Max: It's only Powerline, dad. The biggest rock star on the planet.Pop-Culture Isolation is basically a case of pop-culture myopia of sorts, where celebrities, music genres, media or events are huge and significant in one subculture or ethnic group, but elsewhere nobody knows they exists or is indifferent to them altogether. We're not talking about separate countries here, but within the same country or region. A lot of this is especially prevalent in entertainment media, affecting music in particular (radio is usually fingered as being the main cause, as it was and still is very isolated in terms of programming and format, leading to accusations of segregation). Let's face it, there are cultural barriers, and people thrive in their own microcosm. Another likely reason for this is because mainstream media is so homogenized and is prone to favoring monochrome pop culture that other cultures start their own pop-culture media outlets. That fuels this trope even further for better or for worse. This isolation of pop culture can lead to such ignorance as Cowboy BeBop at His Computer. It's even possible for this trope to happen within the same culture. This, in turn, resulted in a pop cultural Broken Base or Fandom Rivalry. Hip-Hop is a good example of this (see Hip-Hop's Broken Base entry). This trope possibly could lead to Monochrome Casting. Expecting Pop-Culture Isolation not to be an issue is a sure way to incur Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure. Can also result in people outside the subculture experiencing Informed Real Life Fame. For some people with a certain ideology, however, Pop Cultural Isolation may be seen as a good thing. Contrast Small Reference Pools, and Pop-Cultural Osmosis. May lead to Germans Love David Hasselhoff or Americans Hate Tingle. Could also overlap with Critical Dissonance. This trope along with Public Medium Ignorance goes together like peanut butter & jelly. This often is the cause of Minority Show Ghetto. Compare with Fan Myopia, which is when the fans of a particular form of pop culture believe it to be far more well-known amongst the general public than it actually is. By the way, did you know there are people and places out there who discuss and list the tools of storytelling but have almost no knowledge of wiki editing or TV Tropes? It's very true. Do you know about them? Probably not.
Goofy: Ohh, not bigger than Xavier Cugat, the Mambo King! Everybody mambo!
Goofy: Ohh, not bigger than Xavier Cugat, the Mambo King! Everybody mambo!
— A Goofy Movie (1995)
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Anime & Manga
- A good deal of Anime and Manga, outside Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Speed Racer and the like, is not well known outside the fanbase. Just see the Trope Namer for Cowboy BeBop at His Computer for a specific example. It's certainly not helped by the Animation Age Ghetto and the stereotype that anime is misogynist, tentacle-obsessed trash. (The obvious inconsistency of these two stereotypes doesn't seem to matter.)
- The Super Robot genre is popular among anime fans, but is fairly obscure outside of those circles. If giant robots are mentioned by people outside the anime fandom, they'll usually be referring to the Transformers Film Series, the Megazord from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, or Pacific Rim.
- This even shows up within manga fandom itself. Creators like Naoki Urasawa and Fumi Yoshinaga (of Antique Bakery fame) have multiple series published in the US, constantly appear on "best of" lists, and have won tons of awards - yet are virtually unknown outside of the "grown-up comic fans" circle.
- Norio Wakamoto, Rie Kugimiya, Jun Fukuyama, Kanae Ito, and many other popular Japanese voice actors definitely qualify. Mention the name "Norio Wakamoto" to any random passerby. The chances of it even threatening to switch on a light bulb are low indeed. Even within anime fandom, if a fan primarily watches anime dubbed and/or doesn't interact with fans who concern themselves with the voice actors on the regular basis, it's not unlikely for them to not be familiar with even the biggest names in the anime Japanese voice acting circle. Likewise with dub voice actors and anime fans who don't watch dubs. Most of them know Steve Blum and Crispin Freeman, but when you move beyond that, you're likely evoke a "Who?" response.
- Gon is already an obscure manga character in Japan, but few people in America known him for anything more than being in Tekken 3.
- Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, X-Men (at least Wolverine and possibly Cyclops and Storm), Aquaman, The Flash, Iron Man, Captain America, The Mighty Thor, and Incredible Hulk are the only superhero exceptions to this trope. Even then, the only of their supporting cast to be generally known by people are The Joker, Lois Lane, and possibly Lex Luthor and Catwoman. J. Jonah Jameson may have crossed the threshold as well, helped by J. K. Simmons' performance in the Spider-Man Trilogy.
- Female and black superheroes are a big victim of this trope. Whenever a new (or newly popular) black or female character is mentioned in a news story (especially when the entire point of the story is that most superheroes are white men, such as when a paper interviews a local artist who's just getting into the industry, almost always involving a quote along the lines of "reading comics as a kid, I always wondered why there weren't more characters who looked like me") the article will act as if there are, at most, three black superheroes (the average non-comic-reader might recognise Storm, Luke Cage and Black Panther, and John Stewart if they grew up in the nineties) and no superheroines except Wonder Woman. It's the same with gay and lesbian characters, except worse, because trying to discuss gay or lesbian superheroes often seems to attract homophobic trolls, plus there's still the assumption that only kids read comic books. Anytime an article in mainstream media talks about a gay or lesbian superhero, you can expect to see a shitload of comments about the "gay agenda" or "gays forcing acceptance down children's throats"...
- Speaking of the assumption that comic books are for kids, whenever a comic that is specifically not kid-friendly gets adapted into a movie, such as The Crow, Watchmen, or Deadpool, you're definitely going to hear stories of unsuspecting parents bringing their kids to see it (despite the R-rating!) and then being shocked and appalled when an R-rated movie based on comics meant for adults is filled with graphic violence and sex. In fact, the creators of Deadpool outright predicted this and warned those unknowing parents "don't bring the kids" right in the trailers - not that this kept them from doing it anyway, of course. Even reviewers get in on this at times. One reviewer of Watchmen spent most of the review lamenting that we were now marketing extreme violence and adult content to children. When tons of readers commented that the movie and comic both were meant for adults, the reviewer stood by her words, stating that the existence of Watchmen action figures proved this movie was meant for children. Evidently she had no clue that nerd culture includes grown men and women collecting action figures and that there are many lines of action figures marketed exclusively to adults.
- Ask anyone outside of comics fandom to name a comic book writer, and you'll probably get a mention of Stan Lee (his legendary cameos in Marvel superhero movies probably help). Maybe Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman as well, if they're a certain sort of literary. Any other name will be met with a resounding "who?", no matter how popular or prolific they are within the comics industry.
- Underground Comics: Massively influential in the 1960s and 1970s, read by many young people and graphic artists. Yet to the general public the genre literally is "underground", because they are hardly aware of any titles or artists existing, or if they happened to read one in a store they assume it's all Porn Without Plot. The only artist to get some kind of notoriety in the mainstream is Robert Crumb, yet most people only know him for Fritz the Cat.
- Many European comic strips are well-known in Europe and nowhere else. Ask a typical American citizen about The Smurfs, and they'll probably know what you're talking about, if only because of the cartoon, but Johann And Peewit will probably draw blank stares (unless they've seen the episodes of the show featuring them). Some may have heard of Tintin. A small handful might know about Asterix & Obelix. Anything else might as well not exist.
- As strange as it may sound today, Disney fell victim to this trope for a very long time within the United States. While the studio was always massively popular from Chicago (Walt Disney's birthplace, though he preferred to think of Marceline, Missouri note as his true hometown) to the west coast (especially in California), everywhere east of Chicago its reception was a bit more lukewarm. Film critics considered the studio's output kitschy at best, and people used the term "Mickey Mouse" to refer to something poorly constructed or put together. The main reason for the Disney attractions at the 1964 New York World's Fair was for Walt Disney to prove to his studio that there was a market for Disney on the east coast, an experiment which proved successful and ultimately culminated in the opening of Disney World in central Florida in 1971; but even then, they didn't really gain the reputation they have today until the late 1980s/early 1990s.
- The "proof in the pudding" example of this that really forced the studio to make a push eastward was probably the 1984 corporate leadership change that saw three outside studio executives take control of the company. While new president Frank Wells was a California native who was very familiar with Disney, the two New York City natives were not: new studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg's knowledge of Disney came from seeing Pinocchio once when he was a kid, while new CEO Michael Eisner had never seen any Disney film growing up, which led to some serious culture clashes (particularly on Katzenberg's end) in the first few years with the California-based creatives that Wells often had to mediate.
