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When a real-life institution is to be featured prominently in a series, it will be replaced by a fictional stand-in. This is done in part to avoid licensing issues, but also to avoid the problems inherent in twisting the institution to fit the specific needs of the show.

While this gives the writers the liberty to make necessary changes to the real-life institution, it does run the risk of giving the viewers an unintentional laugh. (Or occasionally an intentional one, as when the fictional version is used to provide a Take That! to the real-world counterpart).

A subtrope of Brand X. For fake products that are transparent copies of real ones, but with a letter or two switched around, it's Bland-Name Product. When this is done with a person, it's No Celebrities Were Harmed. When this is done with a city, it's No Communities Were Harmed. When this is done to entire countries or cultures, it's Fantasy Counterpart Culture. See Oceanic Airlines for a fictional airline often used whenever something bad is about to happen.

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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The English far-right National Front has had at least a dozen of these analogues over the years, most infamously the Norsefire Coalition from V for Vendetta.
  • In Ultimate Marvel, there are occasional references to "Camp X-Factor," which seems to be a mutant version of Guantanamo Bay (which itself, of course, is also known as Camp X-Ray); this is also a Mythology Gag.
  • Power Pack had a Baseball Issue that took place at Shea Stadium. The teams were the "Mecs" and the "Clubs", fictional counterparts of the Mets and the Cubs, respectively. Mention was made of another team called the Redhawks, likely a counterpart for another team. Which is quite odd given that Marvel normally uses real sports teams' names when such a thing comes up.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen universe does this with damn near everything, not just places but people and events as well.
  • DC comics have a variety of fictional stand-ins, one example being 'Zesti' for 'Pepsi', another, more meta example being the substitution of the 'Wendy the Werewolf Stalker' tv show for 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'
    • Notably, the Martian Manhunter has a crippling addiction to "Chocos" cookies. He used to have an addiction to Oreos, but the name was changed at some point without explanation.
    • STAR Labs, with its branches all over the world, is essentially the DCU's version of Bell Labs.
    • For a time in Wonder Woman (1987) Diana worked at DC's equivalent of Taco Bell, Taco Whiz.
  • In Runaways There is a chain of convenience stores called "Circle A" in place of the real life Circle K chain.
  • Empowered does this with numerous stores, foods, TV shows and websites.
  • An early issue of Invincible had a toy store named "Toys B We"
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac uses both Taco Hell and Taco Smell. Oddly enough, the series also averts this with the same example: when Nny is in heaven reference is made to a Taco Bell (along with a note not to sue the author because he is funny).
  • Warren Ellis' Ocean featured an interplanetary company called the "Doors Corporation", a reference to Microsoft Windows.
  • Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, as part of its World of Funny Animals setting, features various media and products that're animal-pun-named variants on real-world items. For example, a popular soft drink brand is called "Koala Cola." An early issue bills the soft drink as "the taste from down under," but a later issue makes clear it's the Earth-C version of Coca-Cola. Fenimore Frog refers to it as "the real thing," Coke's classic slogan.
  • In the Top 10 Spin-Off Smax, the dwarfs pass the time on their quest by playing "Malls & Muggers"
    "So we're in the lightning-powered goods department, and a sales-fiend is approaching?"
    "Avoid him! I'm throwing one nine-sided gnome bone."
    "A four? Oh, that's just great!"
    "Sorry, not good enough. This sales-fiend has eight persuasion points. He sells you a sandwich toaster plus five-year service guarantee."

    Fan Fic 
  • A (worksafe so far) Homestuck Kink Meme fill involving Asexuality in troll society features a parody of the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network. Since Alternian trolls are required to reproduce on pain of death, their version of AVEN is a highly illegal underground society. Thus, it becomes the Aconcupiscent Invisibility and Education Network.
  • In Hope for the Heartless, the language of Mrenagy is the world of Prydain's version of German. Also doubles as a Significant Anagram, since "Mrenagy" is the word "Germany" rearranged.
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    Films — Animated 
  • Shrek is packed with Fictional Counterparts, with most of the parodies being a twist on the name to match the medieval feel. Examples include Friar's Fat Boy (Bob's Big Boy aka Frisch's Big Boy in some parts of the country) and Farbucks (Starbucks).
  • Shark Tale: There are billboards for Coral Cola and Gup, among others. Some are so close that they actually required permission from the real companies, turning parody into product placement.
  • Zootopia has many of these which overlap with Punny Name as they all play off animal puns. Some examples include Mousey's, Targoat, Preyda, Lululemmings, Bearberry and DNKY (whose mascot is a donkey). The animators seem to be competing with how many real-life brands they can get past using animal puns, and the wiki lists at least 75 directly based on other brands.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 1928 film The Mating Call has as bad guys The Klan, but they're not the Klan, they're "The Order" and they wear black robes. (They do burn crosses.) The Klan was horrifyingly powerful in 1928.
  • Mexican Cantinflas film Su Excelencia, about the conflicts between Communism and Capitalism pretty much is one example after another:
    • Republica De Los Cocos: Coconut Republic, Latin America in general, a Banana Republic
    • Pepeslavia: Soviet Union, apparently a Commie Land
    • Dolaronia: Dollarland, United States, never seen but hinted to be Eagleland
    • Zambombia: Recently independent African nation
    • Salchichonia: Germany to the point that the name literally means Sausageia
    • Karamba: Hindu/Arabic , just a bilingual bonus to make you smile.
