87PoHcW0hTo What I Learned This Time]]", where the lessons of the season finales and openers of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' are usually variations of "BUY OUR TOYS!"
* Anything having to do with ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' cartoon that came out in the late '80s/early '90s. If anything, the [[http://www.freewebs.com/gbta/rgbtoyline.htm toy lines]] weren't exploited ''enough''. There were still several vehicles and ghosts from the series that [[ToylessToylineCharacter never made it into toy form]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'': There was even a toy that responded to the on screen appearance of the Batwave, which popped up at least OncePerEpisode. Thankfully, it got a lot better with each passing season.
* An excellent example would be the ''WesternAnimation/DinoRiders'' cartoon, designed specifically to sell a line of Tyco dinosaur toys. The Home Video VHS tapes even had commercials during the show.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Bratz}}'' doll line has managed to launch several direct to DVD crapfests and a major motion picture, and a short-lived animated TV series that was actually [[GuiltyPleasure pretty entertaining]].
* {{Franchise/Barbie}} dolls have been the basis for a series of direct-to-DVD (or VHS) films. Because they are based on the idea of Barbie and the rest "playing" characters, each film (including those in the ongoing ''Fairytopia'' series) has its own line of tie-in products. They even sold plush doll of a cat from the Barbie movie "The Prince and the Pauper" that interacted with said film via a special box-like object.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Chaotic}}'': [[http://www.findownersearch.com/chaotic/4314190/ Researching online archives]] suggests that it was ''more'' merchandise-driven before it came to the Americas.
* ''WesternAnimation/StrawberryShortcake''. Cue dolls, houses, makeup.. the whole works.
** Parodied in ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'', with a short-lived character named Tapioca Pudding. Her father is a merchandiser who's determined to license her image on an infinite number of knickknacks, including lunch boxes.
* ''WesternAnimation/RubyGloom'', despite its charm, was created to promote a line of clothing and stationery; given which, you'd think said clothing and stationery would be a lot easier to ''find''.
* ''Franchise/CareBears'': Originally created to appear on greeting cards, according to [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]], it was spun off into a toyline, with the main reason of existence of the cartoons and movies being a shill to market the toys.
* The ''Merrie Melodies'' cartoons were originally designed to promote music owned by Creator/WarnerBros Eventually, however, that distinction was dropped, with the names ''Merrie Melodies'' and ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' basically becoming interchangeable. ''WesternAnimation/ILoveToSinga'', a WholePlotReference to ''Film/TheJazzSinger'' (which starred Al Jolson), was a cartoon made to promote the title song, which was used in a soon-to-released Al Jolson film.
* There was to be an ''[[WesternAnimation/TheIncredibleCrashDummies Incredible Crash Dummies]]'' CGI animated series. The pilot was free with several action figures for sale. Sadly, it never quite took off. Which is a pity, the show was fairly humorous, ProductPlacement aside. And as they were crash dummies, dismemberment was not unheard of, and in fact was quite frequent, showing just how bad a crash could in fact be.
** The toyline originally spun off from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Crash Dummy [=PSA=]s, starring dummies Vince and Larry. They were licensed to Tyco for the toyline, which was initially known as "Vince & Larry, the Crash Dummies", and the packaging included a U.S. Department of Transportaiton trademark for their names (as well as the [=PSA=] slogan, "You could learn a lot from a dummy; buckle your safety belt!"). However, the [=PSA=]s ended up getting pulled for fear of being misconstrued as toy commercials (even though neither the toyline nor Tyco were mentioned). At that time, Tyco rebranded the line as "The Incredible Crash Dummies", and Vince and Larry were replaced with [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute original characters]] Slick and Spin.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Visionaries}}'': The main characters in the show could undergo VoluntaryShapeshifting by projecting an image of their [[AnimalStereotypes totem animal]] from their chest. The action figures had 1980s hologram stickers on their chests where you could sort of make out the animal if you already knew what it was.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers'' was screwed by this trope. Series creator Robert Mandell and crew launched the show first, then planned on negotiating a toy deal, exactly the opposite on how it was done in TheEighties. The show got pretty good ratings, but the more serious tone [[PeripheryDemographic attracted an audience of teenagers and college students]] who were a little old for toy marketing. Because [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff the show was more popular in Europe,]] the toys were released there. However, it was too late by then, as the show was already cancelled.