- Despite being one of the biggest Broadway stars in history, Idina Menzel is known to the mainstream for one role: Queen Elsa from Frozen. It reached memetic levels when John Travolta bizarrely butchered her name into "Adele Dazeem" at the 2014 Oscars.
- Almost anything related to the Disney Theme Parks are going to be confined to that particular fandom compared to the movies and television shows, which due to their relative ubiquity and more easily accessible mediums can reach a far larger number of people. This is true even within the larger Disney fandom - while names like Jack Wagner, Peter Renaday and Wally Boag are revered by a particular segment of the fanbase, other Disney fans may be hard-pressed to have heard of them.
- There's a whole subculture dedicated to this. But it's only popular with the geek side of the Internet.
- Boyz n the Hood: Which this trope was inversely lampshaded in the film it self by the character Doughboy (quoted above).
- Fear of a Black Hat, contrasted with This Is Spinal Tap (which can also fit)
- In an inversion, Australian film critic David Stratton seems to be quite isolated from other forms of media - in his review of The Simpsons Movie he said he had never watched The Simpsons, in his review of Bee Movie he admitted to never having watched Seinfeld, and he also said he had never read the book Where the Wild Things Are in his review of that movie. Some critics and pundits would argue that such a stance is actually for the best, as it ensures that reviewers will remain unprejudiced toward the film content and avoid Hype Backlash and / or They Changed It, Now It Sucks. One theatre critic, for example, had never seen any incarnation of West Side Story prior to attending a Broadway revival of it; with this fresh and unjaded perspective, the reviewer was able to honestly (if kindly) evaluate the play's objective worth and point out any flaws it had. (After all, a worshipful attitude often indicates just as much bias as an unreasonably hateful one.)
- The popularity of several cult actors. But in certain circles they're as popular as Tom Cruise and Will Smith. A few Examples are....
- Bruce Campbell, usually a bit actor in mainstream works, is a living legend in B-Movie circles.
- Tony Todd
- Michael Jai White
- Tiffany Shepis
- Julie Strain: Basically a female Bruce Campbell.
- Jeffrey Combs
- Sybil Danning
- Debbie Rochon
- Summer Glau (arguably anyone who was in Firefly/Serenity aside from Nathan Fillion)
- Asia Argento
- Tom Savini
- Beverly Lynne
- Don Wilson
- Christine Nguyen
- Shannon Tweed
- Kane Hodder
- Misty Mundae
- Lance Henriksen
- Shannon Whirry
- Brad Dourif
- Cynthia Rothrock
- Tane McClure
- Also true about many African-American actors, such as Mo'Nique, Loretta Devine, Angela Bassett, Boris Kodjoe, Jill Scott, Tracee Ellis Ross, Meagan Good, the list goes on. Often when African-American actors have a movie that is a crossover hit, that movie will be treated as their first by mainstream media. Hilariously demonstrated by Fox News when LL Cool J demanded to have a pre-recorded interview dropped out of a program hosted by Sarah Palin. In an apparent Take That!, one of the network anchors, referencing his role in the popular NCIS: Los Angeles, probably the only time most of the Fox News main demographic would have ever seen him acting, said there was no hard feelings and wished him well "in his fledgling acting career". LL Cool J had, at that point, been acting in film and TV for nearly a quarter of a century.
- In the days of drive-ins and regional film distributors, it was possible for a filmmaker to be successful making movies that did good business in one region of the United States, but were almost completely unknown elsewhere. The North Carolina-based Earl Owensby, aka "The Redneck Roger Corman," is but one example.
- The financial success of Tyler Perry's movies, particularly Diary of a Mad Black Woman, seemed to catch the mainstream media off guard. Perry had been currying good favor with black audiences through his plays for the better part of a decade, but the white American majority was ignorant of his existence until Madea hit the mainstream. The audience for Perry's films are usually black women, a demographic that is either virtually ignored by mainstream films or relegated to a supporting "sassy friend" sidekick for the star. The fact that black woman might want to watch movies where people who look like them want to find some fulfillment out of life besides following their white friends around and supporting them seems have found voice in Perry's works.
- nollywood (the Nigerian film industry), despite being the 2nd largest film industry in the world (behind Bollywood), is pretty much only known among Africans, or maybe West Indian people if you're lucky.
- Bollywood itself is almost unknown to Western audiences, despite being the largest film industry in the world.
- Discussed in Smokey and the Bandit, when Carrie mentions that Bandit doesn't know much about the theater or any of the things she's interested in and Bandit comes back by saying that she doesn't know anything about people like Richard Petty or Waylon Jennings. "When you tell somebody somethin', it depends on what part of the United States you're standin' in as to just how dumb you are."
- Priyanka Chopra is one of the top actresses in Bollywood and Miss World 2000. In the US, she's probably best known as the singer of the NFL Thursday Night Football theme song, "In My City" or as the star of Quantico.
- Pre-1968 pornographic films are poorly known for a very good reason: no self-respecting theater owner of the era would have been caught dead showing one, and they tended to be screened only in underground, male-only venues. The only chance one of these vintage porn films had of gaining true notoriety was if a major celebrity did a cameo in it (which most were not willing to do, although it did happen once in a while). This is touched upon in Ed Wood: Ed wants to cast Bela Lugosi in his transvestite film Glen or Glenda? because he figures that a star cameo is the only hope his sleazy film has of going mainstream.
- Many of the adult actors in the Harry Potter films are known to younger non-UK/Irish audiences only for their role in the series. Examples include Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, Zoe Wanamaker, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Ian Hart, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, Miranda Richardson, Adrian Rawlins, Geraldine Somerville, and Robert Hardy. However, they have all been highly prolific stars back home. The ones who avert this include Alan Rickman (somewhat), Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Warwick Davis, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Bill Nighy. And then you have "two-hit wonders" like Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey) and David Bradley (Game of Thrones), or actors now known for a different role entirely, like David Tennant (Doctor Who) and Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones).
- The only film of Gene Wilder's that many younger people will be able to name is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. In fact, it was one of his less successful box office hits back in the day.
- Nosferatu is much less known nowadays for being a German Expressionist horror classic than it is for the ending gag in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Graveyard Shift".
Food and Drink
- What North America and the United Kingdom consider "Italian cuisine" are only found in the Northern regions, like Tuscany and Emilio-Romagna (except for pizza, which is Sicilian/Campanian). The middle and Southern regions, along with the furthest Northern ones, are entirely different (Sicily, for example, is heavily based around fresh Mediterranean vegetables, nuts and fish.) Some areas don't use tomatoes much, if at all.
- Differences in vocabulary and terminology don't help, either. For instance, what European Italian cusine generally knows as involtini are bracioles to North American Italians. This has caused trans-Atlantic confusion.
- Certain soft drinks are only popular in certain regions of the United States:
- Faygo is mostly found in the Midwest USA, specifically around Detroit. It is also a Trademark Favorite Food of Juggalos.
- Vernors ginger ale was originally tied to Detroit as well, but it is now nationally distributed by Dr Pepper/Snapple. However, about 80% of Vernors sales are still in Michigan.
- Green River sodas are only found in the area around Chicago.
- Grapico, a very popular grape soda is primarily found in Alabama and surrounding states.
- Likewise with Buffalo Rock, a VERY strong ginger ale that's considerably more popular than Canada Dry.
- Nehi is typically limited to the South of the country.
- While popular in Mexico, Jarritos and sister brand Sangria Señorial are typically found only in the U.S. in areas with prominent Mexican populations.
- Sprecher Brewery of Wisconsin makes root beer and other gourmet soft drinks. While the root beer and cream soda can be found in "normal" grocery stores in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, all of their flavors are typically limited to speciality grocery stores elsewhere.
- Briefly averted with Big Red, a Texas-based red cream soda that enjoyed a minor surge in popularity in other states during the first years of the 21st century.
- RC Cola is available worldwide but is massively popular in the American South, where, paired with regional favorite snack food Moon Pies, formed the "working man's lunch."
- A double-subversion: Cracker Barrel stores often stock pop brands normally found only in the South, such as Cheerwine, Dr. Enuf, etc. However, the chain is all but non-existent on the west coast.
- Moxie is virtually unknown outside of New England...although these days, it's hardly popular; it's one of those Love It or Hate It kind of things.
