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Product-Promotion Parade

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In a Merchandise-Driven work, there is often a scene or sequence where various characters/toys are introduced in rapid-fire succession. This will usually include a brief description or a short demonstration of each character/toy's abilities/gimmicks.

Unlike a commercial, where such a hard sell is expected, the Product Promotion Parade occurs in the body of the story/episode/issue itself. This usually happens in an Anvilicious plot-derailing way that leaves no doubt that the only purpose for the scene you just saw was to sell stuff.

May happen Once per Episode, only in the premiere, or on special occasions, depending on the work and the needs of the writers marketing. If the cast is small enough, it may be an Action-Hogging Opening Title Sequence or part of an Avengers Assemble scene.

A subtrope of Product Placement and Enforced Plug, and often a variant of Intro Dump. The commercial cousin to Big-Lipped Alligator Moment and Cutaway Gag.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Halfway through the Pokémon 3 cartoon short "Pikachu & Pichu", the characters run into a back-alley clubhouse inhabited by various never-before-seen Pokemon species. The mons spontaneously break into a two-minute song-and-dance routine to introduce themselves.
    • Similar sequences appear in the other Pikachu shorts as well, such as "Pikachu's Vacation" and "Pikachu's Rescue Adventure".
    • However it may have been presented elsewhere, the "Pokérap" introducing various Pokémon was soon removed from the Finnish showing of whatever Pokémon anime series apparently for being too much like this, i.e. a commercial being presented as if it were part of the content.
  • One infamous scene in Transformers: Robots in Disguise consisted of Scourge describing the abilities of other Decepticons. While some of these may have been legitimate, there's simply no other reason for him to say "Rollbar is all-terrain terror."
  • Tamagotchi:
    • The series contains a song by Lovelin called "Miracle Kitchen" about making sweets. The foods in question are items that can be made with the Tama Cafe Cooking! line put out by Bandai at the time of release.
    • The second opening features items like the Melody Violin, the Melody Charm and a brand of Tamagotchi cookies that were for sale in real life at the time it was broadcast.
  • This is prominent in Magical Girl anime that have toylines. The show will feature the heroine's Transformation Trinket and weapon in every episode, and will sometimes showcase minor pieces of merchandise from the same toyline. One example of this occured in the Ojamajo Doremi Dokka~n! episode "I Won't Lose To Hana-Chan!", which opens with a scene where the girls make crafts with items based off actual Ojamajo Doremi merchandise that was on sale at the time the episode aired.
    • There are episodes of Pretty Cure introducing minor toys from the toyline into the plot. Of all the installments in the franchise, HuGtto! Pretty Cure tends to use this trope the most:
      • If any character references Hugtan needing a certain sort of care (diapers, being carried in a baby carrier, some of her outfits), it's a reference to an actual product Bandai made for the Hugtan doll. It got to the point where some of these items were snuck into the script without having no plot relavance whatsoever.
      • The pink Melody Tamborine is used not just as the ending theme item, but as a toy for Hugtan, and the purple one is used during Twin Love's idol lives.
      • Episode 22 was probably a major example of this. Aside from the debut of the Twin Love Guitar and the appearances of Nagisa and Honoka, who got new dolls to promote the 15th anniversary, Hugtan has a diaper change scene and the girls make friendship bracelets to remind viewers to buy those items along with the ones the main episode promoted.
      • Episode 26 contains a scene in which the girls imagine Hana in various outfits, done in the style of Sun-Star's dress up stickers that were being sold at the time.
      • Episode 30 had the Cures recall past memories by using the Mirai Pad, since when you attach the Memorial Cure Clock and the Cheerful Attack Crystal to the Mirai Pad, a sequence showing memories of mini-games you've played in the past occurs, with a date for each one (or if you didn't play any of the ones shown, it is left blank).
      • Another 2-in-1 product promotion happens in episode 37, where the aformentioned friendship bracelets turn into the Mirai Brace.
