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Fictional Brand + Real Demand = Real Life Woo-Hoo!

"[Sniffs] Mmmm... Can you smell that? Yeah. It's the scent of fiction transforming into reality."
Narrator of Vat19 (advertising the Sex Panther perfume from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)

The complete inverse of Product Placement, Defictionalization is the transformation of a product, object, or Prop from a movie, book or other fictional source into a real item in the real world.note  Almost always done as a merchandising tie-in that helps promote the source, and provides an additional revenue stream to boot.

This can become strange if the product becomes highly recognized. A viewer who doesn't know about the defictionalization may see its appearance in the original source as blatant product placement, or even as a straight documentary.

A Sub-Trope of Life Imitates Art. Related to The Red Stapler which is when fiction (further) popularizes an already existing thing. May overlap with Official Cosplay Gear or Creator's Show Within a Show. Differs from Fake–Real Turn in that the fictional element was never (mis)represented as real. Is often a result of a program that is Merchandise-Driven.

Not to be confused with Deconstruction, or with Reality Bleed or The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You (which are story devices about the fictional world blurring with real ones). A similar trope, where a fictional concept will become real and interact with the real world, either in fiction or real life, is Reaching Through the Fourth Wall. Also see Fictional Video Game.

Compare with Ascended Fanon, which is fan-made depictions of characters or plot turned "real" by the author, and Science Imitates Art, when a work of fiction serves as an inspiration for real-life scientific nomenclature.

Examples should be listed under the medium of the work they originally appeared in.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • A 1980s British TV ad for Yellow Pages features a man searching used bookstores for a hard-to-find book: Fly Fishing by J. R. Hartley. Eventually, with the help of Yellow Pages, he finds a shop which has a copy of the book, which he reserves over the phone; at this point, we find out that the man is (the fictional) J.R. Hartley. Later, a real book was published with the same title and byline.
  • Staples had a series of commercials in which office employees would press a Big Red Button labeled "EASY" to make needed office supplies appear. Staples later began selling "Easy Buttons" that, when pressed, play a recording of the ad's narrator saying "That was easy." A Spanish version also exists, which says "Así de fácil" when pressed. And a French-Canadian version, that goes "Y'a rien d'plus simple." (Nothing's simpler).
    • Amazon offers Dash Buttons, which allow ordering of a specific product with the push of a button. The EASY Button has come into full reality, just not at Staples though.
  • Like many retailers, Think Geek celebrates April Fools Day by advertising bogus, and often bizarre, products. Some of them have subsequently been made into real products at their customers' insistence, the most well-known being the fully licensed by Lucasfilm Tauntaun Sleeping Bag.
  • Czech washing powder ads used to always compare their product to a "regular laundry detergent" on a Split Screen. "Regular" later appeared on shelves.
  • NASCAR: Toyota Racing did a "Sponsafy Your Car" contest that asked fans to go the Toyota Racing website and design their own paint scheme. In the commercial, a young girl named “Kimmy” designs a pink racecar for Kyle Busch. Then later, Busch drove the actual car in the Sprint Cup Series. Here's that commercial:
    Kyle Busch: "Who doesn’t like kittens, bunnies and little baby seals?"
  • Nescafé coffee had an ad campaign in the 1970s that showed people drinking from glass coffee cups resembling an Earth globe. This tied in with their slogan "If Nescafé can please the whole wide world, it can sure please you." Eventually, Nestlé made those cups available through a mail-in offer.
  • A Geico commercial "Do people use smartphones to do dumb things?" featured three office workers goofing off with stupid smartphone apps. One of those apps, the Brostache, became a real app available for download.
  • The main character, Alexandr, from the Compare the Meerkat campaign wrote an autobiography.
  • There was a World of Warcraft commercial where Mr T claimed to play as a Night Elf, Mohawk which didn't exist in-game at the time. Shortly afterwards it was possible in game to gain a mohawk buff thus allowing players to be Night Elf, Mohawks. Then it became possible for players to deliberately style their hair in this fashion.
  • Vat19 ran a Kickstarter to produce the Not-A-Cat Cat, which was a frequent Running Gag in Vat19's advertisements.
  • An ad for McDonald's Fillet-O-Fish in 2009 featured a singing fish similar to Big Mouth Billy Bass named Frankie singing "Give me back that Fillet-O-Fish! Give me that fish!" Shortly after the ad aired they released a real life version of Frankie.
  • Cheerios would often feature a red heart-shaped bowl in its advertisements because the cereal was "good for your heart". In the early 2000s they made the bowl available through mail order.
  • Derek Zoolander made the cover of the January 2016 issue of Vogue as part of the lead up to the release of Zoolander 2, giving us the "Blue Steel" of course.
    Michael K.: Anna Wintour must’ve gone on some kind of sabbatical and put someone with real taste in charge of the February issue of Vogue, because a truly worthy model has finally made the cover
  • "Limonana", a type of lemonade popular in the Middle East and made with spearmint, gained popularity in Israel before it actually existed due to a bus-only advertising campaign, that was meant to prove the effectiveness of advertising on buses. Only after it became popular, manufacturers actually started making this drink.
  • The video game Loot It is based on a type of puzzle gameplay shown in advertisements for Hero Wars and other web games that doesn't actually appear in those games.
  • In 2016, the International Fund for Animal Welfare created a Public Service Announcement disguised as a toy commercial to inform the public about the dangers of puppy mills and how to buy a puppy responsibly. Alongside the ad came a real-life Suzy Puppy, which was sold at pet stores, as well as given to each member of the UK Parliament.
  • In the 80s, Zest soap ran an ad campaign detailing the benefits of the brand's products, with much of the ads ending with someone drying themselves off with a towel bearing the "Zestfully clean!" slogan. The towels were subsequently made available via brand promotions.