- If you live in Buffalo, you may well love and can name several brands of loganberry juice. If you live anywhere else, you may never have heard of it.
- Ale-8-One is a popular ginger ale soft drink in Kentucky (especially near the town of Wincester where it is bottled), but it is practically unheard of elsewhere. Distribution only expanded to include southern Ohio and Indiana in 2001 according to The Other Wiki, and it may only be sporadically available in other parts of the South-East.
- Cactus Cooler, a pineapple-orange soda pop, can be found almost anywhere nonalcoholic beverages are sold in Los Angeles County, and every Angeleno knows what it is, but it becomes incredibly rare if you travel so much as 10 miles away from the county line.
- Rivella, Switzerland's national soft drink, is practically impossible to find outside the country.
- In Scotland, Irn Bru is the most popular fizzy beverage, being one of only a handful of countries that doesn't have Coca Cola in the top spot. While it's possible to get it in the rest of the UK, it often gets more obscure the further south you go, and once you're out of the British Isles, it's likely no one will know what you're talking about.
- Outside of Alaska and Hawaii, SPAM luncheon meat is only popular among blue collar and low income families. The same could be said for things like Potted Meat, and Vienna Sausages.
- Kool-Aid, similarly could be considered a blue-collar-specific beverage. Which would be ironic, since it was first marketed to middle-class people.
- Blue Moon ice cream is popular in the Great Lakes states (most notably Michigan and Wisconsin), but is virtually unknown anywhere else. This is complicated by the fact that what exactly Blue Moon tastes like is almost as unique as the vendor who sells it, with flavors ranging from almond to spices to cola (although ironically Word of God says "true" Blue Moon is NOT "tutti-frutti" or blue raspberry). And in Oklahoma and Texas (and possibly other states in the same geographical area), Blue Bell ice cream attracts a fervent following not understood by anyone outside of the area that Blue Bell serves. This is purely the company's intent, though; the higher-ups wanted to make sure the ice cream was as fresh as possible, so have never really thought of expanding nationwide.
- And speaking of Texas, the Whataburger fast food chain attracts an almost scarily devout clientèle of people who simply cannot get enough of their food, particularly their burgers and chicken sandwiches. In Texas, unless you're a vegetarian, you'll have your favorite Whataburger menu item, whether it be one of their specialty sandwiches (such as the A1 Thick & Hearty Burger or the Monterey Melt) or a specific way you order your regular Whataburger (e.g. a bacon cheeseburger with mayo and mustard [the default condiment is mustard], no onions, extra pickles, and on Texas toast [instead of a regular bun]).
- Caviar. Admit it: unless you were reared in an old-money family or are from Russia, Central Europe or environs, you spent practically all of your childhood completely in the dark about what that was. (For the record, the top brands of caviar are made from salted and pressed sturgeon roe, generally harvested from the Caspian and Black Seas, and are stupidly expensive and usually only available from luxury goods shops. In Western Europe there are cheaper brands available, made from things like lumpfish and salmon roe, which you can buy in supermarkets.)
- Eagle Brand baby formula and dehydrated milk products are so ubiquitous on certain Southwestern US Indian reservations that they're mentioned by name in the phrasebook at the back of the best-selling Navajo dictionary. Almost nobody not from one of those Indian reservations, or near them, has even heard of it.
- Very few people outside Michigan will know what a "coney dog" is. But if you live in Michigan, particularly around Flint or Detroit, the "coney island" restaurants that serve them are everywhere.
- Also speaking of Michigan, the Upper Peninsula (UP) offers the pasty (pronounced "PASS-tee", not "paste-y"), a pie stuffed with meat and vegetables. They were brought by migrants from Cornwall in the late 1800s, who went to work in the region's then-numerous copper mines, and they remain a part of UP culture to this day. Show the word to anyone else, though, and you might get "Oh, isn't that a thing that strippers wear?" Pasties are still very popular throughout Britain, with various bakery chains that sell them as a popular street snack food. In fact, there was even a minor, unpopular political policy (a 5p tax on shops selling 'food above room temperature) that got nicknamed "the Pasty Tax".
- A similar thing happens in South Australia, for similar reasons (only the copper mines were a few decades earlier). Expect every bakery in the state to sell a range of pasties alongside the nationwide favourites of meat pies and sausage rolls; elsewhere in Australia, they're practically nonexistent.
- Ask anyone who has never lived in the Delaware Valley/Greater Philadelphia Area what a Wawa convenience store is. Be expected to be met with blank stares. (They also have locations in New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, but these are largely localized to areas with lots of Philly transplants.)
- In the Southeast, shopping malls often have a cafeteria-style restaurant in them, such as Piccadilly or K & W, alongside or in place of a food court. Such chains sometimes have standalone cafeterias, too. Elsewhere, the cafeteria chains are almost entirely unheard of (barring a handful of MCL Cafeterias in Indiana), and can come across as strange to those expecting a more conventional restaurant in a mall.
- Chinese food. Much of what you find on the menu at a typical take-out, like General Tso's chicken, pork fried rice, chow mein, sweet & sour chicken, etc., are purely American inventions. Chinese expatriates more or less refer to American-Chinese cuisine as essentially a lie. Pinpointing what could be considered Chinese food would be a problem as it's extremely diverse, to the point that no two households are likely to share the same tastes.
- Hilariously, "Chinese"-food restaurants are starting to open in China, mostly because tourists who travel to China expect "Chinese" food. Reality Is Unrealistic, indeed.
- Dim sim (Not to be confused with Dim sum) is Chinese-inspired, but is actually Australian. However, many assume that they are completely Chinese.
- Italian Beef sandwiches (also known as "beef sandwiches" or even just "beef") are virtually unknown outside of the Chicagoland area, where they are wildly popular. To the point that some stands will specialize in beef sandwiches (or make only beef), and can even be found in the deli section of local stores. Portillo's (a fast food restaurant chain that sells beef sandwiches alongside hamburgers and hot dogs) has opened franchises in California, but they still remain obscure outside of a very small section of the Midwest.
- On a related note, loose-meat sandwiches (often called "Maid-Rites") are extremely popular and prevalent in parts of the Midwest, but virtually unknown outside it (or confused with Sloppy Joes).
- Tim Hortons. Their coffee and donuts are one of the quintessential parts of Canadian culture, and are present in mostly northern US states but outside of that? Very little name value.
- The Australian LAMINGTON - a cube of spongecake, covered in chocolate or chocolate icing, and sprinkled with coconut -seems to be unknown outside its nation of origin. Aussies might say that's the rest of the world's loss!
- Phenomena: is quite a big hit in Norway with the books often sold out in bookstores and the board game is completely out of stock. It has been translated to only a few languages, making it very little known about with other people around the world.
- Zane novels, black erotic literature, probably count.
- You probably know the Cthulhu Mythos. You probably also know who H.P. Lovecraft is. But do you know the names of Jim Turner, Robert Bloch, or Robert M. Price? No, Lovecraft didn't write all the Mythos. It's actually sort of like Star Wars Expanded Universe. Moreover, could you name any of the actual works of the Mythos? Probably Call of Cthulhu or if you're really in the know, At the Mountains of Madness may ring a bell. Same goes for any deities other than Cthulhu like Yog-Sothoth, Azazoth, or Nyarlathotep.
- Young adult literature, obviously. Because these novels and short stories are read neither by single, middle-aged or elderly adults (unlike generally "serious" fiction, which is acknowledged by critics and the media) nor by young parents with prepubescent children (as is Dr. Seuss, etc.), they are relegated to the readership of adolescents and tweens, whom mainstream culture tends to ignore except as a marketing demographic (and today's businesspeople are not trying to sell a lot of books). Go ahead: ask your typical fiftysomething Baby Boomer who Wilson Rawls was; they probably won't remember, if they ever knew about him to begin with. Some series, such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, do manage to "cross over" and become popular with audiences outside their intended 12-19 year old demographic.
- Same thing could be said for Speculative Fiction (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror). This also swerve into Sci Fi Ghetto territory as well. For Sci-Fi, the Big Three of Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke are most likely to be known, at least in regards to their most famous works. Fantasy writers are limited to J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling, and then only as the authors of The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and Harry Potter, respectively. George R.R. Martin is starting to become this as well; see his entry below. The only well-known modern Horror writer is Stephen King, and most of his best known works are better-known through film.