  • When Zack Snyder started his screenplay for the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, he assumed he would get permission to use real-life companies in his movie (as the majority of the movie takes place in the mall, he wanted real-life stores), but unfortunately every store turned him down, so he was forced to create an entirely fictional mall. It's funny because the majority of the film's exposition takes place in a coffee shop, which could have made Starbucks a lot of money.
  • In the Wayne's World films, ubiquitous Canadian restaurant Tim Horton's Donuts becomes the film's fictional Stan Mikita's Donuts. Horton and Mikita are both Hockey Hall-of-famers. Actor-writer Mike Myers grew up in Toronto, where Horton played; character Wayne Campbell lived in Aurora, outside Chicago, where Mikita played his entire NHL career.
  • Michael Clayton: U-North clearly resembles Monsanto, who obviously wouldn't have given permission to be portrayed so unambiguously evilly.
  • Singapore Airlines declined to let their name and branding be used in what would have otherwise been a justifiednote  Product Placement in Crazy Rich Asians, so the very similar Pacific Asean Airlines was created for the film
  • Mooby's in Dogma is a stand-in for both McDonald's (Egg-a-Mooby-Muffin) and Disney (bi-coastal theme parks).
  • Santa Carla is the fictional name of the town in the 1987 vampire film The Lost Boys. The film was actually filmed in Santa Cruz, CA.
  • Idiocracy is an interesting example, because all the water, drinks and basically all liquids in America, except for toilet water, have been replaced by Brawndo, a Fictional Counterpart of Gatorade. What makes it interesting is that they specifically mention this by saying that it "tastes like Gatorade".
    • Brawndo was created because they couldn't get permission to use the Gatorade brand. Fortunately for us, it's now a real product. It's an energy drink now, but it's still got what plants crave.
    • This was basically a recasting of the "Powerthirst" commercials on YouTube (with that group's permission) which themselves were parodies of energy drinks (most closely resembling Monster in their packaging.)
  • The 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street is set at fictional department store "Cole's", rather than real-life Macy's as in the original movie. Which just leads right back into real life as Coles is a mega chain of supermarkets around Australia.
  • Quentin Tarantino is quite fond of stand-ins, such as Big Kahuna Burger and Apple brand cigarettes in Pulp Fiction.
  • The "McDowells" restaurant in Coming to America is essentially McDonald's with a few minor cosmetic changes. This is hilariously parodied and lampshaded, in that the owner, Mr. McDowell, is very defensive about these cosmetic changes and lives in perpetual terror of McLawyers calling him out about this. For example, his Big Mick is most definitely different from the Big Mac: "They both contain two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions. But they use a sesame seed bun. My buns have no seeds." As for the similar logos, "They got the Golden Arches, mine the Golden Arcs." Later in the film, when McDowell is first confronted by King Jaffe Joffer, he is seen reading a McDonald's operation manual.
  • Based on the similarity of the logos, Lobster Shack in Easy A is clearly a parody of Red Lobster and Joe's Crab Shack.
  • The various main characters in Across the Universe, who all represent aspects of The Beatles' styles and personalities, eventually form a record label called "Strawberry Jam" (whose logo is a giant strawberry), which is apparently a stand-in for Apple Records, The Beatles' record company in Real Life.
  • Mac's workplace in Neighbors, may be one of accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers. The wall logo looks suspiciously similar to that of PWC's.
  • In Muppets Most Wanted, the trail of Thomas Blood involves finding artefacts at the National Treasure Museum, Berlin (for Berlin State Museums), the Irish National Bank, Dublin (for the Bank of Irelandnote ), but for some reason the actual Prado Museum, Madrid.
  • Okja features a multinational corporation named Mirando, which sounds suspiciously similar to Monsanto, another highly controversial agrochemical and agricultural corporation which also produces GMOs.

    Literature 
  • Animorphs has Zone 91 standing in for Area 51.
    • WAA (Web Access America) = AOL, Jeremy Jason McCole = Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Power House = Home Improvement.
    • John Berryman (Visser Four) isn't quite a Fictional Counterpart of John Barrymore, but he was a Shakespearean actor, though not a very good one.
  • In Pendennis, William Makepeace Thackeray had the hero attend Oxbridge University, whose counterpart was called Camford. Also, in Vanity Fair, several of the male characters attended the public school called Slaughter House — this is a reference to Charterhouse, which Thackeray himself attended — it alludes both to the real school being situated near a slaughter house and to the sadistic corporal punishment there.
    • Relatedly on the sadism issue, Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh has a Roughborough standing in for Rugby.
  • Older Than Television: The Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Creeping Man" (1923) is set in the British university town of "Camford", very obviously a Fictional Counterpart for one of the renowned university towns of Oxford or Cambridge.
  • Good Omens features a fast food chain called "Burger Lord," founded by Dr. Raven Sable's (aka Famine) company Holdings (Holdings) LLC, in which all of the food served featured no nutritional value whatsoever. Lest the reader think one particular company is being targeted, mention is also made of the company's mascot, McLordy the Clown.
  • Greg Bear's book Blood Music had the main character driving into Livermore, California and passing a Guinevere's Pizza. From the local description, this is fictional pizza place is exactly where a Round Table Pizza existed at the time.