    Alternate Reality Games 
  • Omega Mart: Prior to Omega Mart opening, Meow Wolf uploaded several parodical advertisements to their YouTube account, which went viral due to just how weird they were. Highlights from the "now open" ad include a "celebrity cameo" by Willie Nelson (clearly someone else with Willie's face deepfaked on), an employee spitting out an unbroken egg to fill a customer's carton, and a box of pet food taken off the shelf instantly being replaced by four smaller boxes like a fractal.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: From Batman to real life — The Wayne Foundation is an actual charity group dedicated to ending child sex trafficking. Connections to the Batman comics are deliberate, however, as Kevin Smith is a co-founder of the charity. They are using the name with the blessing of Warner Brothers.
  • Daredevil: In-Universe, thanks to reality-altering shenanigans in both Daredevil (Charles Soule) and Daredevil (2019), Mike Murdock, an identity Matt Murdock made up as a Fake Twin Gambit to throw his friends off the trail that he was Daredevil, became a real person of his own.
  • Diabolik: In 2012 the Italian knife-maker Maserin produced a reproduction of Diabolik's iconic knife as part of the celebrations for the comic's fiftieth anniversary.
  • The Flash: The Life Story of the Flash, ostensibly by Iris Allen. In-universe, the appearance of a copy from the future (owned by Professor Zoom, no less) let her nephew know she'd be coming Back from the Dead to write it by 1997. DC put out a Real Life version in 1998.
  • Froid Equateur: Chess Boxing was directly inspired by the comic by Enki Bilal.
  • The Mighty Thor: A gag in issue 7 of Thor sees Thor write Tony Stark's personal cell number onto Mjolnir along with a message telling people to call Tony with a later issue showing a message from Tony saying he no longer uses it due to Thor. You can actually call the number and hear the message.
  • S.H.I.E.L.D.: S.H.I.E.L.D. from Marvel Comics became real in 2021... or at least, proposed as a new joint government project. Mostly sharing the acronym with the comic book agency, it is a planned improvement on the existed NORAD system that protects the United States and Canada from air- and space-based threats.
  • Spider-Gwen: The titular character is the drummer in a punk rock bank called the Mary Janes, with one of their songs being "Face It, Tiger." Marvel would later release a short demo version of the tune.
  • Tintin: The new Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve has the same address as the Brussels flat in which Tintin lived in his early adventures: 26, rue du Labrador. (For the comic, Hergé had taken the address of his grandmother, 26, rue de Terre-Neuve (Newfoundland Street) and slightly altered it).
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Swerve's Good-Guy Bar was made into a real establishment at Universal Studios Beijing's Transformers Metrobase. Naturally, James Roberts, the writer of More than Meets the Eye, was ecstatic to find out about it.
  • Viz: Some of the worthless rubbish from the fake adverts in the British magazine has been manufactured and sold in real life, even the Elvis Presley Dambusters Clock Plate of Tutankhamen.
  • Werner: In the German comic, the beer Werner drinks, some of the vehicles, and the Horex vs. Porsche race were made into actual things.

    Comic Strips 
  • Knights of the Dinner Table:
    • The Tabletop RPG Hackmaster from the gamer comic. Rather than being created from scratch, the Hackmaster rules set was actually licensed from Wizards of the Coast and was, more or less, a reprint of the D&D 1st Edition rules with a great deal more snarkiness, genre savviness, and in-universe references thrown in. All but one page of the Players Handbook was written as though this were a book being published in-universe by the Hard 8 staff, including long diatribes about using male pronouns by default as a writing convention and insisting that female dwarfs have beards. Hackmaster has now entered its second edition (or fifth, since the first edition was published as the fourth because the KODT characters were playing fourth edition in the comic at the time the system was licensed), and been seriously overhauled into a new system, as Kenzer & Co's license with Wizards expired.
    • Dawg the RPG: A failed game designed by BA in which you get to play a dog. The rules were recently published in the back half of the double-sized KODT #150.
  • One FoxTrot strip has Jason finding a superpowered mace by the name of "Doomulus Prime". Blizzard put it in the game.
  • The "Lisa's Legacy" breast cancer walk featured in Funky Winkerbean has become a real event.
  • Li'l Abner:
    • The comic featured an annual event called Sadie Hawkins Day, an event where women would chase men down and forcibly marry them. To this day, schools often hold Sadie Hawkins Day dances in which female students are expected to invite boys instead of the usual arrangement. This, despite the fact that Li'l Abner went out of print over thirty years ago.
    • A Sadie Hawkins Day dance was actually a plot point in one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • The Thagomizer (the spiked tail on a Stegosaurus and similar dinosaurs) got its name from The Far Side, where it was named after "the late Thag Simmons". In an example of Ascended Fanon and just overall fandom, paleontologists have been using the name themselves, as they realized that the part did not have a standardized name before.
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • As a matter of principle, Bill Watterson always refused any kind of merchandising. This does not stop people creating pirate products. A pair of authors actually wrote a children's book called Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie. Watterson specifically never went into detail about what happens in the book to preserve the funny vagueness.
    • On a more positive note, a few scientists have replaced the term "Big Bang" with Calvin's more accurate "Horrendous Space Kablooie" since Watterson coined the term in 1991.
  • Some eateries offer a Dagwood Sandwich (originating from Blondie (1930)), though real-life versions tend to be smaller.
    • Dagwood's dreams of opening a sandwich business have been realized as of 2006... at least by current writer Dean Young.
  • Ken Maynards' Ettamogah Pub has been replicated multiple times throughout Australia. The one on the Sunshine Coast had to change due to a licencing problem.
  • Broom Hilda: Grelber appeared as a command in older UNIX systems. Typing in the command "Grelber" would have the computer insult the user.

