OnDigital, later ITV Digital, was an early attempt to bring digital TV to British viewers. It was advertised by Johnny Vegas and a cute little Deadpan Snarker sock puppet monkey sidekick as in this advert. It wasn't a resounding success and ITV Digital died a quite public death with a lot of recrimination and lawsuits and all that fun stuff. But the Vegas/Monkey team were so loved that they ended up becoming the mascots of a completely different product, namely PG Tips. How do you reintroduce a pair of endearing and loved characters? Like this, apparently.
A literal example: Restoration Hardware, an upscale home furnishing chain, went from white walls, brightly lit stores, and a retro-industrial-Thirties/Forties/Fifties aesthetic to dark gray walls, very dim lights, and items with a modern/rough-edged look at some point after 2008.
T-Mobile tried this in Spring of 2012. Their spokeswoman, the T-Mobile Girl, before seen with only white backgrounds and wearing pink sundresses, is now being advertised as bored with the "nice, safe" life she has. She searches for, and finds, a black full-bodied motorcycle jumpsuit (with pink accents) and rides into the night on a Yamaha-looking sport bike.
Captain Morgan rum usually portrays their Captain as a playful partygoer. Their new campaign has gone for giving him a more daring and adventurous personality; likely due to the popularity of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Life Alert is a serious product - it's meant for older and disabled people if they ever, say, fall down and need help when no one is around — but the old commercials have been the product of giggles for years. "I've fallen and I can't get up!" was subject to Memetic Mutation throughout the 90's and frequently mocked and parodied. Come 2014, they decided to darken up their ads into pure Nightmare Fuel. Gone are the old ladies almost comically on the floor, now the mood is noticeably darker and you can feel the pain and fear, as if Life Alert is saying "Thought that was funny, did ya? Well, yuk it up now, you little shits." The darker turn wound up backfiring, with complaints and reports of panic attacks pouring in, forcing the company to pull the ad after two short months.
Nationwide Insurance (2015 Super Bowl) - Many audiences thought this advertisement was try to pull too hard on heart-strings. A kid talks about life insurance but ends by saying "because I am dead". The commercial ends with the motto Make Safe Happen. This disturbing commercial aimed to up the ante during the crucial advertising season, which ended up backfiring.
In what is ostensibly not intended as a parody of this trope, Fairy — who have for decades had a baby as a mascot to symbolise the "baby soft hands" you'll have after washing the dishes with their detergent — introduced a new "Tough Baby" mascot in 2017 to emphasize being tough on dirt. Still a baby, but now he's a tattooed, studded-leather-jacketedQuincy Punk baby with a deep Cockney growl, a motorbike, and the catchphrase "No More Mr. Nice Baby"
When Dragnet premiered in 1949, it used subject matter that previous crime dramas wouldn't have touched with a ten-foot pole, like rape and child murder.
Many Adventures in Odyssey listeners remember the episode "The Mortal Coil". Whit tries to program a special "Heaven" program into the Imagination Station. Long story short, Whit almost dies, Eugene has a Heroic BSoD from experiencing Hell when he tried the programnote Eugene wasn't a Christian at the time, and other things which made that episode famous among listeners as the most terrifying episode in the show's history.
Hades and his underworld qualify, as they are often portrayed as horrifying, ghastly, and generally evil. In reality, the Greek underworld, Erebos, is more like a pleasant inn, and Hades was just a little emotionally unstable. The only commonly-found no-no he did in mythology was kidnapping Persephone, and even then, some variations have Zeus selling her to him.
This tends to go for the other gods as well. Zeus is often thought of only as the god who went around having sex with women. Never mind he often punished evil doers or helped maintain the world. This is true for the other gods who had their petty moments, but were not evil or went around smiting humans for no reason. They usually had a reason even if only slight. They also had moments where they would help people who were beneficial to civilization.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is already dark, but Doubt Academy takes it even further thanks to a few key differences. Unlike in canon, where convicting the wrong person equals Game Over, here Monobear simply tells them they got it wrong before executing the innocent scapegoat. This creates a Kangaroo Court atmosphere where classmates have already lynched someone they knew was innocent to keep them from taking revenge and others have offered themselves up as Senseless Sacrifices to keep their friends from suffering the same fate.
The Insane Cafe RP trilogy has elements of this. The first was a nonsensical, hilarious and downright Narmy. The second was more plot driven and a terrorist attack on a remote laboratory was a key plot point. The 3rd installment features several assassination attempts, a few sex scenes and an impending war. Oh yeah, profanities are uttered the second and third installments.