  • In The Confidence-Man, Herman Melville satirizes writers of the time by giving them expies in the story; Charlie Noble is based on Nathaniel Hawthorne; Mark Winsome is Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the beggar is Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon includes a Linux analogue called "Finux", specifically so he could do what he wanted with it without being constrained by its real-life attributes.
  • Sarah Dessen's books feature Ume.com, which is Facebook in all but name. It even has a Mark Zuckerberg-like creator.
  • The Fault in Our Stars:
    • "The Genie Foundation" standing in for Make-A-Wish, perhaps because the (older teenage) characters describe going to Disney World as wasting your Wish and proceed to lose their virginity with one another on their trip.
    • Also, Free Catch All for Craigslist.
  • The Genesis Code has Umbra Domini ("The Shadow of the Lord") as a fictionalized version of the actual Catholic group Opus Dei ("The Work of God").
  • A recurring location in the Monk novels is the Belmont Hotel, described as being on Powell Street in Union Square. Based on descriptions of it, the hotel is basically the real life Westin St. Francis Hotel in all but name, the name change of course being because Westin probably wouldn't want one of their signature hotels to be tied to so many murder cases (at least four or five murder cases pass through this hotel during the book, and at least one murder is committed there).
  • Norwegian author Ingeborg Refling Hagen used this to excess when she wrote fictional children`s books (even under a fake name for starters), which eventually developed into pseudo-authobiographical territory. She wrote stories based on her own childhood, giving all her siblings suspiciously similar names (almost, but not entirely the same), including herself. As time progressed, the already Paper-Thin Disguise became more and more transparent, until she openly confessed the similarities and actually didn´t bother hiding them any longer.
  • Alien Night on Union Station has Trader/Raider, a virtual reality MMORPG that seems to be an amalgamation of Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen (MMO space sim funded by microtransactions and with new features frequently added) and Second Life (money earned in-game can be turned into real-life cash), with the addition of using actual ship cockpits as flight simulators (usually salvaged, but some rich teams use actual ships).
  • Peter T. Garratt's short story "The Next Big Thing" is set around the death of a writer working on tie-in novels to the fantasy-races-in-space wargame BattleSpear 20K, obviously based on Warhammer 40,000.

    Live Action TV 
  • Donald P. Bellisario series JAG and NCIS:
    • Often show the characters watching the news network ZNN — a play on CNN, of course. (Complete with very similar logo.) Sometimes watching it is directly in the plot, other times it's just on in the background...
    • NCIS features coffee from DC Blend (with a suspiciously Starbucks-like logo and cup), and Caf-Pow, a brand of caffeinated energy drinks frequently consumed by Abby (also available in caffeine-free "No-Caf-Pow").
  • Bones: The Jeffersonian Institute is a stand-in for the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Fresh Meat features Manchester Medlock University as a stand in for the real life University of Manchester.
  • In So Weird, the "Star Dot Star" company is a fictionalized version of Microsoft.
  • In Sons of Anarchy, the Sons are the fictional counterpart to the Hells Angels, the Mayans are counterparts to the Bandidos, the Niners are combined counterparts to both the Crips and the Bloods, and the League of American Nationalists are counterparts to the Aryan Brotherhood.
  • Most espionage series feature fictionalized counterparts of the CIA and KGB: U.N.C.L.E. in The Man From Uncle; CONTROL in Get Smart; KAOS in the same series is probably a Fictional Counterpart to SMERSH, itself a real-life spy organization that appeared in the early James Bond novels; Bond himself eventually faced SPECTRE (a terrorist organization with a similar modus operandi), which replaced SMERSH's appearances in the movies. In the movie The President's Analyst, government agencies denied permission to use their names after filming had started, so references to the "FBR" and "CEA" are obviously dubbed in.
  • Angel Grove, the setting of the first five seasons of Power Rangers, is generally considered to be the fictional counterpart of Los Angeles. More elaborate theories speculate that the name shift is the result of the show being set in an alternate history where England, rather than Spain, colonized California.
  • "NASADA" is a combination of NASDA and NASA in Power Rangers in Space, though NASA seems to also exist at other times in the franchise.
  • In the original Doctor Who series:
    • UNIT, the British paramilitary division that investigated alien phenomena, was indisputably stated to be a branch of the United Nations (the acronym standing for United Nations Intelligence Taskforce). The UN, however, complained about having its name associated with the 2005 series, when the Ninth Doctor referred it by the former acronym in "Aliens of London". By series 4 of Doctor Who and series 2 of the spinoff Torchwood UNIT showed a darker side to itself, by this point called the Unified Intelligence Taskforce. This incarnation of UNIT is shown to run secret prisons where suspects are detained indefinitely without trial, possesses a Self-Destruct Mechanism for the entire planet, and generally engages in other activities that the United Nations tends to frown upon.
    • In series 1 of the 2005 revival, Rose Tyler is shown as working in a department store called Henriks (alternately spelled Hendriks in other shots), another fictionalised variant of Harrods. The logos for the two companies are extremely similar.
  • CTU in 24 is either a stand-in for the CIA, the NSA, the DIA, or the DEA, depending on which season you're watching.
    • Not to mention Starkwood, which is a shameless copy of Blackwater (the private military company).