    Fan Works 
  • A Creepypasta story called Pokémon Lost Silver led to a homemade Pokémon game based on the experiences of the story (download).
  • The ROM hack detailed in the creepypasta Pokémon Black (a.k.a. Creepy Black or Cursed Black to differentiate it from the official game of the same name) was turned into a real hack by fans, following the story to the letter. The only thing missing is the blank black cartridge mysteriously turning up at a local flea far.
  • Some of the technology detailed in Left Beyond was subsequently developed by the author, notably the handheld laser cutters and drone rover swarms. In fairness, the author was simply writing about projects under development at the time.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Cool Car, Il tempo gigante of the Ivo Caprino film Pinchcliffe Grand Prix. A real Il tempo gigante car was used to promote the film, e.g. driving around the Hockenheimring between races. The car originally had an 250 hp Cadillac engine but when Niki Lauda saw it he provided them with an 7,6 ltr, 550 hp, big-block Chevrolet engine. The car also has an auxiliary jet-engine, but due to EU restrictions the vehicle is barely permitted to be used at all save for exclusive TV cameos.
  • Toy Story:
    • In-universe, Buzz Lightyear is based on the lead character of the cartoon Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, itself based on the film Lightyear. The cartoon later got turned into a real series in 2000, while the film later became an actual film that released in 2022. Buzz also got his own actual action figure that, as implied in the Toy Story films, was highly sought-after and impossible to lay your hands on until mass production took over. This event was ported back into the movie world: in Toy Story 2, Tour Guide Barbie makes reference to it. Pull back to reveal an entire aisle of Buzz Lightyears.
    • It should go without saying, but just about any fictional toy in the films became a real toy, too, including the cast of Woody's Roundup, in both kid and adult collector's form. The latter becomes especially hilarious given a certain antagonist of a collector in Toy Story 2.
    • Until November 2016, a replica of Pizza Planet existed at Walt Disney World's Disney Hollywood Studios.
    • The video game that Rex plays at the beginning of Toy Story 2 was later made into a level for the tie-in video game for Toy Story 3.
  • There were actually two versions of the Nostalgic Music Box made for Anastasia. One was a plastic toy with Anastasia inside, while the other was based off the movie version.
  • The Detroit Zoo snow globe featured in Coraline is another example requested by fans. A replica of the Coraline "little me" doll has also been made.
  • Despicable Me:
    • The Sleepy Kittens book. Unfortunately though, it doesn't come with a small brush with which you can brush the kitties' fur.
    • The "it's so fluffy!" unicorn can also be had, complete with sticking out tongue.
    • Super Silly Fun Land opened in April 2014 at Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • There is actually a real-life version of the Shepherd's Journal created as a tie-in to Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as with a fake visitor's guide.
    • At Robo Games 2015, a real-life prototype of the neurocranial transmitter headband from Big Hero 6 was exhibited. It was tested by none other than Grant Imahara.
    • Wreck-It Ralph:
      • As Wreck-It Ralph is about the repentant villain of a fictional video game, it was inevitable for that fictional video game to go through the defictionalization treatment. And here it is. And then they defictionalize the concept of game jumping by having Ralph appear in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. And now Ralph has his own games on the Wii, DS and 3DS.
      • Somebody took the game Fix-It Felix Jr. and made it into a homebrewed video game for the Sega Genesis. There is also a Commodore 64 version complete with voice clips and SID chip reinterpretations of the music.
      • And for a time at both the Starcade at Disneyland and at DisneyQuest at Disney World, there were real Fix-It Felix Jr. cabinets that guests could play - without the need to put in coins.
    • Special-occasion desserts at Walt Disney World's Beauty and the Beast-themed Be Our Guest Restaurant include dollops of the "grey stuff" that Lumiere offered to Belle during dinner.
    • There are recipesfor the poison apple from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
    • Zootopia:
    • Ralph Breaks the Internet: When Disney first revealed the Disney Princesses' new Vanellope-inspired casual outfits, it seemed inevitable that said outfits would be defictionalized, much like the titular character's video game. These outfits are now available for purchase on
    • Winnie the Pooh: The stuffed dolls of Pooh and his friends, as seen in the live-action opening, were made available in limited quantities by Disney Store.
      • This is a double zigzag. Almost all of the major characters in A. A. Milne's book "Winnie the Pooh" were inspired by actual stuffed animals owned by the real Christopher Robin (Milne's son). Then Disney created very different versions of these characters for its animated features, and, of course, made them available as stuffed animals. The plushies seen in the live-action opening of the 2011 movie are Disneyfied versions rather than copies of the originals, which makes the limited edition replicas defictionalized versions of fictional products based on fictional versions of real products.
  • During the scene in Turbo when the people have a discussion about if Turbo should enter the race or not, someone's phone rings, and the ringtone is an Image Song for Turbo: "That Snail Is Fast". Verizon would offer the ringtone as a prize in their game "Turbo Racing League".
  • The house from Up has been recreated at full scale in Herriman, Utah. Disney approved of the house, and it was put on the market for sale to buyers.
  • The LEGO Movie, unsurprisingly, turned many of the creations from the movie into LEGO sets branded with the movie. (This includes "Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!".) Additionally, several of the mini-figures from the movie (such as William Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, and Michaelangelo the artist) that were just cameos or background gags were also made after their appearance.
  • There is material to make Bing Bong's bottomless bag from Inside Out, and some people have made his rocket.
  • In one scene of Finding Dory, we see children at the Marine Life Institute carry stuffed animals of Bailey and Destiny, whom are popular animals at said institute. In an odd example of a defictionalized product coming out before the film it was based on, the exact same plush toys featured in the movie were on sale at the Disney Store two months before Finding Dory premiered.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has a Running Gag about how the Peter Parker of Miles's universe once recorded a Christmas album. Lo and behold, A Very Spidey Christmas, featuring songs sung by various cast members, was actually released to coincide with the Christmas season. It features "Spidey Bells" and "Up on the Housetop" by the aforementioned Peter (Chris Pine), "Joy to the World" by Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), "Deck the Halls" by Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), and "The Night Before Christmas" by Earth-67 Spider-Man (Jorma Taccone).
  • In Osmosis Jones, Bill Murray's character mentions a "National Chicken Wing Festival" in Buffalo, New York. While the festival did not exist during the filming of the movie, this mention caused organizers to create an annual festival in Buffalo.
  • Practically every character from The Nightmare Before Christmas has been turned into a toy, but among plush merchandise adapting characters from the film, the vampire teddy bear has been featured a few times, acting more like a replica by turning a fictional stuffed toy into a real one. Human-sized reproductions of Lock, Shock, and Barrel's trick-or-treat masks have also been made.
  • Poppy's boombox from Trolls was made into an actual toy for Trolls World Tour.
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines: A real Pal Labs website was made to promote the film.
  • Fei Fei's Chang E doll from Over the Moon was made into an actual product.
  • In an ironic way, the "wrong face" emoji from The Emoji Movie has been adapted for use in some Discord servers.
  • The Rise of the Guardians merch includes a set of North's Russian dolls.
  • Turning Red:
    • Real life "Fur Baby" shirts (the shirts Mei and friends sold in the film) were made shortly after the film's release.
    • A real life version of Tyler's birthday cake was made and eaten to celebrate the completion of animation of the film.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: A website for Mario and Luigi's plumbing business was made to tie in with the movie, as was a Kitschy Local Commercial that aired during Super Bowl LVII. Calling the number mentioned in the ad will even direct you to a voice message from Luigi.
  • Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie:
    • Khalil's Jonah plush toy was defictionalized for the movie's merchandise line. However, the plush looks different than the one in the movie, as it wears a duck-shaped inner tube and has an open mouth instead of a smiling mouth.
    • The song "Billy Joe McGuffery", which is said to be perfomed by Twippo in-universe, had two full versions recorded: one by Chris Rice and the other by a kid chorus for a Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie-themed sing-along CD.
    • Moby Blaster, the arcade game mentioned at the beginning of the movie, was playable on the movie's website.

