If aliens are marching into Times Square, or a garishly-costumed superhero is fighting a bad guy atop the Empire State Building, most onlookers will take the event at face value. But others, even if they live in a world where strange things are known to happen on a regular basis, will dismiss it as "some nutty publicity stunt," an advertising campaign, or perhaps location shooting for a science-fiction movie.
Frequently observed as an aspect of living in a City of Weirdos
. Occasionally, characters might intentionally invoke the trope as a way of maintaining The Masquerade
, but in most cases people don't need any "help" to dismiss the weird stuff.
Sister trope to Is This a Joke?
, but in that trope, the character believes the strange events to be a joke directed specifically at her
, or perhaps at a smallish group of people. The effects in Some Nutty Publicity Stunt are usually too widespread, elaborate, or large to be written off as mere pranks.
The inverse of You Just Ruined the Shot
, in which actors are mistaken for the real thing. See also All Part of the Show
, in which the strange events are thought to be part of some specific public performance, and Your Costume Needs Work
, which is when a person thinks a particular character is wearing a costume but isn't (includes everything from monsters to celebrities).
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Anime & Manga
- Used more than once in Mahou Sensei Negima!, both in the Magical World and during the Mahora Festival.
- In Dragonball Z the characters once were Genre Savvy enough about this trope, so they summoned Porunga in the middle of a city, knowing that most people would just assume it was some experimental hologram from Bulma's Mad Scientist dad.
- Used briefly in ∀ Gundam. When Queen Dianna unseals The Dark History, huge holograms showing the wars of past eras pop up in cities across the Moon, causing confusion and panic in the citizens. Except for the Fat Bastard leader of the Goldfish Poop Gang, who just glances at the holograms and goes "Eh, most be some sort of movie-promotion." His team eventually manages to convince him otherwise...
- A first season episode of Digimon uses this, when one of the kids falls into the river and his digimon has to save him and the crowd from an evil squid-digimon.
Live Action TV
- In one DuckTales cartoon, the police refuse to help Uncle Scrooge get King Kong off his money bin. Instead they give him "one hour to remove that unauthorized balloon ad or whatever it is."
- The Beagles, a CBS cartoon from 1966 (made by Leonardo-TTV, the folks who gave us Underdog) dealt with two impoverished musical canines, Stringer and Tubby, and the outrageous publicity stunts their agent Scotty puts them in.