  • The Unit:
    • Blackthorne is also an obvious stand-in for Blackwater.
    • In "Report by Exception" in the same show, a fictional (unnamed) Latin American country is probably a stand-in for Venezuela.
  • Unnamed fictional counterparts to Premiership teams have appeared a number of times in UK drama.
  • Slings & Arrows is set around the New Burbage Festival, a William Shakespeare-oriented theater festival which is a thinly-veiled version of the Stratford Festival of Canada.
  • "Calsci", the fictional university in NUMB3RS, is basically Caltech in everything but name — right down to the full names (California Institute of Science vs. California Institute of Technology), and the location (somewhere in Pasadena.) Not surprising, considering several of the show's consultants are Caltech faculty, and some of the show has been filmed there.
  • In the original miniseries of The 4400, the lead characters worked for an organization that was called the Department of Homeland Security, but which functioned more like the FBI with its own agents and field offices (the real DHS is a cabinet department that coordinates the efforts of such domestic security agencies as the Customs Service, Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Secret Service, Transportation Security, etc.). Essentially this DHS was itself a Fictional Counterpart of the FBI, and a case of research failure. In subsequent seasons, it was renamed NTAC (National Threat Assessment Command) to correct this.
  • Smallville has occasionally featured the Department of Domestic Security (or DDS, which makes it sound like it consists of dentists).
  • Ben Browder's character in Farscape was an astronaut for IASA — the replacement for NASA. (NASA was happy to let the show use their name, but wanted to review the scripts; ridiculous, as they were only relevant for the first ten minutes of the entire series. Hence, IASA was born. As Browder says, "IASA, You-asa, My Ass-a."
  • CSI: "A Space Oddity": Star Trek has been replaced by a fictional show called Astro Quest. Aside from being a bit over the top, the show is exactly Star Trek with the serial numbers filed off — we're even treated to plot synopses for episodes, which mimic the plots of Trek episodes, down to the dialogue. Reenacted by the Lab Rats.
  • CSI: Cyber: When a sicko tried to crash a subway train in Boston, the endangered train was from the Yellow Line. Boston's MBTA system has Red, Orange, Green, Blue, and Silver train lines, but yellow is the color it uses for buses.
  • Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, and any other Dan Schneider comedy uses a whole lot of fictional counterparts to brand names, bands, TV Shows, just look at this list.
  • iCarly : The numerous Pear computers, pearpods, etc. as a stand-in for Apple.
  • Zoey 101 : The jPhone instead of the iPhone, as well as more of those Pear computers common to all Dan Schneider Nickelodeon shows.
  • Reaper: "Work Bench" is Home Depot, or maybe Lowes.
  • Chuck : "Buy More" is Best Buy (though they actually originally filmed at a CompUSA), and "Orange Orange" is Red Mago or Pinkberry. "Large Mart" is Costco, despite the latter having its name dropped in at least one episode.
  • Cancer Man/CSM from smoked Morley cigarettes, a stand-in for Marlboro.
  • Morley cigarettes are a stock Brand X prop standing in for Marlboro. They appear in such TV shows as The X-Files, Naked City and The Walking Dead.
  • Spooks does this a lot. One episode featured Not Robert Kilroy Silk joining Not The BNP.
  • Hannah Montana has quite a few of these, as do many other Disney shows.
  • In The Good Wife, ChumHum appears to be one for Google. "Whack-a-Mole" adds Scabbit for Reddit.
  • Elementary
    • The episode "We Are Everyone" features Not Anonymous (the titular Everyone) and Not Pirate Bay (Jamaica Quay). Everyone reappear towards the end of the season.
    • In "The Man With The Twisted Lip", a character is involved in smuggling Barnen Delight, a Italian candy egg which was banned in the US at the time because the toy inside was ruled a choking hazard; an obvious stand-in for Kinder Surprise, using the Swedish word for "children" instead of the German.
    • "The Games Underfoot" involves searching for a bunch of buried copies of an old, infamous game called "Nottingham Knights" for the Emeryvision. A character refers to Playstation, Xbox, and the Nintendo Wii by name however they use a fictional counterpart for the Atari 2600 and E.T. licensed game.
    • "The View From Olympus" is set around a fictionalised Uber called Zooss.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Sea Exhibitions stands in for Sea World.
  • In the Canadian cop drama Cracked the fictional Metropolitan Police stand in for the Toronto Police Service.
  • Community averts this completely by casting Subway (the sandwich company) as a major villain in season five.
  • Madam Secretary:
    • The second episode "Another Benghazi" introduces "Al-Harun" as a stand-in for Qatari Arabic-language news service Al-Jazeera.
    • Season 3 introduces the Africa-based Islamic terrorist group Hizb al-Shahid, seemingly a stand-in for Daesh.a.k.a.  They pointedly have a hard-on for pre-Islamic antiquities and infidel religious sites, vandalizing a museum and blowing up a historic monastery in Algeria in their first appearance. Oddly, though, Daesh itself explicitly also exists, featuring in one-episode plots in the first two seasons.
  • The Guild in Jam And Jerusalem is very clearly based on the Women's Institute.
  • Person of Interest has a lot of these, many of which make make repeat appearances throughout the series:
    • Newspapers New York Ledger and New York Journal standing in for the New York Post and New York Times. respectively.
    • Social networking site FriendCzar standing in for Facebook.