  • To promote Johnny Cash's "One Piece At A Time", a Tennessee auto-parts supplier re-created the jerry-built Cadillac described in the song.
  • Animusic originally created its "Pipe Dream" video as a CGI visualization, but Intel has made a functional version of the devices in the video, down to having notes play when launched balls strike the appropriate keys.
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket took their name from a fictional band discussed in a "Rock Notes" segment of a Monty Python album. Eric Idle, the author of the segment, once said that he nearly drove off the road when he heard the band mentioned on the radio.
  • In a similar manner, Heaven 17 are one of the fictional bands mentioned in A Clockwork Orange. A real band of the same name would form in 1980.
  • Gakupo, a voice synthesizer program, was based on the likeliness and voice samples from Japanese Singer GACKT. Then Nico Nico held a Vocaloid contest hosted by Gackt, where they asked him to sing the winning songs, Episode.0 and Paranoid doll. Gackt not only remixed Episode.0, but he also recreated the original Episode 0 video with the pictures of Gakupo replaced with pictures of Gackt dressed as Gakupo. And here's the version featuring Gackt dressed as a program based of himself.
  • The band Gorillaz originally existed solely as animated characters, but through CGI coupled with a clever projection system was able to make several "live" appearances.
    • The human band behind the cartoon characters have taken to openly performing as Gorillaz without the fictional trappings, save for some looped Gorillaz cartoons in their video wall.
  • Hatsune Miku has been able to make several live concert tours using a similar technique.
  • Hannah Montana — Hannah is a pretty creepy example. Disney now sometimes double-bills the character and the actress in the same albums and concerts, as though they were two different people.
  • Other fake Disney bands have become real. The Cheetah Girls also became a real band after debuting in a Disney Channel Original Movie (which was based on a book) — which, conversely, led to the need to phase Raven-Symoné's character from the first movie out of the third movie since she wasn't a part of the group outside of the movie world and due to disagreements with the rest of the cast. Although, in reality, you could just call them 3LW-2.
  • The cartoon band Dethklok from the show Metalocalypse released two albums of songs from the show, and there have been tours supporting said albums feauring the show's creators doing the songs. The band's two albums are the two highest charting death metal albums in the history of the Billboard 200 album chart.
  • The Blues Brothers. Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi still perform today.
  • There's a common Memetic Mutation about police wrongdoing which goes "nobody ever says 'fuck the fire department'"... so Vincent E.L. actually made a song with this premise, framed as being made in an alternate universe where "Firefighters Are Useless" applies and the rapper goes through the five stages of grief.
  • "Satanic backmasking" might be considered an example. A 1980s-and-90s hysteria held that The New Rock & Roll was creating Subliminal Seduction by using seemingly innocuous lyrics which, run backwards, vaguely sounded like Satanic messages. Following this, both metal and comedy musicians did this deliberately, For the Lulz. (Artists had already been backmasking for a while, but not Satanically.) The results, of course, actually sound like backwards talking/singing and are therefore unintelligible if listened to forwards. Playing the record backwards to hear the message often reveals a silly or comically mundane message, often lampshading the practice of backmasking.
  • Wilco had a song called "The Late Greats", which mentions "Turpentine" by non-existent band The Late Greats as being "the greatest lost track of all time". Inevitably, a real band called themselves The Late Greats a few years after the song came out - they have yet to write a song called "Turpentine" though.
  • Official replicas of the cool jackets worn by The Killjoys from the My Chemical Romance music videos are being sold in their online store.
  • There is a real-life Hotel California in San Francisco (the song came first).
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic
    • His song The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota was about an actual giant ball of twine in said state; however, it didn't feature "Welcome to the Twineball: Wish You Were Here" postcards or a "Twineball Inn" until he sang about them.
    • The over-the-top subject of his song "Frank's 2000 Inch TV" was defictionalized in 2009 when the Dallas Cowboys installed a pair of 2150 inch TV s in their new stadium.
  • Mr. Show:
    • Members of tool had a cameo in the show as the fictional band Puscifer. Years later, Tool lead singer Maynard James Keenan used the name for his solo projects.
    • Two sketches in the show include a rapper named Professor Murder. A dance-punk band would later take the name as a reference to the show.
  • The "Boy Gorg" shirt that Anna Kendrick wore in the Ben Folds Five video "Do It Anyway" was available from Cafepress for some time after the video came out.
  • In an easy to miss bit of dialogue in Um Jammer Lammy, Lammy says on her answering machine's outgoing message that her and the band have been in the studio lately recording. Assumedly, the album Make It Sweet! is intended to be the fruits of their labor.
  • In his and Pierre Delanoë's 1964 song Nathalie, French singer Gilbert Bécaud mentions a Moscow café named "Café Pushkin"... which didn't actually exist. In 1999, however, an actual Café Pushkin was inaugurated in an upscale Moscow district, and both Bécaud and Delanoë were at its inauguration.
  • The Legend of the Dogman: A song about a Wolf Man that started as a creepy prank and became popular enough to turn into a genuine Urban Legend.
  • A series of promotional photos from 2009 featured the indie rock band The Decemberists playing a fictional, complicated board game. Several years later, lead singer Colin Meloy and his wife, illustrator Carson Ellis, created an actual version of that game, which they call Illmat.
  • In 2009 Nine Inch Nails had an April Fools' Day joke wherein a 'new album' titled Strobe Light was announced, with a ridiculous-sounding track list and a large amount of guest artists; of course, there was no such album. Then in April 1st 2019, on Strobe Light's 'tenth anniversery', someone by the name of Seed9 (later revealed to be remix artist To Tom) released their own interpretation of what the album might have been like, consisting of bizarre song mashups.
    • The third volume of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score for Watchmen (2019) gives a fictional discography of NIN's counterparts in the show's universe, The Nine Inch Nails. One of the releases mentioned in the discography, the EP Heresy, was defictionalized and released in June of 2020, this time full of remixes of songs from The Downward Spiral.
  • One section of Pink Floyd's The Wall depicted the deranged rockstar protagonist starting a fascist movement known as the Hammers or Hammerskins. In a grim piece of Poe's Law, a group of neo-nazi skinheads in Texas decided that the name and symbolism were really cool, leading to a far-right-wing group that exists to this day, much to Roger Waters' horror.
  • The cover of Kesha's album High Road depicts a partially melted candle shaped like a bust of Kesha herself - her official merch site started selling actual candles based on the artwork.
  • Massacration was originally just a fictional band in the MTV Brazil sketch comedy show Hermes & Renato, serving as an Affectionate Parody of Heavy Metal cliches. However, due to fan demand, it ended up turning into a real band with two albums, even opening the shows of serious metal bands such as Sepultura.
  • Tone Lōc's "Funky Cold Medina" is the name of a song about a fictional drink that he uses as a love potion. After it became popular, several real cocktails with the name have been made.
  • The 2D idols of Tsukipro are fictional characters who release real music singles and post their Real Time stories on social media. As idols, the characters do a lot of acting work, and since 2015, they've done a combined play every year, with all the idols playing Alternate Universe versions of themselves. In 2019, the stage play adaptation of their stories started performing these plays in full. So, instead of getting backstage episodes about the characters performing, with only snippets of the actual play, we now get the actual plays in full, in addition to Trapped in Another World stories. So far, Tsukino Empire, Machine Elements, Tsukihana Kagura, and Zanshin have gotten this treatment.
  • Unknown P, a British posh drill rapper character, was initially created by comedian Munya Chawawa for his series of short Sketch Comedy YouTube videos. However, it turned out that Munya was actually a good enough rapper for Unknown P to get signed as an artist to Atlantic Records.
  • Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament created a list of songs for the Fake Band of Singles. Chris Cornell took it as a challenge to actually use those titles for real songs, and one of them, "Spoonman", named after a Seattle artist, wound up with an early version in the movie before the one recorded by Cornell's band Soundgarden.
  • One game designer decided to make a playable version out of the game featured in the Animated Music Video for "Californication".