- In-Universe example meets Truth in Television in Jorge Luis Borges short story "Averroe's Search" : Averroes, a philosopher confined to the Islamic orb, never could understand the terms Tragedy and Comedy.
- It's amazing how many people appear not to have heard of Terry Pratchett, even though he is the second most-read author in the UK, and the seventh most-read author in the USA, across all genres. One newspaper interview lampshaded this with the introductory paragraphs including the line "Terry Pratchett, for those of you still pretending to have no idea who I'm talking about, is..."
- In Murderess, when Lu crosses over to Greywall’d, she enters an inn and tries to order hot cocoa. The owner’s son is bewildered, as cocoa doesn’t exist there.
- George R.R. Martin, best known as the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire, is another example. He and his series are household names amongst fantasy book fans, but to mainstream audiences the franchise is only known for serving as the source material for its far more famous TV adaptation Game of Thrones. Not only are these audiences probably unaware he's written anything else, most of them didn't even know of the series', or his, existence until after the show became a hit — or, for that matter, the fact that the book series is called A Song of Ice and Fire and not Game of Thrones (the first book in the series is called A Game of Thrones).
Live Action TV
- The Game is one of the most, if not the most, popular drama/comedies in the black community. Most white people aren't even aware the show exists. The show is now on BET but even when it was on CW, it never really found a strong white audience.
- George Lopez and Chris Rock are interesting examples since before they had their own self titled sitcoms they were well known, but they weren't well liked by anyone outside of their targeted demographics.
- Steve Harvey is a very popular comedian in the black community, but outside of it, he's mostly known for being the guy who screwed up the announcement of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant winner. This is arguably true of most Black comedians before they land a sitcom deal, or hell, any comedian since they tend to only be popular within a certain niche (women, college students, blacks, Latinos, Asians, other ethnicities, etc.)
- The Cosby Show subverted this; on the other hand, it was Bill Cosby's intention.
- Roseanne contrasted with The Cosby Show, not in terms of race, but class. In fact, you could swap out Roseanne for Good Times and get the same results.
- MTV was also the cause of a lot of this, so much so that MTV refused to acknowledge that 90% of the songs on the chart were by black singers and kept trying to push a next Big White Hope like Winger or Warrant. There was such an embarrassing disconnect between their Top 20 played videos and the Billboard charts back then. David Bowie awesomely called them out for it during a interview with the network. They eventually caved in with the meteoric rise of Michael Jackson though. The '90s version of MTV subverted this trope, though, by basically not putting music in a box or programming block (Yo! MTV Raps, 120 Minutes, and Headbanger's Ball being the exceptions). On the other hand, this might be why they started putting music in a programming block and eventually stopped showing vids all together circa the early 00's. Simply put, nobody was gonna wade through rap vids to see a rock vid or vice versa.
- The popularity of Martin. VH-1's I Love the '90s actually brought up that the show was virtually unknown to white viewers, in part because it was scheduled against Seinfeld.
- Similarly, Living Single contrasted with Friends, some even going as far as to say the latter ripped off the former or at least inspired by it.
- According to VH-1 Classic, New Wave and Hair Metal were the only music genres in The '80s. Care about college rock or old school hip hop? Hope you're willing to stay up until 3:30AM! VH1 Classic's That Metal Show definitely seems to have a bias towards hard rock and heavy metal bands from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Interviews with metal musicians from more recent bands are few and far between.
- Doctor Who provides an age-gap version of this trope all by itself; there are passionate fans of the series who either had (or continue to have) no idea that there was a show before 2005 and / or have no interest in watching any of the old series.
- As surprising as it may seem on the Internet, there are other TV shows beside Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Sherlock and Supernatural. There are still lots of people who don't subscribe to premium cable channels or subscribe to cable at all. And who presumably do not illegally download them.
- In-show example: in the BBC documentary Deborah 13 Servant of God (about a young girl from a fundamentalist Christian family who was very zealous in her faith) there was one point where she is asked if she'd ever heard of the likes of Britney Spears- and being not immersed in popular culture like most teenage girls (having no television, being homeschooled etc.) she didn't. In response, however, she asked if most people knew who a certain (fairly obscure) Biblical character was.
- Arguably one factor counting for the success of The Arsenio Hall Show in The '90s was the fact that he, being a hip, younger, black late night talk show host in a field mostly populated with older white hosts and audiences, booked celebrities, politicians, music acts, activists, etc. (particularly those who catered to urban audiences or were in an ethnic or sexual minority) that his competition would rarely to never touch, while still being mainstream enough to appeal to a mass audience. Ultimately this would help Arkansas governor Bill Clinton reach audiences he likely would never reach on other talk shows, which would help him get elected in 1992.
- Christian-themed television shows can be slightly puzzling to non-Christian viewers. Touched by an Angel is probably the most prominent example of this; it lasted for 9 seasons mostly off the backs of its devoutly Christian audience.
- Almost Live! was a Long Runner in Seattle and a television icon. MADtv was not even going to be shown in Seattle because the local FOX affiliate didn't think the show could stand against it. Even now, you could probably get half of the city to give up coffee for a month to get a box set note . When Comedy Central picked it up during the Nineties, during the world's grunge-induced fascination for all things Seattle, it crashed and burned hard because much of the humor was based on local-area customs and stereotypes. It was still a great springboard for Bill Nye the Science Guy, however.
- An interesting example of Genre overlapping with Region. In the 80s, Canada began to aggressively court American film and television producers as a relatively cheap filming location due to the exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollars. The one genre that really snapped this up was sci-fi/fantasy (The X-Files, The Stargate-verse, Smallville, Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash etc.) possibly to allow the lower production costs to offset the higher special effects costs that sci-fi inevitably has. Due to the use of local Canadian actors, it creates the interesting situation of Canadian actors being easily recognizable to American sci-fi/fantasy fans, but unknown to the mainstream. A similar effect happens with the combined talent pool of Australia/New Zealand, thanks to New Zealand-filmed shows such as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, Power Rangers and Legend of the Seeker, alongside The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series.
- Before the 2000s, most Americans who weren't serious comedy nerds had probably never seen a British TV show. Most of the shows that did cross The Pond were classic comedy shows like Monty Python's Flying Circus and Are You Being Served?. These were usually seen on low-rated PBS stations. With the rise of BBC America and Internet distribution, Doctor Who (which was previously only a Cult Classic in America) and other British shows have garnered wide stateside audiences.
- Victorious. During its run on Nickelodeon it was a very popular show with a large fanbase. After it ended, Ariana Grande (who wasn't even the lead star of the show) embarked on a massively successful career as a pop singer, and hasn't looked back since. For most people outside the fanbase, if they even know about it in the first place, they only know it as "the show Ariana Grande was on before she got famous". Those people aren't even aware of its actual lead star, Victoria Justice.
- The X Factor: One of the most popular shows of all time in the U.K., it's known internationally almost exclusively for discovering five teenage boys and turning them into a boy band. That boy band would be christened One Direction and would completely eclipse the show they were born on in their global takeover over the next half-decade.
- Although Jimmy Savile was one of the most popular British entertainers when he was alive thanks to his hit show Jim'll Fix It, internationally he was unknown until the revelations of his horrific sex crimes after his death.
- Rolling Stone and similar mags have been accused of having a rock bias. RS in particular is accused of 60s-70s bias in their lists.
- The Source magazine, or any genre specific mag is this by default.
- Lowrider mags, vs custom car mags (like DUB magazine), sport tuner car mags, and American muscle car mags. There's over-lap but they're somewhat significantly separated. Plus each scene has its own car culture, and preference of female models. Mags like DUB almost always have black girls AND Hispanic females, whereas the lowrider mags are more or less exclusively Hispanic, the tuner mags are almost always southeast Asian, and the muscle car mags are almost always white. Illustrative example: Ask a gearhead what a "Donk" is and he/she will reply that it's any car with huge rims, very thin-walled tires, a very expensive and flamboyant paint job and other hallmarks of "bling." Ask an editor at a Lowrider mag (or any "authentic" Lowrider enthusiast) and he/she will tell you that it's specifically a 1970s Chevrolet Caprice (independent of whether or not it's stock or blinged out - it's just a slang term for that specific type of car. He/she will also tell you that "Bricks" are 80s Caprices and "Bubbles" are 90s Caprices due to their general shape). Of course, ask an average person on the street and expect to get a blank stare.