    • A Private Military Contractor named "Silverpool."
    • Allied Parcel Service, which uses distinctive brown delivery vans.
  • Arrow borrows the name Blackhawk from the comics for its corrupt Private Military Contractors, and in that context, it does sound a lot like Blackwater.
  • The Thompsons in the otherwise more or less historically accurate Boardwalk Empire belong to the "Ancient Order of Celts", most likely since the real-life counterpart, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, is very much still extant and wouldn't want to let their name be associated with the activities therein depicted.
  • Code Black takes place at Angels Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, which for all intents and purposes is Los Angeles County Hospital, right down to using the iconic edifice of the latter for landmark exterior shots. L.A. County really did open in 1930, its trauma room really was the birthplace of modern emergency medicine, C-Booth (called Center Stage in the show) was very real, and it really is the busiest emergency room in the nation. This is, of course, because the show was inspired by a documentary of the same name — a documentary filmed at L.A. County Hospital.
  • In Raven's Home, Chelsea ended up rich (until her ex stole most of her money) due to inventing the "Schmop", a parody of infomercial products such as the ShamWOW. It was essentially just a strong mop and bares a strong resemblance to the Smart Mop.
  • Cloud 9, the store featured in Super Store is clearly a rip on Wal-Mart.
  • In Fortitude, characters drink Blue Swan vodka instead of Grey Goose.
  • In Batwoman, the United States Military Academy is replaced by Point Rock Academy.note 
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Trial by Fire", there is a news channel called NNN.
  • The Partridge Family has several. Primary is the Partridge Family itself, which was loosely based on The Cowsills. In fact, according to some sources, the series was originally pitched to the Cowsills. Others, like a NOW clone called POW, made one-shot appearances in various episodes.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Wish Bank", the Department of Magical Venues, an infuriating Vast Bureaucracy, is a Parody of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
    • In "Cold Reading", Dick Noble, African Explorer is broadcast on the radio network Unified Broadcasting System (UBS), a reference to Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) which broadcast The Twilight Zone.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In contrast to the V for Vendetta example above, the RPG Fireborn averts this by featuring the BNP by name, but with the reincarnated dragons kung-fuing their way through London you'd be forgiven for not noticing.
  • Aberrant has the N! network, which is for Novas what E! is for celebrities in entertainment.
  • The people in the Champions Universe drink a lot of Nar-Cola, which (if you look at its logo) is a clear substitute for Pepsi.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Shien is based on Oda Nobunaga.
    • Irou is based on Sasaki Kojiro. In fact, Irou appears in Swallow flip, which refers to a mythical sword technique from Japanese legend, the Tsubame Gaeshi (or the Turning Swallow Cut). The technique was created by Sasaki Kojiro, legendary rival of Miyamoto Musashi.
    • Nisashi might be a reference to Miyamoto Musashi; a master swordsman well known for his Niten Style (2 sword combat style). Both the name and two swords are reminiscent of Musashi, and his appearance in Six Style — Dual Wield reinforces this reference.
    • Yariza is based on Maeda Toshiie.

    Video Games 
  • Early baseball video games were forced to resort to these, thanks to trademark protections on the names of actual teams. Common examples included the Baltimore "Eagles" and the New York "Americans". In later decades, the actual team names were licensed, putting an end to this process. The practice restarted when EA Sports purchased exclusive licenses to the NFL, forcing other professional football games like All-Pro Football 2K8 to create fictional teams. Player names are also licensed for video game and other usages, with most license issues being handled by the league's players association. Sometimes this leads to interesting results, like a game which uses actual team names (because the developer secured the license from the league itself) but made up players (because they didn't license player names from the players association). Due to NCAA regulations, all games with NCAA teams do this.
  • Ace Combat:
  • "Hannah Miller's" restaurant in Advanced Variable Geo is a fictionalized version of Hawaiian chain "Anna Miller's", Amish (yes, Amish) casual restaurants popular in Japan and Hawaii.
  • ATOM GRRRL!! has mentions of "MickDee's", "Wanda's", and "Subwich".
  • In the Call-Back scene from Telltale's Back to the Future: The Game, the label on the mall is JPPinney.
  • Out & About Burger in Backyard Baseball is the fictional counterpart of In-N-Out Burger.
  • In The Battle Cats, Package Doge has "Wamazon" for "Amazon", and in Dogumaru's description, it has "cBay" for "eBay".
  • Caligula has "Gossiper", a social network that is very clearly supposed to be Twitter.
  • Cities: Skylines:
    • The game features the infamous "Chirper", an in-game social network that residents use to voice compliments or complaints about how the player is running the city. The Chirper logo is a blue bird.
    • The game's fandom has widely adopted the term "Cims" to describe the game's inhabitants, obviously echoing the "Sims" in The Sims. It also connects to the Cities: Skylines developers' previous game, Cities In Motion.
  • Citizens of Earth has Moonbucks Coffee and FedUPs postal service.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has "McBurger Kong" restaurants. They feature a giant gorilla statue on the roof, which gets a team-colored headband when garrisoned, and change into a cowering pose if the building is damaged to unusability. The expansion also adds "McRoo Burger" for a level set in Australia, and "Massivesoft".