While most of the campaigns in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe were standard Bronze Age fare, the Night Life In The Big Easy campaign, which featured a solo 1980s-style vigilante facing off against a voodoo-themed criminal empire that had been built on drugs, prostitution, and white slavery, was straight out of the Dark Age.
Welcome To Beacon and its sequel Welcome To Beacon Ultimate are considerably darker than canon RWBY. The Grimm are a more considerable threat, and the students have to face two major criminal organizations, who have no qualms causing deaths and grevious harm to the student body. Several characters also carry scars, both physical and mental, from prior encounters with the Grimm, and sex between them have been implied several times. There's a reason several players call it "RWBY as written by Gen Urobuchi"
AK47's ISOT Mapgame has been noted for drifting into grimdark territory before the game even began.
Dog Sees God is a play featuring thinly disguised versions of the Peanuts cast in high school. Snoopy was put down after getting rabies and killing Woodstock. Lucy is in an asylum for lighting the little redheaded girl's hair on fire and that's the tip of the iceberg.
Cirque du Soleil's Quidam was intentionally conceived by its creators as a show that would be darker, less whimsical, and more realistic than what the company had produced up to that point. They accomplished this by...telling a story about the commonality of loneliness and alienation through the eyes of a jaded preteen girl who learns to reconnect with others via a trip to a sometimes-melancholy Magical Land.
Richard Strauss's opera Elektra, based on the Sophocles play but turn the bloodlust and neurotism up to the eleven, and adds a sister-to-sister Les Yay moment.
The musical Aida is this to other Disney musicals. No surprise, given that it's based on an opera (which ironically, it is a Lighter and Softer version of).
The revival of Miss Saigon is this to the original production—which is already quite gritty. But the language and behavior of nearly everyone in the new version is far coarser and rougher than before.
Ebenezer is a prequel to A Christmas Carol where murder, destruction, and secrets abound that cast a dark light on the original story. Jacob Marley was in love with Scrooge and Fran's mother, kills Fran as an act of revenge on their family, and, on Scrooge's orders, forecloses Emily's orphanage on Christmas Eve, killing all the children there. Scrooge is even worse, because when Charles Dickens reveals this to him, he reveals he'd known about everything from the start and is fine with all they'd done, including viciously attacking Emily himself and ordering the foreclosure.
The opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky based on The Queen of Spades has it in spades in relation to the original story. In the story, Herman is a manipulative Villain Protagonist who gets his just desserts when he loses at cards and goes mad, while Liza gets over him and more or less happily marries someone else. In the opera, Herman has Adaptational Heroism, truly loves the girl but cant let go of his passion for gambling, and kills himself in the end, his last thoughts being of Liza. And before that, Liza realizes her true love is a crazed gambler and she has no future with him, and drowns herself.
Within Bionicle, the story noticeably turned a shade darker from '04 to '05, and with the advent of the online serials in '07, it also became Bloodier and Gorier. So much, in fact, it made the initial years look like a kindergarten play in comparison. A good deal of this stuff LEGO would never have allowed the writer to publish when the theme first started.
Fanfics and forum Role playing Games based on BIONICLE will often make the characters take on more human traits compared to their 85% metal, 15% muscle/lung tissue that is canon. While the primary reason by that it's easier to Write What You Know, the addition of human aspects also means that fanfic characters suddenly have more detailed descriptions of such things as pain, bleeding, etc.
Everything with Matoro and the Barraki saga basically slaps you in the face if the Piraka saga hasn't already. Not only do we get a downer ending, in another serial we're showned exactly what would have happened if Matoro never put the mask on. the universe dies, and Matoro is labeled a coward and a pariah. Everyone also is now deprived of a home because the universe is crumbling, and Matoro only redeems himself when he sacrifices his life again to save the village. The guy just can't catch a break.
LEGO Dino Attack features a group known as the D.I.N.O. Attack team battling against mutated or robotic dinosaurs. It's notable in that it is the onlypost-apoc LEGO Theme, being set in a empty city ravaged by the dinosaurs. In addition, there is a very heavy emphasis on weaponry and military vehicles.
LEGO Exo-Force is implied to take place after the end and is inspired by Anime series such as Mobile Suit Gundam. Like many LEGO themes, it was also cancelled before the story was resolved, adding in a dose of Nothing Is Scarier to the mix - what if the robots won?
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