- When Fine Scale Modeler did an article on Gun Pla — the hobby of building Gundam plastic model kits — it was an unusual and controversial step. This despite the fact that the Gun Pla market dwarfs FSM's target market, American modelers of realistic vehicles. Tthis is not unknown in the plastic modelling community; in Great Britain, the "orthodox" historically-based hobby tends to look down on sci-fi and fantasy modellers. The respective readerships of Military Modelling and White Dwarf do not overlap, and Warhammer topics almost never make it into the "mainstream" modelling press - Mil Mod got complaints from readers when it tested this particular water.
- Erotic or porn magazines like Playboy, Hustler, Mayfair, Penthouse,... are all well known as brands, but to most people in the mainstream this mags are just "titles". People will probably recognize Hugh Hefner as chief editor of "Playboy", but have no idea what other writers or cartoonists regularly contribute to these pages.
- Paper is a small, independent entertainment magazine. While they do have a following in the New York City Area, they're known to the general public only for the Kim Kardashian "Break The Internet" cover.
- Few people outside of France know anything about Charlie Hebdo magazine other than the fact that its offices were subject to a terrorist attack in January 2015.
- A lot of Internet culture and memes cause this.
- The Slender Man is relatively unknown outside of a relatively large group of fans on several forums. Though Slender and its sequel, in addition to the Marble Hornets movie being made, and those Slender Man inspired stabbings, are turning the Slender Man mainstream.
- YouTube user Hola Soy German is very popular in Latin American countries (to the point where he has over 27 million subscribers, making him the second most subscribed person on YouTubenote ), but is almost completely unknown outside of them. He didn't even have an article on The Other Wiki until May 2014, and still doesn't have one on this Wiki.
- Most comic strips start out in only one newspaper (usually a paper in a region of a country where the cartoonist works) and then are nationally syndicated, sometimes not until years later. More than a few strips have ended up dying on the vine - at least in some parts of the country - due to censorship.
- Pinball has been hit with this extremely hard. Despite being a major part of American culture for nearly a century, most people would be hard-pressed to name more than one or two pinball manufacturers or designers, if at all, and as far as the games themselves, you won't hear much beyond The Addams Family, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, or Jurassic Park. The history of the field is an even bigger mystery to most — folks who recall the controversy behind Tipper Gore and the Parental Advisory labels, Mortal Kombat and the ESRB, or Frederic Wertham and "Seduction of the Innocent" will seldom have any knowledge of the nation's thirty-year ban against pinball.
- It's rather telling that TV Tropes itself went for nearly a decade with only one page about Pinball. There Is No Such Thing as Notability, indeed.
- On a similar vein, the aforementioned naming of pinball manufacturers and designers would be some very obscure trivia to a normal person, but they are common knowledge among pinball fans, and some of these communities (thankfully just a minority) could mock and look down on you for not being familiar with them, even if you've just gotten started.
- The territory days of Pro Wrestling used to define this trope. A wrestler who may have been huge in one area may have been relatively unknown to fans in another area. The WWF expansion and cable tv pretty much put an end to this however.
- For that matter, wrestling itself could be a victim of this. Wrestlers like Bret Hart, Mick Foley, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Bryan Danielson, and CM Punk are household names among wrestling fans, but have little or no mainstream recognition. Only a handful of wrestlers are known to non-wrestling fans (i.e., Hulk Hogan, André the Giant, Randy Savage, The Undertaker, The Rock, Steve Austin, John Cena, etc.)
- It's often joked that wrestling is Two Decades Behind in pop culture. A lot of that can be attributed to Vince McMahon, who is widely cited by just about everyone as incredibly out of touch with not only the wrestling audience itself, but with pop culture in general. There are numerous stories of how Vince put the kibosh on a popular gimmick (i.e. Pirate Paul Burchill) referencing a current pop culture phenomenon because he didn't know anything about its source. Hell, despite being seen eating one numerous times, he had no idea what a burrito was until someone brought it up.
- Radio is usually blamed for this phenomenon when it comes to music isolation.
- Several radio presenters and stars are unknown to the general public unless they also happen to appear on TV.
- The Ultimate Fighting Championship, AKA The UFC has dealt with this for problem for awhile, mainly due to the sport's previous violent image and detractors being unable (or unwilling) to get past it. Around the late 90's the UFC repackaged the sport as "Mixed Martial Arts" in an attempt to be taken seriously. It took a reality television show to gain wide acceptance. UFC has outsold boxing quite handily ever since '06, with '07 being the exception. Most of the sports broad casting community to this day refuses to accept it as a legit sport. Some even went as far as to accuse it of being a poor (white) person's version of boxing, due to the UFC's heavy young white male demographics compared to boxing. Today, while most people couldn't them you the names of the champions in each weight class, could at least tell you what the sport is. And with the UFC's broadcasting deal with Fox, the days of the UFC being considered a niche sport are most likely over.
- There is one major aversion: Ronda Rousey. Although she was very well-known in UFC circles ever since her debut in 2013, her 2015 match with Bethe Correia truly broke her into the mainstream like no UFC star has done before. Her shocking loss to Holly Holm a month later made the latter almost as widely known as Rousey to the mainstream.
- X-treme Sports
- College Basketball/Football's SWAC division.
- The MEAC too. Many of the schools in both divisions have traditions that are every bit as entrenched as the more well-known Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools. For example, each year a football team from a SWAC school meets a team from the MEAC in Indianapolis for the Circle City Classic. The festivities that lead up to the game draw more people to Central Indiana than any annual event besides the Indy 500, yet it's almost completely unknown to non African-Americans outside of the area.
- Soccer, of course. (at least in North America)
- That's a Cyclic Trope. I think every generation we'll have a Pele or a David Beckham, but they'll be few and far between.
- But there are millions of soccer fans in America — enough to post decent numbers for European soccer broadcasts on ESPN/FSC and keep Major League Soccer's numbers growing. However, unless it's World Cup time, non-fans are unlikely to hear anything about soccer in America unless they very closely follow sports journalism.
- Note that the sitcom Sports Night had a scene where the characters — who were professional American sports reporters! — were challenging each other to simply name American soccer teams.
- Reflected in TV portrayals: Ray Barone, in series, is a staff sports journalist on a prestigious newspaper, but he is baffled and bemused by football and regards it as just another pretentious affectation on the part of his father-in-law, and a boring distraction when he and Frank and Robert want to watch real football, as played in the USA, on TV. You'd expect Ray to have at least a passing knowledge of football as played in the rest of the world - it's his job - but his knowledge of, and interest in, the game is pretty near zero.
- The same is also true for Grid Iron/American Football. While there are teams and leagues across Europe (Britain hosts more than a few) the sport is largely ignored by the mainstream press except around the Super Bowl. It is fair to add that in late 2016, the BBC does screen a weekly digest of what's happening in American Football for British fans.
- Just like soccer, Ice Hockey has a huge following in the US (it is the 4th most popular sport after all), but mainstream coverage is sorely lacking.
- Again like soccer, it's a Cyclic Trope. Wayne Gretzky and The Mighty Ducks helped it out in the late 80s-early 90s but by the 2000s it faded out again, primarily due to the fumbling of the NHL's TV rights and having the league dropped from ESPN who now actively tries make its viewers believe the sport doesn't exist outside of the NCAA Division I championshipnote . Nowadays popularity is resurging again on the heels of new generation superstars like Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews, while the merger of Comcast and NBC-Universal saw the not-well-known Versus (the league's cable partner) become the NBC Sports Network, bringing a more recognizable brand and greater exposure. Unfortunately, NBCSN is still a distant 2nd to ESPN who now has more reason to put the sport down now that it's cozy with their only real competition.
- Ironically, ESPN was originally founded to broadcast Hartford Whalers games. Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes joke that it was that move and name change that ticked of ESPN about Hockey.
- The near-constant contract disputes and lockouts (to the point the fans joke about how often their seasons are at risk of cancellation) don't help.
- Lacrosse, along a similar vein. Oldest sport in the United States, older than the country itself, but played, almost exclusively from Virginia to New York. It's expanding rapidly, though, heralded as the fastest growing sport in the nation. It's still almost exclusively played by white, upper-middle class boys.