* Parodied in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'' in which Garfield wakes up in the [[NoFourthWall wrong cartoon]], one with giant robots. At one point, when Garfield is wreaking havoc with the giant robots, one of the robots says "The toy company will not like this."
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Girly Edition" when Bart and Lisa's news show gets canceled in favor of the "Mattel and Mars Bar Quick-Energy Choc-O-Bot Hour", a {{Sentai}} {{Super Robot|Genre}} show designed to sell action figures, chocolate, and "Entertaining Mattel Products" (ironically, said show was mentioned [[BrickJoke in the beginning of the episode]] as being "barely legal"). And again, with Trans-Clown-O-Morphs. In the episode "The Front", an episode of ''Action Figure Man'' titled "How to Buy Action Figure Man" is somehow nominated for a Best Writing award despite being indistinguishable from a toy commercial. Doubly ironically, Mattel was the first company to make ''Simpsons'' toys, making these jokes examples of BitingTheHandHumor.
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyBravo'' with ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNVCnO1D0HU Clam League 9000]]'', a bizarre cross between ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' and ''Manga/DragonBall'' where the main character literally shouts at the viewer to "BUY OUR TOYS!"
* The creators of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' stated that the entire Starro storyline was pushed upon them by Mattel in order to sell toys. The writers were also usually forbidden from doing solo episodes about female heroes, as they did not have figures in the tie-in toyline.
** Lampshaded in-story when ComicBook/BoosterGold sarcastically remarks that "The toy company" won't like the idea of him fighting crime without a costume.
** It also gets parodied in the final episode, "Mitefall!": RealityWarper Bat-Mite tries to make the show [[JumpingTheShark jump the shark]]; one of the things he does is insert obvious toy product placements, such as the "Neon-talking Super-Street Bat Luge".
* Hot Wheels has had three series (''World Race, [=AcceleRacers=], and WesternAnimation/HotWheelsBattleForce5'') under this trope, all in the same overall storyline.
* Very evident in ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersUnitedTheyStand'', where the heroes wore brightly colored, {{Animesque}} battle armor for no apparent reason other than to shill toys.
* In its final season, ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends'' was renamed ''The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians'' in order to tie-in to Kenner's popular ''Super Powers Collection'' line of toys. Accordingly, ComicBook/{{Cyborg}} and ComicBook/{{Firestorm}} were added to the cast due to their prominence in the toy line.
** Averted by the Seventies episodes, however. While there was a line of DC superhero action figures on sale from Mego at the time, the World's Greatest Super Heroes line had its own branding and also included Marvel characters like Spider-Man and the Hulk.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'' did a famous parody of this trope in an episode that showcased the [[CoolCar Freakmobile]], even {{lampshading}} the goings on by using and defining the term "toyetic[[note]]The suitability of a vehicle, character, or franchise to be merchandised as toys[[/note]]" onscreen. Series producer Creator/StevenSpielberg popularized the term "toyetic" after a Kenner Toys executive warned him that ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind'' wasn't suitable for merchandising. Spielberg told the executive to license ''Franchise/StarWars'' instead... However, as toyetic as it was, ''Freakazoid'' never had a toy line.
* Although it never was made, in the early 90s Mattel planned to make a ''Franchise/WonderWoman'' toyline and cartoon. The popularity of ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' in Japan at the time inspired them to create a similar series for America called ''Wonder Woman and the Star Riders''. The series would have been about the exploits of a teenage Wonder Woman as she fought evil alongside four {{Magical Girl}}s. Then suddenly the plan was dropped without a word. The only material that ever reached the public was a tie-in comic DC wrote as part of a promotional deal with Kelloggs.