  • Season 2 of Within the Wires sees the creation of official merchandise of in-universe painter Claudia Atieno's work, a large art print styled and labeled with fictional exhibition details as though it were sold in a museum gift shop. Real-life artist Jessica Hayworth creates "An art print of Claudia Atieno's "Child and Damselfly" from the Karikari Contemporary Gallery," an impressionistic work described in a donor-exclusive Bonus Episode #0.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Aside from Fray Tormenta, in 1965 EMLL decided to make Mil Máscaras, a character created specifically for movies, into a gimmick used by an actual luchador. This was also the origin of Huracán Ramirez.
  • There is an anime and manga from the 1960s called Tiger Mask whose title character is a pro wrestler (he inspired the creation of both King and Armor King from Tekken). The character was so popular that he became a real life wrestler at Korean and then Japanese wrestling events. He has been played by a few different people.
    • The same is true of Jushin Thunder Liger, named (and kind of modeled) after an anime series from the late 80s.
  • Similarly, Tommy "Tiny" Lister, who played Zeus in No Holds Barred, would continue to play the character into a short-lived WWF career.
  • Similar to above, Virtua Fighter's Wolf Hawkfield became a real wrestler in Japan from 1997 to 2000, portrayed by Jim Steele.
  • The crossover at times between MMA and pro wrestling doesn't just stop at the long history of crossover between the two in Japan or MMA moves being borrowed for use in pro wrestling (i.e. Samoa Joe's use of the rear naked choke as the "Coquina Clutch," Bryan Danielson's use of the triangle choke, or The Undertaker's first using the triangle choke followed by the gogoplata as the "Hell's Gate"), but pro wrestling moves being done in actual MMA competition. Trivia: It does look like the DDT example is basically an accident — but that's exactly how the pro wrestling version was "created" in the first place.
  • The Suicide character, originally designed for the TNA Impact video game, started appearing at real life events in late 2008. The gimmick has been used by multiple people (Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, Kazuchika Okada, Austin Aries, TJ Perkins, Caleb Konley) and briefly went by the name of "Manik" (Perkins still wearing the suit).
  • At 19'O Clock Girls Pro Wrestling 1st Anniversary Show, Tsukasa Fujimoto and Makoto had to defend Ice Ribbon from two invaders from Shiratori Pro, Big Devil and Kaoru Hoshi. Both invading wrestlers and their promotion are from the television show Muscle Girls.
  • "Stevie Night Heat" a show that only existed in the heads of Stevie Richards and Al Snow, was made an Canadian Wrestling's Elite event in 2013.
  • Arguably, the whole concept of Kayfabe.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Some PBS member stations (WCFE-TV of Plattsburgh, New York and WCVE-TV of Richmond, Virginia to name two) have renamed the street their studios are located on to Sesame Street. For that show's 40th anniversary, the corner of 64th Street and Broadway in Lincoln Square was temporarily renamed "123 Sesame Street", with a permanent Sesame Street sign being unveiled at the intersection of West 63rd Street and Broadway for its 50th.
  • Barney & Friends: The Barney doll and the Barney Bag were made into real products.
  • Donkey Hodie:
    • On the PBS Kids parents site, there's a recipe for Flying Flapjacks, as well as instructions to make Donkey's beach bongos and a tutorial on how to hoof dance.
    • The Bob-stacle Course from "Being Bob Dog" was defictionalized at the "Donkey Hodie: A Hee-Hawesome Adventure" event, but In Name Only, as the show's Bob-stacle course consisted of multiple activites, while this one just consists of carrying a ball on a bone-shaped spoon, an activity of which was not done in said episode.