  • In Deus Ex: Invisible War, there are two coffee shops, Queequeg's and Pequod's. Starbuck is the first mate in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, Queequeg is the harpoonist, and the Pequod is the ship. Which is actually rather a subtle Shout-Out, as Queequeg's and Pequod's seem to engage in fierce competition even though they are just two brands owned by the same corporation.
  • Disgaea:
  • Eiyuu Senki: The World Conquest has Oda Nobunaga constantly ordering supplies from Amasson, though in that universe it's based in South America and not the USA.
  • Escape from Monkey Island features "piratised" versions of some well-known chains, like "Starbuccaneers" and "Planet Threepwood".
  • The Interchange map for Escape from Tarkov features a familiar blue-and-yellow-themed furniture megastore named "IDEA" (IKEA).
  • Fallout:
    • Adams Air Force Base in Fallout: Broken Steel is based on Joint Base Andrews (formerly Andrews Air Force Base).
    • The museum in Washington, D.C. is probably supposed to be the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, given that it has the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flyer. Other craft in the museum are said to have been built and flown by the United States Space Administration rather than NASA. The Virgo II lunar lander is strikingly similar to a real-life Soviet prototype that never flew.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, the doujin event ServaFes serves the same function as the real-life event Comiket, despite having major differences otherwise (it's located in Hawaii and is essentially a Fate Series-only event in universe).
  • "Wall Market" from Final Fantasy VII is supposed to be a play on "Wal-Mart".
  • The Fire Pro Wrestling video game series is populated with Fictional Counterparts of real Professional Wrestling federations from around the world, the rosters of which are composed of No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of real wrestlers.
  • Some tracks in Forza Motorsport. For example, Sunset Peninsula Raceway is a venue on the Florida coastline that includes a tri-oval approximately 2.5 miles in length and infield road course, similar to Daytona International Speedway. (Forza is not immune, as several older NASCAR video games also lacked Daytona due to licensing issues.) The series finally got the official Daytona track in the sixth game, along with a licensed NASCAR expansion pack that includes Homestead Miami Speedway, whose infield course is even more similar to Sunset's.
  • Gitaroo Man shows a "Burger Queen" restaurant in the background of the second level.
  • Gran Turismo: Throughout the series, due to lack of an FIA license, the Monaco GP course is renamed Côte d'Azur.
  • Almost everything in Grand Theft Auto is a fictional counterpart of a real thing, including cars, products, cities, and even the occasional real person.
    • "Cluckin' Bell", a pastiche of Taco Bell and KFC.
    • Tarbrush Coffee, parody of Starbucks.
    • One of the most hilarious in IV is Krapea, a brand of Swedish pre-assembled furniture... Much like IKEA.
  • In FAMOUS brings us Cafe Con Quistador, whose signs bear an amazing resemblance to Starbucks's, only in blue, not green.
  • The PC game Inspector Gadget: Global Terror has a tofu restaurant called O'Ronald's (read: McDonald's) as a major plot point.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising has "Divinipedia".
  • Kindergarten:
    • The player can collect, and in the second game battle with, Monstermon cards, which are a reference to collectible card games like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!.
    • In Kindergarten 2, the Huxley twins' family owns the company Applesoft, a blend of technology giants Apple Inc. and Microsoft.
  • Left 4 Dead gives us Burger Tank, which looks to operate a lot like most burger places.
  • In Little Busters!, Kud's grandpa sends things to her with "Fodex".
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, in Spider-Man's first conversation with Hank Pym, he mentions having had lunch at "Taco Hut".
  • Peter MacDonald in Metal Wolf Chaos ("Because, yes! The pen is still mightier than the sword!") is a reporter for the "DNN" news channel.
  • Modern Warfare:
    • In Modern Warfare 2, one of the levels takes place in and around a "Burger Town" joint based on Burger King. There's also a "Taco To Go" with a logo rather similar to Taco Bell.
    • The first level of Modern Warfare 3 involves taking out a radio jammer on top of the "Manhattan Stock Exchange". The final level, similarly, involves invading the "Oasis Hotel" in an attempt to finally kill the Big Bad.
  • MOTHER:
    • EarthBound:
      • The Runaway Five, which may not seem to be a Fictional Counterpart; however, in Mother 2, they were known as the Tonzura Brothers. They dressed in black suits, hats and sunglasses. Just like these guys.
      • The Japanese version had res "Come" trucks with a familiar-looking swirl logo. During localization, these became running stick figure logos.
    • Mother 3: The band DCMC is the Fictional Counterpart of AC/DC.
  • The girls of Neptunia do their shopping on Amazoo.nep, and Compa mentions that she found the location of the tutorial dungeon through DungleMaps. The reboot, mk2, gives us the Chirper social networking site.
  • New York City Bus Simulator has many examples of this and Bland-Name Product, such as Burger King becoming King King.
  • Ninth Rock has both MASA and Spacebook.
  • Pretty much everything gets renamed in Payday The Heist and its sequel, from organizations to gun manufacturers. The Federal Bureau of Intervention has much broader authority than the real-life FBI. The Murkywater PMC is known (to Bain, at least) to commit war crimes.
  • Koromaru from Persona 3 is a Fictional Counterpart of Hachiko. Even a year after his owner was killed, Koromaru would still go on the same walk that his owner used to take him on every day. Koromaru is eventually revealed have a human-like intelligence and joins the party as a Team Pet to avenge his master, who turns out to have been killed by Shadows.