** While promoting ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries'' at Comic Con, Creator/BruceTimm stated that Franchise/WonderWoman has not yet gotten her own animated show because toy companies shy away from female superheroes, and most modern action cartoons depend on toy sales to make up their budgets.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheOblongs'' spoofed this to hell and back with ''Velva'' (a ShowWithinAShow parody of ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess''), where the characters actually ''pull out the toys during the show'' and use them to diagram a rescue plan.
* The {{Franchise/Nicktoons}} series ''WesternAnimation/{{Zevo 3}}'', as the show's shoe-themed superhero premise arises from a series of Sketchers commercials. It got to the point that parent groups tried to have the show taken off the air for what they viewed as such blatant marketing towards children. Despite this, however, the shoes were rarely, if ever, mentioned in the show itself; instead, it focused on telling an actual story, hinting at darker plots and a vast conspiracy.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Robotix}}''. Strangely, the animated series entry on Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} is many times bigger than the toyline entry, while in other countries (such as France) the animated series is totally unknown (while the toyline is merely "obscure").
* ''Candyland''
* ''Pound Puppies''. [[WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies1980s The version from the 1980s]] is more prominent in peoples minds, though [[WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies2010 the newer version]] has toys as well.
* ''WesternAnimation/LittlestPetShop1995''
* ''WesternAnimation/LittlestPetShop2012''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheWuzzles''
* ''WesternAnimation/SkyDancers''and its SpearCounterpart, ''WesternAnimation/DragonFlyz''.
* When you get down to it ''WesternAnimation/CaptainNTheGameMaster'' was more or less a vehicle for advertising NES and Game Boy games, even though the show rarely portrayed the games accurately. Frequently they would actually name the game world after the game it came from, even when that was very wrong, (e.g., apparently ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' is a place instead of a energy sucking jellyfish creature,) possibly just for the sake of this trope.
* ''WesternAnimation/StreetSharks'', plus being a (good-hearted) ripoff of a few then-popular cartoons.
* In an inversion, the series ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats1985'' was created before the toy line but due to issues wasn't aired until after the first wave of toys were released.
* Sadly not the case with ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011'', which is officially "in the air" because while the show was massively popular, the toys didn't sell as well as expected.
* This was also the reason ''WesternAnimation/SymBionicTitan'' was cancelled as Creator/CartoonNetwork were trying to get a toy deal for it. No company was willing however and they pulled the plug on the show despite a small dedicated fan base, a growing story arc and none of the loose ends being tied up due to a dispute between Creator/CartoonNetwork and Creator/GenndyTartakovsky as the former wanted the latter to ''retool the show into being more toyetic'' like ''Franchise/{{Ben 10}}'', so they could get those toy deals. Why it was so hard to get a toy deal for a series based around HumongousMecha fighting {{Kaiju}} is anyone's guess.
* ''WesternAnimation/MightyMax'' (which you could say was the SpearCounterpart of ''Toys/PollyPocket'') was of course made for this reason.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Popples}}''. Heck, there's a website [[http://www.80stoysale.com/popples.html listing every piece of Popples merchandise ever!]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{MASK}}'', which was created to sell a toyline of the same name by Kenner, which combined elements of the aforementioned Transformers and G.I. Joe.
* In the early 1960s, many tv cartoon shows were tied in with a cereal company sponsor (Jay Ward with General Mills, Creator/HannaBarbera with Kellogg's, WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes with Post), often with said characters in cereal ads and on boxes. Post then had new mascots created for their cereals, and they all became characters on the ''Linus the Lion-Hearted'' show. This proved too much of a blur between programming and commercials to regulators, and the show was canned. The only current remnant of the series is Sugar Bear for Sugar/Super/Golden Crisps.
* ''WesternAnimation/RescueHeroes'', both the show and the accompanying Creator/FisherPrice toyline.
* One of the chief complaints about ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan'' was that the toy promotion was obvious and sometimes illogical (such as the Spider-Cycle). It proved successful enough for Disney and Creator/{{Hasbro}} that the show ran for four seasons.