- Archer has helped awareness, and the writers seem to actually know that they're talking about, usually.
- Team handball is sort of a big deal in certain parts of Europe, but pretty much nobody ever gets to see it outside the Summer Olympics. When they do see it, however, they're impressed: The Sports Guy Bill Simmons called it "a loony cross between hockey, basketball, lacrosse and Vince Vaughn's Dodgeball movie, only if it was created for people with ADD" and called for it to be brought to the US with a few minor tweaks.
- Even in countries where it has some popularity handball isn't that big a deal. For instance, in Brazil it's the most played sport in physical education class, and the female national team won the 2013 world championship - but the Brazilian tournament suffers from lack of exposure and financing.
- Handball is huge in the Nordic countries, parts of the Balkans, Northern Germany, Spain and France. True the halls only get 20 000 people or so, but that's what they often get for regular league games and those people are loud. Brazil is still on the periphery of the sport (though catching up fast)
- Even in countries where it has some popularity handball isn't that big a deal. For instance, in Brazil it's the most played sport in physical education class, and the female national team won the 2013 world championship - but the Brazilian tournament suffers from lack of exposure and financing.
- Until the late nineteenth century, sports were generally for the wealthy. Once athletic contests began to appeal to middle-class and working-class people, many of the more elitist sports (polo, regattas, fencing, etc.) fell into obscurity or semi-obscurity.
- Cricket: Some estimates put it as the second most popular sport in the world after soccer (mainly due to its popularity in India), but it has never really caught on outside of the British Empire (with the possible exceptions of the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates). In the USA, it barely rates a mention today, despite the fact that it was popular until around the time of the civil war, and in fact the first international cricket match was played between the USA and Canada in 1844. Anecdotal evidence even suggests that George Washington himself was a cricket enthusiast!
- As the name suggests, Australian Rules Football is mostly only popular in Australia - but did you know that it's a regional game there? Despite being the dominant code in 4 of Australia's 6 states, it still struggles to find a following in the other two (New South Wales and Queensland, the first and third most populous respectively), even with two teams based in each of those states in the national competition.
- Red Bull Crashed Ice, otherwise known as downhill ice cross, is very popular among Canadian extreme sports fans but unknown to most of the world.
- Welsh Rugby Union referee Nigel Owens experienced this when travelling to the US. Going through airport security, he stated he was visiting for his work as a rugby referee, at which point the security personnel asked "what's rugby?".
- In the UK, any racket sport except tennis isn't generally noticed unless it's an Olympic sport in an Olympic year where we might have a medal chance. Squash, badminton and "real" tennis (the tennis you see at Wimbledon etc. is technically "lawn" tennis) barely get a mention.
- How many swimmers can Americans not into the sport name? Chances are, they'll only know Michael Phelps and nobody else. Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, and Katie Ledecky are also fairly well known, although far from Phelps' level of recognition (although Lochte's out-of-water behavior in Rio got him plenty of negative notoriety). Names like Dara Torres, Aaron Peirsol, Natalie Coughlin, Jenny Thompson, Amy Van Dyken, Mark Spitz, or Matt Biondi are virtually unknown except to the most hardcore fans of swimming and/or the Olympics. '20s star Johnny Weissmuller is also well-known, but that's for playing Tarzan in the movies rather than his athletic career. If they can name anyone else, it would probably be former Stanford University athlete Brock Turner, although for all the wrong reasons.
- Well known gymnasts? Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, and that's it (and McKayla Maroney, whose fame comes from a meme and not her actual career). Maybe if you're lucky you'll get Carly Patterson, Shawn Johnson, and Nastia Liukin. People will also remember 1996 had a great team, but will be hard pressed to name its actual members.
- Curling may have been founded in Scotland, but it's recognized as being biggest and most popular in Canada. There's an estimated 2 million curlers worldwide, but around 1.3 million of them are in Canada (there's 15,000 in the US, with 11 times the population). The major Canadian national championship tournaments (women and men) take place in major hockey arenas seating thousands of spectators, and when Canada hosts world events they're likewise in arenas with lots of spectators. World championships in other nations are sometimes lucky to have a few hundred people attending.
- To most people, Roleplaying Games other than video games is maybe something nerds did in highschool, and they may have heard the name Dungeons & Dragons, but the idea of it being a complex hobby mostly pursued by adults is unthinkable. "Board games" means Monopoly or Risk. Miniature wargaming can only be explained in terms of chess and toy soldiers.
- Similarly, most trading card games. Thousands of dollars in prizes are given away worldwide in some of the bigger tournaments (mostly Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh!), but most people still consider them kids' games, and would only recognize a "professional" player if they cross over into something slightly more mainstream, like poker.
- And even with poker, only a few of the big names are well-known. And with the consequences of the poker boom, very few outside hardcore poker nuts could tell you who won the most recent World Series of Poker main event.
- The Warhammer40000 universe is a behemoth in geek circles and on the internet; besides being the dominant miniatures wargame with several other tabletop spinoffs there have been several popular videogames and hundreds of novels, many of which have cracked best-seller lists. In the mainstream it's almost completely unknown
- Since theatre actors are usually not famous to the general public unless they appear in film or TV you can have actors who have a long and successful theatrical career, yet are completely unknown unless you often go to the theater.
- Broadway actors often refer to themselves as "only famous for a couple of blocks". There are performers with astounding track records of roles and piles of awards who are absolute unknowns outside of New York City. Some have shaken this with success in film and television (such as Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Cheyenne Jackson, Aaron Tveit, Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, and Mark Rylance in recent years), but going through a list of names of Tony winners will leave the average person scratching their head. From The New '10s winners alone: Norbert Leo Butz? Sutton Foster? Audra McDonald, who won a record-setting sixth acting Tony in 2014? This is somewhat justified. A successful Broadway show can launch a tour or sister production in another city — most often London; the cities are Transatlantic siblings since it's easy to transfer a show from one to the other as there's no need to translate it into another language — but the original leads usually don't leave New York. Most theater productions are not recorded for posterity, aside from cast albums for musicals, limiting the audience for these actors to devoted Broadway fans and those who come to New York and see them. This also applies to London's West End stars; just substitute Oliviers for Tonys — Maria Friedman? Michael Ball? Douglas Hodge? All unknown to the masses, and usually relegated to supporting/minor roles or guest spots in film and TV — albeit well-compensated ones — if they work in those media at all.
- Theatre in general, at least in North America, has become something of a niche medium in the mainstream media. The Tony Awards are still regarded as one of the big four awards shows, along with the Academy Awards (film), Emmy Awards (television), and Grammy Awards (music), but posts far smaller ratings than those three, owing to declining interest in what's making waves in New York City. Even entertainment-focused outlets tends to ignore live theatre unless someone famous in another medium decides to take a stab at Broadway. This, combined with a desire to bring in people who wouldn't see a show otherwise, leads to Stunt Casting and/or limited-run shows that can accommodate a superstar's other commitments.
- GTA's radio stations are a great example of this. Some of the DJs even take shots at the other stations.
- The ZX Spectrum is fondly remembered in Britain and Eastern Europe, but highly obscure in the United States.
- Consoles (not counting shady NES clones) were a niche market in Eastern Europe for the better part of the nineties. If you went to Poland about 1992 or so and asked a random gamer about Metroid, Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda, he'd stare at you blankly, then ask what computer were they released on.
- In some parts of America, Nintendo was a byword for "gaming console" throughout the 90s due to their enormous market share in the industry, especially due to its revival of the home console market after The Great Video Game Crash of 1983. For a while, even dedicated gamers of a certain age would refer to most consoles as "a nintendo" (small "n" usually), even if it wasn't Nintendo made. Outside the US, Nintendo didn't have as much of a visible impact since gaming was largely PC driven.
- In Russia a similar thing happened in the 90s: in the absence of PCs and consoles, the NES clone "Dendy" became a generic name for any gaming console, and a lot of popular NES-era games were unknown because they were neither sold nor pirated.
- Consoles (not counting shady NES clones) were a niche market in Eastern Europe for the better part of the nineties. If you went to Poland about 1992 or so and asked a random gamer about Metroid, Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda, he'd stare at you blankly, then ask what computer were they released on.