  • Another genre this is prominent in is anime based on arcade card games, especially those of the Idol Singer type. One example is PriPara, which not only has episodes based on what's happening in the game at the moment, but also contains episodes with the sole intenion of selling other products. The worst example of this was episode 121, which featured a fashion show where the idols made thier own clothes, as well as an Imagine Spot featuring the return of the idol unit Triangle to promote the Awaken! The Goddess' Dress Design 3DS game. The episode also shared the same name as the game.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Spoofed in one FoxTrot Sunday comic. Jason draws a Slug-Man comic strip where each panel is a naked plug for a different Slug-Man toy, playset or vehicle, complete with a list of accessories and suggested retail prices.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Spoofed in Spaceballs, where Yoghurt has a scene talking about all the movie's merchandise to the movie's main characters.
  • Transformers has the scene where the Decepticons scattered across the world discover Megatron's location and converge on said location, which has the purpose of listing off the toys available in the movie's toyline. Even earlier when the other Autobots arrive on Earth and Optimus Prime lists off their names and attributes. At least in the Decepticons' case, Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Wayne's World parodies the trope when Wayne and Benjamin are arguing about Wayne and Garth's obligations after having signed a contract with a corporate sponsor. Wayne tells Benjamin he doesn't intend to sell out while he and Garth blatantly advertise various products.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Given how Merchandise-Driven they are, Super Sentai/Power Rangers and its sister shows Kamen Rider and Pretty Cure do this. Premiere episodes can usually be counted on to have a first transformation and fight scene that shows off the Transformation Trinket, the heroes' Ranger/Rider/Cure forms and their abilities (including the traditional Finishing Move), their weapons, and their mecha (in Sentai/Rangers) or motorcycle (Kamen Rider). The debut of an additional Ranger, Rider or Cure or a Super Mode later on prompts a similar blitz of showing off merchandising. And that's not counting other powerups accumulated along the way; if there are enough of them (and all three shows these days frequently involve series of collectible little powerup trinkets) then there could easily be a variant of this trope where something new is shown off every week near the beginning of the season. This does tend to taper off later on as the early powerups become So Last Season — but even then, the old stuff may be given one blatant last hurrah before it leaves store shelves.
    • Sometimes Super Sentai and Power Rangers have an episode involving their Combining Mecha switching between every possible combination, or Kamen Rider will have an equivalent fight scene where their Swiss-Army Hero uses all their different forms in quick succession.
      • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers justified doing this, though, as the enemy robot continually adapted to the formation they were using, so the Rangers kept switching combinations faster than it could keep up in an attempt to overload it.
      • Another justified example came from an episode of Power Rangers Wild Force. The Monster of the Week, Lion Tamer Org, was able to control the Red Lion and thus, caused the Wild Force Megazord to attack the Rangers. When the Rangers countered with the Kongazord Striker Mode, Lion Tamer Org was able to summon some of the other Wildzords and control them, leading to both him and the Rangers forming all sorts of unusual mix-and-match Zord combos to try and gain the upper hand (this was the first season where the toys were capable of such interchangability).
      • Lampshaded in Kamen Rider Revice. Just at the start of such a scene where Revi and Vice show off all of their forms, Vice turns to the audience and announces their "mid-winter showcase".
    • Power Rangers Turbo had a fully American-made movie prequel that had a several minute long sequence introducing every new vehicle to the Rangers and allowing them to drive their vehicles. Given how much of a toy giant Power Rangers can be, the purpose of the footage isn't even subtle.
  • Doctor Who: "Victory of the Daleks" has a lengthy and gratuitous sequence designed just to introduce all the different variants of the "New Paradigm" Dalek redesign, which in itself was suspected by fans as being largely motivated by a desire to be even more toyetic.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: Cheat Commandos viciously parodies this. Their theme song is "Buy all our playsets and toys!" (The toys, at least, are real, albeit as static, accessory-less figurines.) One episode even features a classic "roll call" introduction for a new team of villains, ending on "Each one is sold separately with rifle and gear!"