* While not as blatant or illogical as the ''United They Stand'' or ''Ultimate Spider-Man'' examples, ''WesternAnimation/AvengersAssemble'' has the Aven-Jet Prime, a massive, transforming [[ConspicuousCGI CGI]] [[CoolAirship airship]]. Especially notable since it replaces the Quinjet, the Avengers' comparatively BoringButPractical plane from the comics (and the beloved but less toyetic ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' that ''Assemble'' replaced).
* Creator/BruceTimm attributed the failure of ''[[WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries Green Lantern: The Animated Series]]'' to the lack of merchandise. Apparently a toy line for the show was in the works, but retailers scoffed at it due to the poor performance of the toy line from the live-action ''Film/GreenLantern'' movie, seemingly unaware that this was because [[BoxOfficeBomb no one liked the movie]].
* Several Franchise/{{LEGO}} series have been the subject of such cartoons.
** ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' had several DirectToVideo (later DVD) movies, and the later ''Toys/HeroFactory'' got a TV series on Nicktoons.
** Creator/CartoonNetwork had a TV show based on the ''WesternAnimation/{{Ninjago}}'' line, likewise for its SpiritualSuccessor, ''WesternAnimation/LegendsOfChima''. Ninjago is actually so story-driven that a large portion of fans consider it the successor to ''Bionicle''. Which, seeing as ''Bionicle'' was featured in about half the possible media types and every type of merchandise, says a lot about it.
** Meanwhile, ''WesternAnimation/{{Mixels}}'' is a direct collaboration between Cartoon Network and LEGO, with LEGO handling the toy portion and CN the shorts.
* ''Franchise/SylvanianFamilies''. It's hard to imagine any reason beyond advertising the toys, that this was given an animated show.
* ''WesternAnimation/MickeyMouseClubhouse''
* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'', like its sister show ''Green Lantern'', was formerly canceled due to the toy line selling poorly (the fact that the toys were low-quality compared to Mattel's other DC-based toys is another story entirely). The toy line was itself canceled before the second season aired but after they displayed prototypes and box art of Comicbook/{{Batgirl}}, ComicBook/BlueBeetle, and others. Ironically, the second (and [[UnCanceled for a time final]]) season added a few dozen marketable characters.
* Parodied on the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "Futurama and Friends Saturday Morning Fun Pit" with ''Purpleberry Pond'', a ''WesternAnimation/StrawberryShortcake'' spoof interrupted by ads for Purpleberry Cereal. At one point the show itself becomes a commercial.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Chuggington}}'' in '''''SPADES.''''' Even the buildings' architecture (especially in the first 3 seasons) feel like they were built to be toys!
* The entire point of ''WesternAnimation/JingleAllTheWay'' and its sequel is to tug your heartstrings hard enough so you'll end up buying more Jingle and Bell stuff from Hallmark. Not to mention that the special will require you to own a version 2 Jingle Interactive Story Buddy for the full experience (see, the toy ''responds'' to the dialog and narration in the special). The sequel to the special ups the requirements to ''both'' a version 2 Jingle and version 2 Bell.
* The concept of dinosaurs crossed with construction vehicles seemed so lucrative, Creator/DreamWorksAnimation picked up the license for ''WesternAnimation/{{Dinotrux}}'' before the first book was even published and started taking pre-orders for the toyline the day the show premiered.
* '' WesternAnimation/Super4'' is based on the Franchise/{{Playmobil}} toyline. A series of toys based on the characters was later released to little fanfare.
* This seems to be the ''main'' reason for ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls2016'', as they made the toys ''months'' before the show even aired.
* ''WesternAnimation/Ben102016'' appears to be even more toyetic than its previous series, especially with its redesigns of Stinkfly and Wildvine to look like superheros in costumes rather than a huge bug and a PlantPerson.
* While ''WesternAnimation/{{Pocoyo}}'' wasn't going to be this at first, ExecutiveMeddling [[https://web.archive.org/web/20060629055607/http://commercialfreechildhood.org:80/news/totstvtoys.htm caused some changes to be made]] in order to help sell toys, such as removing the titular character's pacifier, changing the appearances of Pato and Ellie, and the introduction of a vehicle called the Vamoosh.
-->''[[WebAnimation/CheatCommandos Buy all our playsets and toooooooooys!]]''