  • Band Waggon, a BBC Radio comedy from the 1930s, featured a fictional cleaning product called Askitoff (slogan: Askitoff Will Take It Off), named after the star, Arthur Askey. Askey was prohibited from taking advantage of this new brand name by his BBC contract, but this didn't stop an unofficial product reaching the marketplace within weeks.
  • Radio Norwich used to be a spoof radio station which employed Alan Partridge. In 2006, a real commercial station named 99.9 Radio Norwich was launched (but was sadly shut down by Bauer Media Group in 2020).
  • After Jean Shepherd kept urging his radio listeners to buy the imaginary novel "I, Libertine" by "Frederick R. Ewing", the demand was so great that Ballantine hired Theodore Sturgeon to actually write it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer, an ever-so-helpful handbook given to members of the Imperial Guard in Warhammer 40,000, is actually available for purchase. It's filled with the amount of propaganda, disinformation, and blatant lies that you'd expect for the setting ("while sneaking up on the enemy, recite the Litany of Stealth to reduce your chances of being heard"). Also the lengthy "Blessing of the Bomb", to be recited after pulling the pin of a grenade but before throwing it to ensure accuracy.
  • White Wolf has produced a few published versions of Fictional Documents (Chronicles of the Black Labyrinth for Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Rites of the Dragon for Vampire: The Requiem, etc.), game symbols (clan pins for Vampire: The Masquerade, tribal glyph necklaces for Werewolf, and clan and covenant pins for Requiem), and even Tarot decks (one for Ascension, and one for Awakening) for its Worlds of Darkness. The darker materials above and many others were released under the label "Black Dog," White Wolf's in-universe analogue of themselves in Old World of Darkness (a subsidiary of Pentex, of course — so they naturally produce role-playing games that actually have the effects on children that Jack Chick warns of).
    • White Wolf's Arthaus, like TSR before it, also produced Tarokka decks like those used by the Vistani of Ravenloft. Though intended as game props, some people have used them as a Tarot substitute in actual attempts at fortune-telling.
    • Similarly, the Harrow deck from Paizo has been printed, and there are versions of the Deck of Illusions for sale.
  • Although its philosophical underpinnings were already well established in the real world at the time of writing, infosocialism was first codified and named in GURPS Transhuman Space as the basis of a speculative future economic system. Ironically, within the game world itself it wouldn't be invented until the 2030s.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Book of Exalted Deeds and The Book of Vile Darkness are minor artifacts that, when read, grant power to the reader if he is of the correct alignment. Wizards later released splatbooks by the same names that enabled you to make your characters more powerful.
    • It is possible to buy a Bag of Holding (nondimensional space not included).
  • Several legendary in-universe books from Exalted have seen print as sourcebooks in Real Life, including The Book of Three Circles, The White Treatise, The Black Treatise, Oadenol's Codex, and The Thousand Correct Actions of the Upright Soldier. Sadly, perhaps the most prominent and significant of these in the setting, The Broken-Winged Crane, only exists as a PDF containing material that should have been in Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals, but had to be cut for word count reasons.
  • Cyberpunk, across its various editions, featured repeated references to and quotations from Johnny Silverhand's songs as the frontman of the band Samurai. Obviously, these were text only. Then Cyberpunk 2077 came around, with a plot heavily focusing on Johnny, and real versions of the songs were recorded for the soundtrack.

    Visual Novels 
  • Zero Escape:
    • There were pre-order bonuses for all three games that were the watches/bracelets the characters in the game wore.
    • To commemorate the announcement of Zero Time Dilemma, a real life escape room has been designed after the game. For a limited time, fans can participate in a light version of the Nonary Game.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Monokuma plushies aren't just for sale, there are multiple places selling ones of various quality from spot-on to shoddy. It's probably only a matter of time before someone sticks a walking drone in one. Additionally, cosplays for just about everyone are easily purchased online and some of them can easily be used in any outfit, like Naegi's hoodie.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony gives us an in-universe example pertaining to the true mastermind. The killing game is an in-universe defictionalization of Danganronpa as a reality show, which is now in its 53rd season.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Fake Band Limozeen held a live performance. It included a guest appearance by Schenkel McDoo, the fictional lead singer of Taranchula, another Fake Band in the Homestar Runner universe.
    • Before that, Strong Bad's song "Trogdor" and Limozeen's hit song "Because, It's Midnite" appeared in Guitar Hero II and Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The Eighties respectively (the CD containing the songs was actually released in 2003).
    • Strong Bad has long used a lighter with the BMW logo on it. At the time, there was no such lighter in real life, but BMW would later give their license for BMW lighters, very likely due to Strong Bad's influence.
    • On April Fool's Day 2015, Strong Bad briefly discussed this trope in a parody of the ThinkGeek example (See "Web Original").
      "It's only fake unless enough of you say you'll buy one, in which case SUPPORT MY CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN!"
  • Sarge of Red vs. Blue once made an off-hand joke about turning his least favorite soldier into target practice being "the best game since Grifball!" Then the Forge map creator came out for Halo 3, and the makers of the machinima suddenly had the tools to design their own custom match type.
    • Bungie even went so far as to make the underground segment to an additional map, Sandpit, to the exact specifications of the original Grifball arena. Grifball is also extremely popular as a weekend playlist in matchmaking; there are even official leagues!
      • Hell, in Halo: Reach, it became an official game-type, with its own icon and Announcer line!
  • RWBY:
    • Rooster Teeth made a couple of clothing items seen on the show into actual merchandise, such as Ruby's pajama pants, Nora's Boop shirt and Jaune's Pumpkin Pete Hoodie. Not to mention actual Pumpkin Pete cereal, with Pyrrha on the box.
    • Professor Ozpin created a book called Fairy Tales of Remnant about stories from all over the world of Remnant, and made it part of the curricula of the Huntsmen Academies. Fairy tales are important in the show because they contain clues about the secret history of Remnant that only a select few individuals know. Rooster Teeth published the book as Professor Ozpin's personal copy, including notes he's made about each fairy tale, both to contribute to world-building and to drop plot-significant clues about the main show.
  • Genki Rockets, the virtual in-house band of Q Entertainment (Rez, Child of Eden, Lumines, etc.), have two real albums.
  • Dorkly's Mario With a Portal Gun was turned into an actual game—so now you can actually play Super Mario Bros. with a portal gun. Now let's just hope someone does the same with Mega Man and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
  • Ava's Oddish from Pokémon: Path to the Peak has been released as a promo card for the Pokémon Trading Card Game shortly after the miniseries was released.