- Similarly, the Sega Master System was popular in Europe and was so huge in Brazil that production of the console continues there to this day, but it stood no chance (despite its technical superiority on most fronts!) against the juggernaut that was the NES in North America and Japan and is little more than a footnote in gaming history there.
- How many people (including gamers) do you think have even heard of The Great Video Game Crash of 1983? Let alone know that it nearly spelled the end for console gaming as a whole?
- Just Dance is one of the most popular gaming franchises in the world, being the second most profitable franchise for Ubisoft (after Assassin's Creed). Yet at the same time, gamers and gaming review sites barely acknowledge its existence. It's perhaps one of the few games that sells a lot, but isn't talked about a lot outside of its core audience.
- Hidden object games can consistently sell well over a million copies on the PC market without them being on mobile platforms or Steam and are big enough to be a thriving industry themselves (though they are moving to the mobile market). Yet very few people into video games and PC games even know what a hidden object game is.note
- Virtually any webcomic, no matter how popular, will go almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media. This can be observed by their Wikipedia articles — many webcomic articles have been deleted, while the few holdouts are widely padded with self-reference, and at best one or two third-party sources. Homestuck, for example, achieved utterly preposterous levels of fame (and infamy), but outside the internet-comics community it's a non-entity; the author did a signing event at a Comic-Con, and the staff were unprepared for the gigantic mob of fans that showed up. Newspaper Comics and superhero comics still reign supreme in mass-media-land, but a few webcomics have ascended to mainstream notability:
- xkcd, the official Nerd Comic and probably the most well-known webcomic to the general public, though it has many competitors in the nerdy-people community.
- Penny Arcade and possibly Ctrl+Alt+Del, the official Gamer Comics, with an obscene quantity of imitators that the mainstream media never mentions. Megatokyo, oddly, started out as one of these cult imitators, but reached modest mass-market success through Cerebus Syndrome.
- Axe Cop may have finally ascended into the mainstream in late 2013 with the arrival of its cartoon adaptation on Fox. If so, it would be the first pop-culture-breakout webcomic that was not one of the pioneering webcomics.
- Anything that becomes popular on the Internet tends to stay in that particular sector of the Internet and completely unknown to those who don't use the Internet much or stay in a few social circles. Memes are an especially visible example: Familiarity with very popular ones like Longcat or Trollface is a good Internet-savviness litmus test. Periphery Demographics are another example; Pokémon is still seen as weird for adults to enjoy, for instance, among casual Internet users. Because things that become popular on the Internet rarely make much headway offline, spending large amounts of time on the Internet can cause a pretty skewed idea of general trends. There are exceptions though, most notably teenage girl phenomena that lead towards mainstream commercial success, like Justin Bieber, or concepts that get popularized in mainstream media such as the YouTube memetic videos referenced in the South Park episode "Canada on Strike." In fact, whether or not an Internet meme has been featured on mainstream media is generally considered a good indicator of whether or not that meme is now Deader Than Disco.
- This can also get into Black Comedy. One 2016 example is that a few Alt-Right people used Pepe memes (a picture of a stoner frog from the Boy’s Club comic paired with a random slogan) along with many others. Despite being a very old and played-out meme (around for more then 8 years), the media mistook it for a new white supremacist icon. The comic's creators were not amused.
- Being a famous video producer on the Internet is kind of a half fame. On one hand millions of viewers world wide can check a certain producer out, but at the same time many are only famous to people who regularly visit the Internet and even then some may be unaware of highly successful sites, unless they stumble upon them. The Nostalgia Critic is a good example. He's been active since 2008, gained quite some notoriety due to his high production values - releasing new videos every week - and has a large enough following to make a living off of it. Yet he still hasn't made much of a mark in mainstream media and even on the Internet itself there are many people who have never seen one of his videos or are only vaguely aware of him.
- Speaking of YouTube, this extends to YouTube celebrities. Millions of subscribers, but the odds of your average person knowing one of them isn't very good. The reactions on the YouTube React channel sometimes hints that most of them don't actually get this.
- 4chan, while a cornerstone of Internet culture, is very obscure outside it. Its main claim to fame outside of it is "The Fappening."
- Finger Family videos on YouTube get tens of millions of views, but if you're not a toddler or in preschool, or are the parent of such a child, it will likely be completely unknown to you. That being said, there are two factors here: Little kids love repetition (it's how humans learn) and may watch a Finger Family video dozens or hundreds of times per day, driving up the video view counts well beyond their actual audience's size by two or three orders of magnitude; and some people suspect the view counts are artificially high due to bots viewing it and, because Finger Family videos have ads in them whose sponsors pay based on view count, may just be ad fraud.
- As referenced in Anime above, many Voice Actors are unknown to the mainstream unless they've done some sort of live-action acting. It's a rarity that a voice actor is known for just their voice acting; even Mel Blanc was known mostly for being on The Jack Benny Program before the popularity of Looney Tunes shot through the roof.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Popular to the point of ubiquity on the internet, but still relatively obscure to a lot of people who don't go online much, or don't get the cable channel the show is broadcast on. If anything, it's likely to get most of its exposure from mainstream media poking fun at its adult fanbase, i.e. "bronies." This may lead to the impression that most of the fanbase is just weird.
- Grandpa Simpson puts the generational divide of pop-culture into perspective for his then-teenaged son, Homer.
Abe: I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. It'll happen to you!
- Most major sci-fi/anime/comics conventions (except for San Diego ComicCon, which has become very mainstream and a crucial stop on many promotional tours) are not nearly as well known outside of various geek communities (and the locals of the particular city where the con is usually held). For instance, Dragon*Con is well known to geeks and Atlantans, but not very many else.
- ComicCon itself used to be a case of this up until the mid 00s. Now judging from the sheer amounts of game (and movie) related announcements, one would think the event is now E3 2.0.
- Similar regarding furry cons and meets - there are multiple ones in most major countries, to the point where people can make a lifestyle out of travelling to different ones when they are on. It's also a great financial boost for the local economies when they are held (often to the pleasant surprise of hotel staff). Yet, the fandom has sprung up largely due to the Internet and doesn't widely advertise itself. Generally speaking furries don't want the media covering them because it's historically presented the fandom as consisting solely of fetishists (who are a vocal minority, but a minority nonetheless).
- Quite a few white people appear to be unaware of the But Not Too Black controversy. Ironic since every daytime talk show known to man from Ricki Lake to Jenny Jones to Tyra Banks has covered this issue.
- Inversely a lot of black people think this issue is only seen within their community, but it's very prominent in Asian and Hispanic communities as well.
- Back in the times of the Cold War, it was possible to receive West German TV-programs in most places of East Germany - except in the area of the Dresden Basin and the area around Rügen, but next to nobody lives there. Because of this lack of information regarding Western news coverage and of course also Western pop culture, it was accordingly called the "Valley of the Clueless". In turn, few West Germans bothered to consume East German pop culture, which now can cause Pop Culture Isolation in re-unified Germany.
- TONS of Internet models and celebrities that are made famous through the net are more or less obscure in pure mainstream media. Basically any model or obscure female actress that's ever appeared on or in Stuff magazine, Maxim, or FHM. Sure people on the net are familiar. But to the general public they might as well be nobodies
- Their attractiveness is what help them get noticed in the first place despite being D-Listers. Case in point Jaime King pre-Sin City. You'd be hard pressed to find someone in the mainstream who knew who she was. But Maxim magazine and people on the internet did. Interestingly enough she hasn't done anything mainstream since. Likewise with Emmanuelle Vaugier prior to CSI: NY.
- Cindy Margolis probably being the Ur-Example. From the way the Internet treated her you'd thought she was a break out star or something.
- Then there's Tila "Tequila" Nguyen.
- Amber Rose as well is gradually heading down this road thanks to photoblogs. Dating Kanye West and later Wiz Khalifa probably helped.
- Music video models are the same way obviously. Lots of rock fans know who Bobbie Brown, and Tawny Kitaen are. While urban music video watchers are probably only vaguely familiar if that. Same goes for models that appear in urban music video like Esther Baxter, Melyssa Ford, and Summer Walker etc...Even in that context there's not a lot of people who know them outside certain internet circles (I.E. Hip-Hop Image Boards, where they're well known and popular). But bring their names up in certain mainstream social circles and you would get blank stares.
- Reeva Steenkamp was one of the most popular models in her native South Africa during the early 2010s, but internationally she's known chiefly for being the murder victim of former Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius.
- Unfortunately Black History Month has become this instead of being seen as part of American history too. Especially Native American History Month which is November.
- Most popular porn stars who aren't Jenna Jameson or Ron Jeremy... although some might get some mainstream attention primarily from news outlets because of some type of controversy surrounding said performers or the industry itself, like the Belladonna and Sasha Grey Primetime Live/The Insider news interviews (respectively) for example.
- Interestingly enough even the most obscure porn star can have tens of thousands of twitter followers. Of course, they do say that The Internet Is for Porn...
- This trope with a dusting of racism might be the cause of all of the numerous segregated proms in the south, which have offended black teens and other minority teenagers.
- Sorority pledges are the same way. There's usually flame wars on and off the net over whether people are "forcing" groups to accept them (usually saying it makes people secretly accept them less), while another group claims why would you wanna be apart of said racist group anyway. Or they'll accuse the group of wanting to be white, if there was likely a black sorority they could have joined.
- A lot of cynics think this is why interracial relationships/marriages can't work unless they're from the same socio-economic background and are fully assimilated into mainstream American culture (or whatever culture their significant other is from).
- Which is sad, as they could see the very same circumstances as an opportunity to learn from each other and widen their horizon.
- E! network host Sal Masekela noted in an interview with Jay-Z that entertainment news media and tabloids generally don't cover black celebrities. Quite frankly, black celebs should probably see that as a blessing in disguise.
- Unfortunately, on the flip side there's urban gossip mags and blogs to compensate for this, especially during the past ten years.
- The aforementioned magazines like FHM, Maxim, Stuff, and so on run on this trope. It's a pretty safe bet that most people outside the internet have never heard of half of the listed people in Maxim's Hot 100. Just mention the name Gemma Atkinsonnote to some random American and they wouldn't know who the hell you're talking about.
- These mags have black counterparts as well like King, SMOOTH, and Black Men Magazine. And most of the models within are hardly known outside of Hip-Hop message boards.
- Playboy Playmates fall into this category as well. Although some Playmates have crossed over into the mainstream (Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Anna Nicole Smith), others are virtually unknown to those who aren't avid Playboy readers. For that matter, it's been noted that Marilyn Monroe was the only actress to have a smash career after appearing in the magazine.
- If a country has regions that speak different languages they tend to develop their own cultures based on these languages.
- In Canada, Quebec has many musicians, actors, and comedians that are unknown in the rest of Canada unless they also do English-language work.
- Linux powers sites like Google (as well as Android) and hardcore geeks run it on their desktops, but among people who even know what an operating system is in the first place, they're more likely to be familiar with Windows or Mac OS X.
- If you walk into a store that caters to wargamers, a store that caters to model train hobbyists, and a general crafts store, you will see very similar merchandise on the shelves, but the staff are likely to be completely unaware of their "competitors". Similarly, stores where wargaming is king vs. stores where roleplaying and/or TCGs are king vs. stores where video gaming is king.
- This is pretty common with universities in the United States, For example, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are the two top universities in Michigan and both attract huge numbers of students from all over the state. However, go to a more distant state like New Jersey, and you'll find plenty of Wolverines but far fewer Spartans. But that's nothing compared to, say, the University of Washington, which has almost zero presence in the Garden State.
- With the exceptions of Ivy League schools and certain other prestigious colleges like MIT and Stanford, most national universities are known almost exclusively for their football and/or men's basketball teams. Some for both (i.e. Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan State), some mainly for football (Alabama, Notre Dame, Penn State), some mainly for basketball (Duke, Kentucky, Gonzaga) and some mainly for women's basketball (namely, Connecticut and Tennessee). The most publicity an Ivy League-esque institution's sports has gotten lately has been, for all the wrong reasons, Stanford's swimming program.
- Belgium is a literal example of this trope. The country is divided by a language barrier and as a result people from Flanders (the Dutch speaking part) and Wallony (the French speaking part) will often not be familiar with celebrities from opposite the language barrier. There are exceptions, of course, but while singer and TV star Annie Cordy, for instance, is an icon in Wallony she is practically obscure in Flanders. Flemish singer Will Tura is a huge star in Flanders, but unknown in Wallony. Similarly, Flemish comic strips like Jommeke and Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber are well known in Flanders, but completely obscure in Wallony. Le Chat is a popculture phenomenon in Wallony, but despite some translations in Dutch this newspaper comic strip has never gained the same amount of praise or popularity in Flanders. Actor Benoît Poelvoorde is a huge star in Wallony, even voted in the Top 10 of "The Greatest Belgians" in the Walloon version of that contest, but in Flanders most people only know him from starring in Man Bites Dog, if they would recognize him at all.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. People in the field of medicine probably know all about it. The general public knows almost nothing about it aside from a) also being known as Lou Gehrig's Disease and b) the Ice Bucket Challenge.
- Only a handful of U.S. governors tend to be nationally known, usually by virtue of running one of the four biggest states (California, Texas, Florida, and New York), established recognition in other areas (like Congress, media, or business) or becoming a high-profile presidential contender (like Chris Christie or John Kasich). Other governors get their day in the national spotlight with one major event in their tenure (i.e. the Charleston church shooting and Confederate flag debate for South Carolina's Nikki Haley, Ferguson for Missouri's Jay Nixon, the Indiana Religious Freedom Act for Mike Pence [at least before he became Trump's VP], the Flint water crisis for Michigan's Rick Snyder, the Public Facilities Privacy Act for North Carolina's Pat McCrory, and the Dakota Access pipeline for North Dakota's Jack Dalrymple).
- Defied in one instance: In 2014, the election of Republican Larry Hogan for Governor of Democrat Safe Maryland was considered the biggest election upset of the night (and considering how many traditionally Democrat states elected Republicans, that's saying something). He then went on to be visible on the national stage 90 days into his term thanks to the Baltimore Riots. Two years later, he has the highest ever approval rating of any Maryland Governor in the history of the state, but is relatively unknown on a national stage. It was probably due in part to him announcing he was not going to support Donald Trump while the Primaries were still underway and then not participating in much campaigning.
- As of 2017, few senators have become household names outside their home states. The party leaders and "big state" senators do tend to gain more political power, but arguably the most visible U.S. Senator at the moment comes from the second-smallest state in the country: that would be Vermont's Bernie Sanders. On the right the biggest name comes from the second-largest state: Texas's Ted Cruz.
- How many world leaders can people name? Aside from the ones in their own countries, not too many. The main globally known heads of state and government are U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Cuban President Raul Castro, British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Pope Francisnote . In fact, many of these people aren't even the actual heads of their state, as they lead the government of a parliamentary system, while the heads of state are ceremonial figureheads and mostly unknown outside their country. Some are more well known than others, though: while everyone knows who Queen Elizabeth is, not too many people will be able to recognize names like Joachim Gaucknote , Reuven Rivlin, Pranab Mukherjee, or Akihito unless they live in the country that person presides over.
- Hungarian-American businessman George Soros is notorious amongst right-wing Americans, who consider him the ultimate Big Bad of the left. Amongst leftists, he's known as "that guy in all those right-wing conspiracy theories" and is virtually unheard of otherwise.
- Outside of the Denver metro area, the only thing most people know about Columbine High School is the 1999 shooting that happened there.
- Jeff Sessions served as a Senator from Alabama for 20 years, but few people outside his home state knew of him before he was selected to be Donald Trump's attorney general.
- The infamous August 2017 "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville. While everyone knows of the rally, few outside the alt-right know the rally's name, and to many it's the city's name that is etched in public memory.
- Politicians of sub-national units tend to only be known in said sub-national unit. For example, few Germans could list more than a handful state leaders of the 16 German states. The most likely to be known are the one of Bavaria (because he is usually also the head of the CSU, a major conservative party) and whoever last had an election or next has an election coming up. All that despite the fairly large influence state level politics has on the federal level in Germany. Some state leaders become notorious or well known for their federal ambitions or their persona but their successors are usually less known. Gerhard Schröder made the 1998 election in Lower Saxony (which he won) all about his 1998 run for chancellor (which was successful) but people would be hard pressed to say who succeeded him or who rules the state now. Klaus Wowereit was quite well known as mayor of Berlin for being openly gay and in the media a lot. His successor note is pretty unknown outside Berlin.