  • Pro Evolution Soccer: Although its early instalments were praised for superior gameplay over its competitors, the series has been notorious for its lack of licenses, resulting in fake player and team names. They run the gamut from Bilingual Bonus (Bayern Munich in PES 4 is called "Rekordmeister", i.e. "record champion" - which they are in the Bundesliga) to As Long as It Sounds Foreign (as was the case between the 2012 and 2015 editions, except for English teams, which are always indicated by their region, such as "Merseyside Red" for Liverpool).
  • Project CARS, due to being unable to license the official Suzuka circuit, instead has Sakitto, a slightly shorter and hillier Suzuka knockoff that lacks the central hairpin. Likewise, Azure Circuit is a stand-in for Monaco.
  • Some of the civilians in [PROTOTYPE] wear New York Bets sportswear. At least one player for the Bets appears to be #5 Trillo.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked (part of the Ratchet & Clank series) has the "Vox" network (founded by Gleeman Vox, the game's Big Bad). Originally an illegal TV networknote , Vox has apparently become a legal network by the time the events of Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time take place.note 
  • Resident Evil 2 has, for example, a fast food wrapper from "Burger Kong" and a "Taxago" gas station.
  • One of the restaurants where you can buy food in the Saints Row series is Freckle Bitch's, an obvious parody of Wendy's.
  • Sam & Max Hit the Road features the roadside convenience store chain Snuckey's, based on the real world Stuckey's chain. Oddly enough, Steve Purcell got away with a reference to the real-world Stuckey's in Sam and Max: On the Road.
  • Shift 2: Unleashed ran into a licensing problem with Monaco. Because Codemasters (Formula 1 2010) holds the F1 license and all the related tracks, Slightly Mad Studios was forced to call the track "Riviera". They even tell players to guess which circuit the track is based off of on the website.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV lets you loot the ruins of several familiarly named stores, such as Shanel, Luis Witon, or the laptop-focused Appolo store.
  • Silent Hill is loaded with these all over the titular town, including a Queen Burger (later Happy Burger) restaurant (complete with the "bun halves" framing the logo), Vestal Gigastore (Virgin Megastore), and cardboard boxes stamped with "Fedy-X". Then there's Poston Market, Texxon gas, the (S)Hell station with the nautilus shell, the Circle 8 convenience store with the logo that looks a suspicious lot like that of 7-Eleven, and the AEC restaurant with the A&W motif. Oh, and buried somewhere in there is a legitimate Jack Daniels logo painted on a cargo door.
  • Sleeping Dogs has the Sun On Yee and 18K triads, standing in for Real Life Hong Kong triads Sun Yee On and 14K.
  • Solatorobo has "Stardogs Coffee" shops.
  • Space Quest:
    • Reoccurring through the series is Monolith Burger, with a giant "M" logo.
    • In Space Quest IV, stores include Sacks, WallMart, and Radio Shock — A Dandy Company. The last one got into legal trouble for parodying Radio Shack, a division of the Tandy Corporation (probably because all of their products were outrageously expensive, with virtually all of them out of stock). Later releases of the game changed the name of the store to Hertz So Good.
  • The Test Drive reboot has a Safeway lookalike store (Fastlane? Fastway?) in San Francisco, in the same location as the Safeway featured in Bullitt.
  • Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artifact has transport company "Eurochunnel" and a newspaper called "UK Today".
  • Undertale has "Mew Mew Kissy Cutie", Alphys's favorite anime, and its disappointing sequel, based on Tokyo Mew Mew and its disappointing sequel Tokyo Mew Mew a la mode.
  • Yo-Kai Watch features the mogmog Burgers restaurant in the video games and anime. While it looks just like a McDonald's (in fact, several Japanese McDonald's restaurants were temporarily re-designed as mogmog Burgers to promote the anime movie), its name comes from Japanese fast food chain Mos Burger.

    Web Animation 
  • The PriceCo Supermart in Banana-nana-Ninja! is an obvious spoof of Walmart etc. with departments like Black Market Organs, Mortuary, and Casino.
  • In Homestar Runner, distinctly Apple-inspired computers are branded as Tandy, which, ironically, was an actual real-world computer brand.

    Web Original 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The equivalent of NASA in Invader Zim is NASAPLACE.
  • Used repeatedly on South Park, including an episode about Harbucks Coffee and another on Wall Mart.
  • The Simpsons has done several, including a superstore called "Sprawl-Mart" with a large banner outside reading "Not a parody of Wal-Mart".
    • Also, see Nappien as Ambien (Lisa says Ambien before correcting herself).
    • Lisa has long played with Malibu Stacy dolls, a fictional stand-in for Barbie.
    • The Duff Man character is based on Budweiser's mascot Bud Man.
    • Lampshade Hanging: One episode featured the magical singing nanny Sherry Bobbins, who stated that she was a "totally original character just like Rickey Rouse or Monald Muck" (and she looked rather disgusted with herself for saying it, too).
    Homer: Did you just say Mary Pop-
    Sherry Bobbins: No, I most certainly did not!
    • Lampshade Hanging Again: One episode they go to Blockoworld, an amusement park based on these set of plastic building blocks called Blockos. On the way back home, Bart slips and refers to them as "Lego" and is then apathetic to Marge's good natured attempt to correct him.