  • A good half of the products in the MegaTokyo store were actually items worn by the characters in the comic. Piro comments in the first MegaTokyo book how no one was really sure what Largo's "cool thing" purchase was. Dom comments, "When we do, it'll be on our online store in less than two weeks. God bless America."
  • Achewood has two short stories "written" by character Nice Pete, as well as six issues of Roast Beef's 'zine and greeting cards (from this storyline) in the shop. Phoneballs exist now, though they seem to have been created independently of the Achewood strips.
  • The creators of Erfworld created a website for Hamstard, which was Parson Gotti's So Bad, It's Good (deliberately in its real world incarnation) webcomic before he got plotted into Erfworld. It's actually been up since before the comic that shows it was posted — hasn't been updated since then either. Presumably it'll get some fresh content when (if) he makes it back to the "real world".
  • In Chapter 150 of The Last Days Of Fox Hound, it shows what appears to be a LiveJournal account for Dr. Naomi Hunter detailing her activities, then it shows Ocelot reading that journal. Well, guess what...the journal actually exists
  • xkcd:
    • That Other Wiki has an impressively large list of life imitating xkcd.
    • After a joke about Rule 34, the author (and some, ahem, artistically-minded fans) went on to create a tongue-in-cheek site of guitar-in-shower porn.
    • When a gag hinged upon stupid YouTube comments being read back to the authors, YouTube responded by adding an audio preview.
    • Probably the most famous is Chesscoaster, inspired by this comic.
    • After the comic where Richard Stallman fights off Microsoft agents with katanas, some fans bought him a Katana
    • xkcd also managed to get this trope backwards with this infamous strip. Before this comic, there were only two hits on Google for "died in a blogging accident", but within hours of the strip going live, there were several tens of thousands. In future strips where Randall has referenced Google search strings, fans have been careful not to replicate them exactly when discussing them.
    • Shortly after the strip "Tech Support" was posted, a small ISP in England announced that they would actually transfer you to an employee who knows a minimum of two programming languages if you say the code word "shibboleet". No, really.
    • It is not unusual for someone to bring a sign to a protest reading [Citation Needed], or "Things are pretty okay"/"Anyone for Scrabble Later?".
  • Dinosaur Comics brings us a so-called children's book named Happy Dog the Happy Dog, written by webcomic author Ryan North and illustrated by Allene Chomyn. The book originally came from this comic where the T-Rex announces that he has written the book and quotes a few excerpts from it, namely, "Happy Dog the happy dog is the happiest dog on his street! He loves to play in the grass. Everyone you know will one day be dead!"
    • In one strip, T-Rex proposes the idea of urgent-sounding and overly-specific fortune cookie messages to be mixed in with the regular ones. Cookie Misfortune, a company already specializing in a somewhat similar idea, now sells official T-Rex Brand Fortune Cookies with messages either inspired by or directly taken from that strip.
  • Many examples in The Merch debuted in the comics they're selling. For example, Marten's iconic "TEH" shirt from the first strip of Questionable Content. (Unfortunately, Jeph Jacques has yet to perfect the AnthroPC.)

    Jeph has also been releasing music under the name of Deathmøle, the band from the comic, as well as one or two by Dystynt Hollerin, from a one-off reference in Overcompensating, a different comic entirely. As he says:
    Also it is extremely weird to have multiple albums' worth of music by a fictional (for now?) band.
  • The chupaqueso from Schlock Mercenary was originally a fictional food that resembled a burrito in appearance and sold at the Tacobufa restaurants and vending machines. After enough fans asked the author, Howard Tayler, finally posted a recipe.
    • A similar event transpired regarding the absolutely delicious-sounding Smutto.
    • The 70 Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries was published as an actual book. In the same vein as The Art of War, the published version is an annotated copy containing scholarly analysis of the Maxims. There was also an option for a defaced version, the copy given to General Tagon when he was a new recruit with handwritten commentary from a number of different characters.
  • as seen in this Shortpacked! strip.
  • This strip of The Non-Adventures of Wonderella features Hitlerella relaxing in a sleeved blanket adorned with swastikas. The Alt Text reads, "If anyone actually creates a blanket like this, do me a favor and never ever tell me."
  • The MS Paint Adventures website has a store where you can buy, among other things, shirts for all the kids and trolls in the latest series, Homestuck. The fans have also been working on coding some of the fictional computer programs shown in the adventure, most notably the PesterChum instant messaging service, now available here.
  • In Lackadaisy, access to the titular speakeasy is granted by showing a club-shaped pin, which was made available in their online store alongside their comics and prints.
  • One fan of 8-Bit Theater took their devotion a little too far by inventing and wielding the fictional sword-chucks. And then he lit them on fire.
  • Kevin from Kevin & Kell started an ISP in-universe named HareLink. Wanna hire them yourself? Granted, it seems more of a webhost than an ISP...
  • Girl Genius used to sell trilobite pins (symbol of the Heterodynes). Currently they sell winged castle pins (symbol of the Wulfenbachs) and fanged monster pins (symbol of the Jagerkin). Plus the comic books, of course.
  • In Brawl in the Family the Dededoll was originally a gift from Kirby to King Dedede, and then was later made available in their online store.
  • Skin Deep has Medallions and Borogove as examples of comic items that have made it into the real world.
  • In User Friendly, the Vigor Assistant for the Unix VI text editor is a clone of Clippy for Microsoft Word. Like Clippy, Vigor is a talking paper clip who gives too many annoying hints to the user. Some random hacker made a real Vigor assistant. This is an unusual example because Vigor is just a download and does not create a revenue stream (because no one would want to buy Vigor).
  • Spinnerette: Heather, our protagonist, has a spider plushie named "Mr.Webby" and fans of the comic can order one of their own.
  • Paranatural: The Clothing brand shirt worn by Isaac in chapter 3 can now be bought from Hive Mill.
  • Frenzy, a Fictional Video Game in The Bedfellows episode "Two Friends Play Frenzy", is now a game for sale on Steam.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