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The Transformers
    • The season premiere, "More Than Meets The Eye", has a scene where the Autobots prepare to confront the Decepticons at Sherman Dam. Jazz calls out each character by name, who transforms on cue, just because.
    • The second-season episode "Dinobot Island Part 2" has a scene in the Ark where various (new) Autobot characters introduce themselves by successively offering to help Teen Genius Chip Chase solve the episode's Negative Space Wedgie.
    • The Battle of Autobot City in Transformers: The Movie quickly introduces the new Autobots. Megatron also gets a new army of Decepticons upon being rebuilt into Galvatron.
    • Beast Wars did this too in the pilot episode. The small cast size made this bearable.
  • M.A.S.K. did this as part of Matt Trakker's Avengers Assemble in every episode.
  • Mighty Orbots: Simultaneously played straight and averted. Played straight in that the premiere episode has a scene where each of the robots is introduced, with a narrator describing their personalities and powers. Averted in that Mighty Orbots toys were never actually produced (production plans fell through).
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends:
    • Several episodes consist of nothing more than the Ponies dressing up in different costumes for no purpose other than to show off new merchandise.
    • Rescue at Midnight Castle was a bit better about this than the series it spun off, but still had some shilly moments, being an '80s cartoon and all. It's probably most obvious with the Sea Ponies—when they appear to rescue Megan and Applejack, they get an elaborate, jazzy Busby Berkeley Number that, while catchy, seems more intended to put focus on toy characters over serving any narrative purpose.
  • For a nine-season long toy commercial, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is surprisingly good at utilizing product placement In-Universe to at least make it feel like it's not just there to be promoted. That's not to say it doesn't have its moments, though:
    • As popular as the characters ended up being, the show's introduction of Shining Armor and Cadence—the focus characters of the Royal Wedding toyline—is quite forced. Their debut in the Season 2 finale requires the viewer to just accept that Twilight Sparkle has had an older brother and a foalsitter-slash-Cool Big Sis who were entirely off-screen and never worthy of mention up to this point. Both characters ended up requiring lengthy flashbacks that consist mostly of Twilight gushing about them because the two-parter was written in isolation from the rest of the season, so there wouldn't otherwise be time to establish their personalities and relationship with her in the 44 minutes they had.
    • The episode "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies" felt more like an ad for Breezie dolls than an actual episode to some fans, particularly in one scene near the end where Twilight Sparkle transforms herself and her friends into Breezies. Bizarrely, the Breezie doll line only had two characters available, and the ponies-as-Breezies were never made into dolls.
    • As did the end of To Where and Back Again when the Changelings transform into bright colorful fairy-beetle-moose things. It came right out of nowhere, created heaping amounts of Fridge Logic and even a Plot Hole or two, broke a number of aesops in previous and later episodes, and seemed to serve no real purpose aside from putting some new designs on screen that kids would want to buy. Again, like the Breezies no toys ended up being made by them, potentially because the new designs of them were controversial at best — even Ocellus, a new-style changeling who is a major character in the final two seasons, never got a toy unlike the rest of the "Young Six" and was replaced by Cozy Glow in the Stack'Ems set of toys.
    • Rainbow Power is the most hilariously blatant example of this in the show's run. The entirety of them on screen is them showing off the designs or dancing, which effortlessly fixes everything and shows the kids what to look for in Walmart, and then it is never so much as mentioned again in the show's run save for a single one-second throwaway gag among in Season 8 among the things Pinkie Pie lists off to unintentionally irritate the evil clone of Twilight Sparkle. It's like even the writers had no real interest in it and were made to put it in under duress.
  • Happens regularly in the various Strawberry Shortcake specials:
    • Housewarming Surprise opens with a slide show of Strawberry's recent vacation and all the friends she made during said vacation.
    • In the second special ( Big Apple City) there's a trip to Spinach Village in which Strawberry meets a bunch of new friends.
    • The title of the third Strawberry Shortcake special (1980s version) was Strawberry Shortcake: Pets on Parade, and that's what they and their owners literally do in one musical number.
    • The title characters in Meets the Berrykins get individual rhyming introductions from the Berry Princess.
  • The 1990s X-Men: The Animated Series introduction shows each character of the main cast, their name, and their signature power. It finally ends with a Mirrored Confrontation Shot with the Brotherhood of Evil (so you know which toys to buy for the X-Men to fight of course!)
  • The Simpsons:
    • Spoofed as part of a larger spoof of Merchandise-Driven kids' shows, The Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Choco-Bot Hour (described by a TV executive as being "barely legal"). The group's leader tells them to "put down those fun Mattel toys, we've got work to do!" This is followed by An Insert showing the characters' hands as they place the toys very carefully on a blank background to show kids what they should ask their parents for this Christmas. This also qualifies as Biting-the-Hand Humor, since Mattel was the first company to make Simpsons toys.
    • In the episode "The Front" where Bart & Lisa write The Itchy & Scratchy Show cartoons using Grandpa as their Beard, Grandpa is up for a writing Emmy. His competition includes the Action Figure Man episode "How to Buy Action Figure Man," which explains to children how to get their parents to buy them an Action Figure Man toy.
  • Care Bears had several sequences wherein new Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins were introduced. This is especially noticeable in the movies that were released in the series' heyday; but still comes up in later works.
  • The Futurama "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" episode features a segment called Purpleberry Pond, which parodies this. The plot is a very thinly disguised commercial for Purpleberry cereal (interspersed with "actual" commercials ... "actual" in the sense that while they're still part of the Futurama episode, in-universe they're supposed to be commercials), and the catchphrase of the villain is "I must get my hands on those healthy purpleberries!" Note that it's only the in-universe purpleberries that are healthy. The cereal itself is implied to be pretty much pure sugar.


Video Example(s):


The Pattyverse Paradox

The Krusty Krab-sponsored ''Captain Quasar in: The Pattyverse Paradox'' cartoon puts shilling the restaurant and its products first and foremost.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ProductPromotionParade

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