    • The Simpsons also has Krusty Burger, which is a fictional equivalent of just about every fast food restaurant chain in the world — but specifically McDonald's. Lou mentions a time he'd visited neighbouring Shelbyville, and visited a place called McDonald's, which looked just like Krusty Burger but with different names for all the exact same burgers.
      Lou: I went to the McDonald's in Shelbyville on Friday night...
      Wiggum: The McWhat?.
      Lou: Uh, the McDonald's. I, I never heard of it either, but they have over 2,000 locations in this state alone.
      Eddie: Huh. Must've sprung up overnight.
    • This lampshading is then used to form a parody of Pulp Fiction's "Royale with cheese" foreign burgers comparison.
    • Lampshaded again in a more recent episode, in which Bart comments on the unfamiliar chains in a part of town they hadn't visited before, including McDonald's.
  • King of the Hill has Megalo-Mart, a stand in for Wal-Mart. Characters also are seen eating at Luly's, which Texans recognize as a parody of the statewide Luby's cafeteria chain. Luby's signature Lu Ann Platter, consisting of half-portion entrees with two vegetables and a roll, is the source of one character's name.
    • Earlier episodes, however, did mention Whataburger, a real-life restaurant whose headquarters are in San Antonio.
  • In The Berenstain Bears cartoon series, little Sister Bear and her pals are routinely seen playing with 'Bearbie' dolls, which are obviously meant to be the show's equivalent to Barbie dolls (to the point of gentle parody, as in the Golden-Furred Bearbie).
    • In the books Mama gets exasperated at the way that Sister keeps begging for the newest accessories, in a subtle Take That! to Mattel.
    • Brother Bear gets in on the act with Space Grizzlies, a bear-themed version of Masters of the Universe. The "mountain castle" playset is obviously Castle Grayskull; "Heero the Magnificent" is He-Man. The toyline got its own, in-universe big-screen adaptation!
  • Dan Vs. "The Salvation Armed Forces" has both the eponymous organization and Greatwill. There's also Gigundo-Mart, which lampoones Walmart and Sam's Club.
  • In the Transformers Animated episode "A Fistful Of Energon", Sari and Bumblebee are said to be off visiting — sorry, on a "fact-finding mission" at "Five Banners Roller Coaster Kingdom".
  • Kim Possible has the very often seen Bueno Nacho. Taco Bell has even introduced a food surprisingly similar to the Naco!
  • The Legend of Korra has a business magnate named Hiroshi Sato, who started as a shoe-shine boy and, thanks to a loan from a generous benefactor, was able to develop the Satomobile, now manufactured on assembly lines. Yes, he is Fantasy Henry Ford. Like Ford, he has sympathies with a not-so-morally upstanding group; Ford was a notorious anti-Semite, Hiroshi hates all benders and actively backs the Equalists, a violent anti-bending movement.
    • Since the series is set in the Avatar universe's equivalent of The Roaring '20s, the Equalists represent the fears of communism that existed at the time in the US and Europe- a fearsome movement spreading among the underclass who planned to subvert and destroy the established order and enforce total equality.
    • Meanwhile councilman Tarrlok, with his anti-non-bender policies and borderline police state, represent the fascist regimes and far-right movements that were growing in Europe and the USA at the time as a response to Communism, which much of the West saw as a friendly buffer against the nascent Soviet Union prior to WW2. Much like them, he has the support of most of the council and the Avatar until they realise just how far he's going.
    • And in the third season, Kuvira and her Earth Empire are a clear analogue for fascist regimes—she even has a gigantic railroad-mounted cannon powered by spirit vines which was obviously based on some of Nazi Germany's attempted superweapons and is motivated by a stabbed-in-the-back myth of her own design.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic seemingly based Equestria's three historic pony tribes on the militarist ancient Spartan State (pegasi), the inept Rennaissance-age Central European medieval mercantile republics (earth ponies), and decadent Dark Age Western-European feudal monarchies (unicorns).
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, most of the parody websites have the city the show takes place in the name, Elmore: There's Elmore Plus, whose name is a parody on Google Plus, but the site is more similar to Facebook; Elmore Stream-It, a parody of YouTube; Elmoreflix, a parody of Netflix; Elmore Buzz, a parody of Buzzfeed, and Elmopedia, a parody of Wikipedia. Some websites that don't have "Elmore" in it are Gway and Junk, parodies of eBay; Ramblr, a parody of Tumblr, and Fessebook, a more direct parody of Facebook. As for companies, there's Joyful Burger, a parody of Burger King. Since the show uses real-life backgrounds, technically all locations are fictional counterparts.
  • Danny Phantom had an operating system called Portals, a parody of Windows.
  • Ready Jet Go! has the In-Universe Cash Cow Franchise Commander Cressida, which is supposed to be similar to Doctor Who in that there are many Commander Cressidas.
    • The Deep Space Array, where all the kids' parents work, is an Expy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
  • Uncle Grandpa has Mart Mart. As the greeter puts it "Welcome to Mart Mart; the place to go when you need things for stuff."
  • In Sonic Boom, the Tomatopotamus series is one for...the Sonic franchise itself. The way the gang talks of it even echoes common fan topics, such as where it hit the Polygon Ceiling, debates on the protagonist's redesign, and why the latest game is never as good as the earlier ones.

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