  • MIT Mystery Hunt: This puzzle was written seven years before one of the board games it involves.
  • Agloe, New York started out as a copyright trap by a mapmaking company. Later, someone opened an Agloe General Store at the indicated location.
  • In 2012, word spread across Bethel, Alaska (population 6,000) that a Taco Bell would open there. Bethel is only accessible by air or water. Residents were heartbroken to learn that the original rumor was a hoax, until Taco Bell picked up on the story and airlifted a taco truck with 10,000 tacos to the town, giving them Taco Bell for at least one day.
  • During The '80s and The '90s, there were persistent rumors of a super exclusive black American Express card only available to the ridiculously wealthy. Tired of having to explain this was just an Urban Legend, and realizing it was a pretty good idea, American Express introduced the Centurion Card in 1999, available by invitation only to those with $20 million net worth, for a $7500 sign up cost plus $2500 annual fee. It's made of anodized titanium.
  • Similar to the American Express example above, an urban legend had been spread for years about a woman who had been charged $250 for requesting the recipe to make Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies at her home - despite the fact that Neiman Marcus (a department store) didn't sell chocolate chip cookies. The rumor had originally been attributed to cookie maker Mrs. Fields, which was then misheard as Marshall Fields (another department store), which in turn was misheard as Neiman Marcus. An amused Neiman Marcus ended up developing a chocolate chip cookie recipe in response to the myth, which was available for free on their web site.
  • On October 6, 2014, Drew McWeeney of broke a story that Marvel and Sony were secretly working on a deal to add Spider-Man to Captain America: Civil War. As it turns out they weren't... until someone at Marvel read McWeeny's story and emailed it to the higher-ups, asking if the rumor was true. This led to some back-and-forth discussion between Sony and Marvel which in turn led to the first round of talks about incorporating Spider-Man into Marvel's films. Although the negotiations broke down, the Sony email leaks in December 2014 ended up more or less "confirming" McWeeney's original story that a discussion between Marvel and Sony had taken place, which (ultimately due to Sony's embarrassment over the leaks) led to a second, more successful round of talks between the two companies in February 2015, and a film deal was announced shortly thereafter.
  • Inverted in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series - the author's CD player became the basis for the MTM.
  • This one fits in Western Animation, Anime and Manga, Live Action TV and Movies all at once. Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Gear are real life versions of the wrist mounted communicators seen in Star Trek, The Jetsons, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Johnny Sokko And His Flying Robot, Predator, Dick Tracy, Knight Rider, Inspector Gadget and Centurions.
  • Tablet computers were first envisioned as DataPads in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey years before their real-life debut.
  • Also fitting in multiple categories, the YouTube series Man At Arms creates "properly-forged deadly weapons" (mostly Cool Swords) from nearly all forms of popular media.
  • A handful of food-related YouTube channels have videos dedicated to recreating food seen in various pieces of fiction as well, probably the most well-known one being Binging with Babish.
  • The 265-mile Paducah & Louisville Railway began operating in 1986. Its diesels wear a green and black paint scheme and diamond logo designed several years earlier by Louis Jaquith for his HO scale train layout depicting an imaginary railroad called the Paducah & Louisville. The real railroad licensed its name and trademarks from Mr. Jaquith.
  • The very act of cosplay, particularly in its more intricate examples, involves defictionalizing a character's Iconic Outfit.
  • The bridges on Euro notes were originally fictional — since there were twelve member states and only seven denominations, it would be impossible to choose real bridges without leaving several countries unrepresented. Then a designer in the Netherlands decided to build real-world replicas of all those bridges, thereby "claiming" them for the Netherlands.
  • Marijuana cigarettes, the staple of certain sci-fi literature stories, are slowly making their way into the market with brands such as Pure Beauty emerging, though at this time the products are mostly region-locked due to marijuana legalization not yet being nationwide in the United States. Hemp cigarettes are also entering the market with brands such as Freed, Qiwi, Plain Jane, Timbr, Redwood Reserves, Vance Global, Wild Hemp, and Green & Wild being available online.
  • A cult devoted to worshipping the Rescue Rangers character Gadget Hackwrench believed in the ‘egregore concept of energy’, where fictional creations would spontaneously start existing in the real world if enough people believe in them.
  • The Daily Beast was named for the fictional newspaper from Scoop.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Defictionalized, Defictionalisation, Defictionalised



A gore-soaked Slasher Movie featuring a killer pilgrim, brought to you by Eli Roth. Features some of the most over-the-top usage of death by sex yet to be put on film and a Running Gag of decapitations, which probably would have gotten Grindhouse an NC-17 rating were it not for some very strategically-placed film scratches. Ends with a shot of the killer humping a Thanksgiving turkey. Became a real movie in 2023.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / Defictionalization

Media sources: