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The Red Stapler

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The situation where a work of fiction which features a Real Life product as a Prop has a significant effect on whether customers want to have that product. The effect can be negative or positive: it can increase demand or reduce it. This trope can also apply to goods and services (a film about a honky-tonk bar might increase enrollment in line dancing lessons, for example).

The effects of this trope are usually temporary; only in Urban Legends does a work "kill" a product for all time. In fact, demand almost always increases for a product featured in a work, even when the product is portrayed negatively; advertisers call this the "Homer Simpson effect". Demand can also increase or decrease for unrelated reasons, so beware of assuming that correlation means causation.

The Trope Namer is the red Swingline stapler prominently featured in Office Space. Swingline didn't make full-size red staplers; the one in the film was a black stapler painted red. Then life would imitate art, as people demanded a red version, and they got one. Outside the U.S., this trope has other names, too. Cooking shows are particularly prone to this: the U.K. sometimes calls this the "Delia Effect", after high-profile Cooking Show host Delia Smith, to the point that her publishers would let the shops know in advance what she was going to recommend. Australia calls it the "Masterchef Effect" for similar reasons.

Defictionalization is when the fictional product comes into existence because of this trope, largely as tie-in merchandise to the show that spawned it. Creators who are trying to evoke this reaction may be getting money from sponsors to feature their products or they might be producing the products themselves.

If a work increases demand for another work, that's the Colbert Bump; if it changes demand for a song, that's Revival by Commercialization. If it increases demand for a pet, that's Pet Fad Starter. If a name becomes popular because of a work, that's Baby Name Trend Starter. If it increases tourism for a certain location, that is Tourist Bump. Trend Killer overlaps with negative instances of this trope. See also Aluminum Christmas Trees, where something real but outlandish is shown in fiction and people think it must be fictional.

Examples with their own pages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • In the '90s, Gap made a commercial for khaki pants showing people dancing the lindy hop. The commercial did a better job of making people all over the USA start signing up for lindy hop lessons than making them buy the pants.
  • A rather sweet old advert for the Yellow Pages featured an old man looking for a book called "Fly Fishing" by J. R. Hartley. The ad proved so popular that the book was later written and published.
  • A 2002 ad for BT communications featured a rather special telephone. The public went crazy for it.
  • The grim nature of Puella Magi Madoka Magica was rather offset by some of the commercials that appeared during the breaks. The Morning Rescue advert, in particular, caught the eyes of fansubbers, to the extent that one group began editing it into episodes where it had not originally appeared. Demand for the drink shot up due to curious Westerners who, having witnessed the Memetic Mutation in progress, wanted to try it for themselves; as a result, J-List began stocking Morning Rescue in their online store.
  • Some Target advertisements had people wearing clothes with the Target logo on them; demand was such that Target wound up making them for real.
  • Volkswagen had a print ad for the Polo which showed a car with every part a different color (red doors, yellow hood, blue roof, etc.). Enough people requested a car like that that VW made the Polo Harlekin.
  • A commercial from the Dutch insurance company OHRA (in which a mother and her daughter try to pick up their purple inflatable crocodile at the lost and found of a swimming pool, but are met with severe bureaucracy) led to a huge demand for purple inflatable crocodiles, which until then only came in the color green. It also led to the phrase "purple crocodile" becoming a metaphor for obstructive bureaucracy.
  • The US National Dairy Council once put out a series of advertisements showing cows sabotaging the marketing campaigns of a company called Big Fizz Soda, replacing their ads with ads for milk. Nobody involved with the campaign thought to actually trademark the name Big Fizz Soda, so a soda company did so and promptly started selling their products under that name. Big Fizz Soda can still be found in drugstores and independent supermarkets.
  • Commercials for Windex would sometimes feature angry crows who would use "smear sticks" to dirty windows again. Smear sticks aren't real (or aren't called that, in any case), but home goods stores will occasionally get people asking for them.
  • Australian automotive accessories retailer Repco once had an ad that featured a motor enthusiast replacing his doorbell with one that made the sound of a revving engine (much to his girlfriend's disgust). They received so many inquiries about this, they started stocking a bell that made this noise.
  • A 2014 ad for UK supermarket Asda featured three identical garden gnomes fishing in a pond, staring in shock when a gnome in a mankini floats past on a lilo. This was to make some kind of point about the conventional gnomes representing "ordinary" supermarkets or something, but due to demand, they started selling replicas of the gnome. Mankini-gnomes already existed (one appears in Gnomeo & Juliet), but not this particular model.
  • The Compare the Meerkat advertising campaign (for an insurance comparison site) increased demand for meerkats as pets in the UK. Meerkats do not make good pets though.
  • In 2001 a commercial for Audi featured a Wackel-Elvis, a dashboard bobble figure of Elvis Presley wich performs by swinging his hips. The figure was only a prototype for said commercial. But that bobble figure lead to such a high demand that Audi had them manufactured.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Drops of God is an incredibly powerful example of this trope. Thanks to the miracle of Internet wine ordering, thousands of Japanese people are treated to a charismatic character's opinion of a specific wine on his quest to find seven specific varieties, and can then go and order those very wines and taste them for themselves. This has caused quite a stir in the world's wine industries.
  • K-On! did this with the characters' instruments, particularly Fender. For instance, Mio's Fender Jazz Bass is now popularly demanded in real life — even though the original is left-handed and the defictionalized ones are mostly stringed for right-handed use. The one main exception is Gibson guitars, mostly because they're hideously expensive (the Les Paul that Yui plays starts at around $2500 USD), although Les Paul clones are popping up marketed with the show's imagery.
  • Lucky Star: The show also re-popularised anime merchandise and conventions. There has even been talk in the city council to make the local high school dress code match the one seen in the series. In turn, the girls became official honour residents of the city.
  • On August 1st, the day the original Digi Destined first went to the Digital World, Digimon fans meet up in Dai-san Daiba park in Odaiba, where the Digi Destined met up on the third anniversary of their Digital World adventure. Many western Digimon fans will make a point to visit Odaiba when visiting Japan as well.
  • The classical-music industry in the Asia-Pacific region has reasons to thank Nodame Cantabile.
  • The eponymous character in Doraemon has a particular fondness for dorayaki, and when the show became a success, dorayaki also became extremely popular in Japanese bakeries and confection shops, not just in Japan, but in any region the anime is popular as well — for example, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and The Philippines.
  • Gintama apparently did this to wooden swords. it also helps that they were already ubiquitous in tourist shops and can't really be used as weapons (which means you can take them through customs more easily).
  • Initial D popularized the Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno/Corolla GT-S by virtue of its protagonist beating seemingly much cooler cars with one on a regular basis, simply with raw driving skill. It didn't help that the manga contributed to the car's high resale value, which made obtaining an 86 in good working order a challenge, let alone in mint condition.
  • Wish Upon the Pleiades is a lesser example, with Subaru cars. This one is a weird sort of stealth-Product Placement: it was sponsored by Subaru, but their cars do not appear in the anime—instead, the protagonist is named Subaru (a relatively common name in Japan), and the characters' magic brooms make car-like noises and have contraptions attached to them that look suspiciously like front-grilles of Subaru vehicles.
  • Clarice's Fairytale Wedding Dress in The Castle of Cagliostro. Former Princess Sayaka of Japan liked it so much that she had a real-world one made for her wedding dress.
  • Sports manga and anime, if they're successful, can create interest in that sport and cause many fans to take it up themselves — not just in Japan, but around the world. Among those manga and anime:
    • Captain Tsubasa tremendously helped the development of soccer as a whole in Japan, spurring the creation of the national pro league JFA and thrust the sport from obscurity to the second-most played sport in the country. Many Japanese and non-Japanese players credit it for their inspiration to play soccer.
    • Attack No. 1 and Attacker You! did this for volleyball.
    • Hikaru no Go wound up tripling the number of Go players in the world.
    • Chihayafuru did this for Karuta.
    • Summer Wars did this for Hanafuda.
    • Saki did this for Reach Mahjong (Japanese Mahjong).
    • Slam Dunk was a smash hit in not just Japan, but also the Philippines and Korea (and to a lesser extent, among Chinese teens in Malaysia). The manga was even credited by the Japanese Basketball Association for popularizing the sport in Asia, especially since a lot of the players in the Japanese league grew up reading it.
    • The writer of Rin! said that she received a lot of mail from fans saying they had taken up archery after reading the series.
  • Tiger & Bunny's entirely unexpected popularity in Japan has led to the spike in sales for items only tangentially related to the show. The most notable was a brand of cologne that resembled a bottle the main character, Kotetsu, owned. It was apparently of utmost importance to 2ch and /a/ to know what he smelled like. Sunrise noticed and decided that they'd start selling Kotetsu's oft-replicated hat.
  • As part of their 30th Anniversary for the Gundam franchise, Sunrise commissioned a project to build an actual 1:1 scale 60ft tall statue of the show's flagship machine, RX-78-2 Gundam. Downplayed in that unlike its fictional counterpart, the statue can't move due to the Square-Cube Law making it infeasible and maybe impossible, but Sunrise has stated they would like to eventually "upgrade" the statue to be moving.
  • Steins;Gate features the soft drink of Dr. Pepper prominently, although it calls it Dk. Pepper instead, probably because of lack of sponsorship agreement. Nevertheless, this anime series boosted up the sales of Dr. Pepper considerably in Japan. The makers of Dr. Pepper itself have noticed this, and later launched an official collaboration with the sequel series Steins;Gate 0.
  • Lots of anime fans start learning the Japanese language, to the point where anime and manga fans make up some 60 percent of Japanese language classes. This actually causes an issue in that especially older anime and manga, even if they seem mature of American audiences, were made for a younger demographic in Japan. As a result, many fans who use anime as a basis for learning Japanese can come off sounding extremely odd to native Japanese speakers; they may end up sounding like either Japanese teenagers or grade-schoolers (with the danger of coming off Totally Radical) or cartoon characters with purposely-idiosyncratic speech patterns. (Imagine someone learning English by copying child-aimed cartoons and you'll get the idea.) Similarly, the same can be said with Japanese dubs of Western products (including with those with a good amount of Woolseyism(s) for them)
  • Kids on the Slope has caused many people to get into jazz, particularly the '50s and '60s styles featured in the show.
  • Chanel lip balm increased in sales after being used by Victor on Yuuri in Episode 5 of Yuri!!! on Ice.
  • After Laid-Back Camp was released, the red Yamaha Vino scooter thar Rin used surged in popularity, enough to completely sell out its stock.
  • Negi Haruba, the author of The Quintessential Quintuplets, featured Miku Nakano wearing audio-technica's ATH-AR3BT headphones and later, their ATH-WS990BT headphones. This caused demand for both models to rise significantly. The company has recognized this, and gifted Negi with a set of the latter model as thanks. Ayane Sakura, who voiced Miku and her quintuplet sisters in a short commercial to promote the manga, also wore the former model as part of a Miku cosplay in promotional photos.
  • Between the mid 1990s and early to late 2000s, Japan had an obsession with hamsters and were frequently used as either main characters or supporting characters in various children's media. Examples include:
    • The Hamtaro series caused many children to get pet hamsters. Especially with the amount of episodes and spin-off material that aired throughout the 2000s including a couple video games.
    • Predating Hamtaro is the Hamster Club manga series which ran for 12 volumes between 1994 till 1995. The series received 4 video games that were released on the Gameboy Color and Gamebody Advance and a Playstation game. It even gained a short-lived anime adaptation and a single OVA release. The series caused tons of Japanese children and women to get pet hamsters.
    • Sayuri Tatsuyama's Pukupuku Natural Circular Notice manga series features a couple hamsters that serve as one of the main characters alongside Puku the puppy. The manga lasted from 1999-2004 with 10 volumes and 3 Gameboy Advance games. It also caused another surge of Japanese audiences wanting hamsters.
    • Sanrio got in on the hamster trend in 1998 by creating a Sanrio character named "Kuririn" from the Coro Coro Kuririn series. The eponymous character is a golden hamster who had seven children with Sakura, with his family and relatives all being different types of hamsters. The series caused children and women to become very fond of hamsters.
  • Akazukin Chacha received a surge in interest after Another Note revealed Beyond Birthday is a fan of the manga.
  • In 2019, a tweet was posted about the Area 51 raid saying "If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens". Shortly after the tweet was posted, Naruto got extremely popular, and people flocked to the stores to buy the manga and headbands.
  • The Sound! Euphonium anime was many viewers' first introduction to the euphonium, an obscure concert band instrument that doesn't get much real spotlight otherwise.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War resulted in fans flocking to YouTube searching for videos related to Soran Bushi.
  • According to one video, Ein of Cowboy Bebop prompted many adoptions of Welsh Corgis after his debut.
  • Bocchi the Rock!: Sales of the Les Paul Custom and the Yamaha Pacifica went up when fans were inspired by this show to take up the guitar themselves.

    Comic Books 
  • The German comic Werner heavily featured the beer from the then-small Flensburger brewery, which was obscure even in its home in northern Germany. It was known for being among the last few German beer brands sold in swing-top bottles. Then, when the comic popularized the brand, it got so popular in Germany that the brewery had trouble keeping up with demand. Then Werner made his own beer in the sixth book, which would be defictionalized (and stopped the free advertising for Flensburger).
  • "Fuck Communism" Zippo lighters only became popular ever since they were featured in Preacher. These were not made up by Garth Ennis, but originally carried by US soldiers in Vietnam, who would often stamp the message along with the name of their company or platoon.
  • The Transformers Wiki calls it the Bludgeon Effect: the franchise has many more toys created than there are characters in the TV show, and the Expanded Universe has a huge source of characters that you've never heard of and haven't even got a personality. The name refers to Bludgeon, a relatively minor character who became Decepticon leader late in the Marvel Comics run and stayed a prominent character in subsequent series — much more so than his unpopular toy line would have indicated. This most commonly happens to characters the IDW comics use to good effect; their toys' value online will skyrocket. The biggest beneficiary of this was not Bludgeon, but Ironfist, a character who had never been used in a story until a single appearance in an IDW comic and a Fun Publications comic. Good luck getting your hands on an intact version for less than $100.
  • While pornographic Tijuana Bibles generally feature in a very obscure subset of comic collecting, they saw a big surge of interest from Watchmen fans when that comic referenced the art form in a side-plot which explained in detail what they were. Tijuana Bibles continued to see surges in popularity years later with each new film and TV Watchmen adaptation.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Toy Story movies created a huge demand for many of the toys it featured.
    • It raised demand for simple plastic green army men so much that several companies started cashing in on it with video games and such.
    • Barbie dolls also got a boost from the second film, although Mattel's paranoia almost prevented this from happening. Pixar had wanted to use Barbie in the first movie, but Mattel said no, objecting to her being used as a Sarah Connor-esque badass. Then Mattel saw how the toys the movie did feature got a sales boost (particularly Mr. Potato Head), and they were only too happy to see Barbie used in the second and third movies (with something of a compromise in personality).
    • The Slinky company had previously taken the Slinky Dog off the market years before Toy Story. They brought it back because of the movie, albeit modified to account for the character and due to stricter safety regulations.
    • Toy Story 4 prompted demand for a movie-accurate Gabby Gabby doll. However, Gabby Gabby has strangely not received a toy apart from smaller-scale action figures and plushies. This has led to some enthusiasts customising dolls of the same scale and design (such as American Girl dolls, Disney Animator dolls, or Chatty Cathy) to better resemble the character. There did eventually exist a full-sized Gabby Gabby doll with accurate clothes and hair—but it is exclusive to Brazil having being made by a local toy manufacturer under licence. As to whether Thinkway Toys (or some other firm whom Disney has a contract with) would do a similar doll is anyone's guess.
    • As for Gabby's "very best friend" Benson, good luck trying to have one sculpted by a puppetmaker. A full-scale dummy can go for around several thousand dollars depending on how advanced the controls are. That isn't to say that a full-size Benson figure is out of the question as similar dummies can be had for under a hundred dollars—albeit as an entry-level dummy rather than a bespoke, professional-grade figure.
  • While declining sales caused the last of the creameries which manufacture the centuries-old Wensleydale cheese to teeter on the edge of closure in the early '90s, Wensleydale received a chance mention in the popular Wallace & Gromit shorts. Noticing the increased interest, the creamery persuaded Aardman Animations to endorse a Wallace & Gromit-branded cheese, which worked to rebuild Wensleydale into a thriving product worldwide. The Stinking Bishop cheese is also featured in a plot-critical moment in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit; sales of this niche culinary product rose by 500% after the film was released.
  • Despicable Me:
    • Real life carnival booths stocking real life Fluffy Unicorns have become a common sight.
    • More kids have been eating bananas as a snack since it's the Minions' Trademark Favorite Food.
  • After the release of The Little Mermaid, there was a frenzy for mermaid-related products and media, something which still continues to this day.
  • Sleeping Beauty: Many a Princess Classic in Western Animation will sport dresses inspired by or homaging Aurora's. A good amount of princess costumes in stores are based off it too.
  • Tourist visits to Norway spiked up to 34% after the release of Frozen, whose lore and setting was inspired by Norwegian culture and geography (even though the source material was written by a Dane). The country now hosts Frozen-themed family holidays to drum up publicity for those who are curious about the film's setting.
  • After Turning Red was released, popularity of red pandas increased rapidly, and many fans flocked to the zoos to see them, and some donated to wildlife centers to help save them.

  • 1Q84: During the 20 years of Janáček's Sinfonietta being available on CD, it sold 6,000 copies (so, 300 copies per year on average). Thanks to its inclusion in 1Q84 as a connection between lead characters Tengo and Aomame, the album sold the exact same number in only one week.
  • Silence of the Lambs, a book written by a criminalist and based on real events, managed to make police profiling and the profiling by female detectives more popular, even among actual police investigators. Before that, it was, to say the least, an underdeveloped (and questionably effective) investigative branch.
  • The popular children's novel Little Lord Fauntleroy created a fad for dressing little boys in the style of clothing described and illustrated in the book, based on outfits author Frances Hodgson Burnett had designed for her own sons. And a generation later, there was a backlash against that kind of outfit for boys by fathers who remembered how much they'd hated them as youngsters.
  • Kate Greenaway's illustrations revolutionized Victorian fashions by creating a huge demand for the simpler, more relaxed outfits she'd designed for her adult and child figures.
  • In 1933, James Hilton wrote a book called Lost Horizon, where the survivors of a plane crash stumble upon a perfect utopia called Shangri-La. The book is obscure now, but Shangri-La and what it represents — longing for a faraway place of beauty, spiritual replenishment, and supernatural longevity — stuck around. When Tibet realized that heavy logging of their old-growth forests was causing disastrous floods, they turned to tourism, found that it paid really well, and renovated a village, renaming it Shangri-La.
    • There was an even odder two-step version during World War II. When reporters asked President Roosevelt where the bombers for the Doolittle Raid came from, he blew off the question by joking that they took off from "Shangri-La." Shortly afterward the U.S. Navy launched a carrier named the U.S.S. Shangri-La (CV-38), which served until the Vietnam era.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The books have reportedly increased the popularity of boarding schools among children in Britain.
    • The books feature a magical beverage called "butterbeer", which people in real life have been wanting to try. A beverage of that name did exist in the Tudor era (as beer blended with butter, sugar, eggs, and spices, kind of like a 16th-centuy eggnog), but these days everybody seems to have his own recipe for it — including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Orlando.
      • There's also a soda called Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer, which is not affiliated with the Harry Potter franchise, but seems likely to have been inspired by it.
    • The books were also credited with a boost to the number of schoolchildren learning Latin, as the magic words for spells in the Harry Potter universe are normally a Latin (or Latin-ish) translation of the intended effect.
  • Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther, about a Bishōnen artist/poet who shoots himself when the love of his life marries the man she was already engaged to when Werther met her, was a huge bestseller in 1774, touching off a wave of copycat suicides. This cropped up again in Palestine in the 1930s when the book was published there. There was a huge demand for blue frock-coats and yellow vests as well, because Werther is described as wearing them. And the merchandise — Werther perfume. And the fan fiction (in the 18th century, yet). And the opera.
  • The Twilight Saga:
    • The town of Forks, Washington saw a 600% increase in tourism after the books and the movies came out, nearly all of it due to it being the main setting of the series. There have even been a pair of documentaries, Twilight in Forks and Destination Forks, made about how the town has been affected by this. The Twilight tourism has also rubbed off on neighboring towns, most notably La Push (home of Jacob Black and the Quileute tribe) and Port Angeles (the main town on the Olympic Peninsula, and where several scenes from the book took place).
    • The restaurant Bella Italia in Port Angeles, where Bella and Edward have their first date, received so many requests for the mushroom ravioli that Bella orders in the book that they added it to the menu under the name of "Bella's Mushroom Ravioli." The defictionalization was taken a step further in 2011 when the dish was made available by the restaurant as a frozen take-home entree.
    • Wuthering Heights is enjoying a revival thanks to Bella's fondness for it (coupled with Edward's derision).
  • The Count of Monte Cristo is the reason why the Chateau d'If, otherwise a random old prison in the south of France, is popular with tourists.
  • In William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, Cayce Pollard is a media consultant with an allergy to blatant commercial logos and certain fashions. She removes the label from all her clothes and wears drab black, grey, or white everything. She has one specific bit of clothing: a black Buzz Rickson's MA-1 jacket, a replica WWII flying jacket slavishly reproduced by Japanese clothing otaku, accurate down to the wobble in the stitching. Buzz Rickson's was real. The jacket was real. The quality was real. One problem: they didn't make them in black. They do now.
  • The Hunger Games caused a spike in the popularity of archery, particularly among young women, thanks to its Action Girl protagonist Katniss Everdeen being a bow hunter who makes heavy use of her archery skills throughout the books.
  • Christiane F., an autobiographical story about a teenaged drug addict from West Berlin, turned several, mainly German teenagers curious about a rather unfortunate product: Heroin.
  • The Da Vinci Code increased the popularity of the Mona Lisa, with hundreds of visitors wanting to view the painting because of the book and the film, as well as the part of the Louvre where the Magdalene may or may not be buried.
  • According to legend (though likely apocryphal), Sir Walter Scott's Anne Of Geierstein is supposedly the source of opals having bad luck; its protagonist dies shortly after her opal necklace is tarnished by holy water. The legend says that the book was popular enough that sales of opals dropped 50% in England after the book was published, and the market was only corrected after a large black opal influx from Australia. In fact, there is little contemporary evidence to support this claim.
  • This trope is the whole reason that we have The Shadow at all. Street and Smith was getting its clock cleaned in the detective-story magazine business in 1930, and so decided to latch on to a new gimmick — dramatizing their stories on the radio. They chose as a narrator/host character a mysterious, vaguely sinister figure that soon became known as "The Shadow" (a nod to a Charles Dickens character who was a hypothetical newspaper reporter). While he wasn't intended to do more than usher in the stories and never actually figured in them (think "The Cryptkeeper" from Tales from the Crypt), the public fell in love with the character and demanded to know more about him. Whereupon Street and Smith hired Walter B. Gibson to begin writing novel-length stories of The Shadow in a new magazine devoted to him. And the rest is history.
  • The story "A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound," from John Irving's novel A Widow for One Year, was made into a children's book.
  • It's been said that as much as a third of all tourism to Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest and least-populated province, is related to Anne of Green Gables, which is set there.
  • Clive Cussler: Dirk Pitt's signature orange-faced Doxa SUB 300T dive watch has become very popular. It was based on a watch Cussler actually ownednote . In fact, it was so popular that a fan started creating reproductions in 2001, decades after the original Doxa went out of business, and Cussler got the first in the limited run.

  • Avril Lavigne:
    • The music video for "Sk8er Boi" inadvertently resulted in a massive demand for Wilkesboro Elementary School shirts, much to the school's surprise and delight.
    • She also wore a Napanee Home Hardware t-shirt, a hardware store from her tiny Ontario hometown, for an appearance on Saturday Night Live. The demand was such that the chain began producing them in large quantities and selling them nationwide.
  • Sales of deodorant Teen Spirit skyrocketed with the release of the Nirvana song (and its accompanying album). And plummeted after the song faded away. Far worse than burning out. Not that Kurt Cobain knew Teen Spirit was a deodorant. He just liked the phrase after it was directed at him by his friend, Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna — he interpreted the phrase as a revolutionary slogan, but Hanna was merely lightly ribbing Kurt for smelling like his girlfriend's deodorant. Apparently he was quite disappointed to discover its origin. It's not nearly as clever as when he thought it was some kind of metaphor.
  • Thrift store and flannel clothing became popular after the mainstream success of various grunge bands. However, many of these bands were wearing them not to create a fad, but because they were the warmest clothes they could afford, and flannel clothing was (and still is) quite abundant in the northwest United States, where the Grunge scene originally developed. In fact the "look" becoming a fad annoyed many grunge artists, because they were playing in their everyday clothes in deliberate contrast to the excessive flashiness of 80's bands.
    • Neil Young raised (or lowered) the messy uncombed flannel look to a fine art. When he toured Japan in 1976, he was greeted in Osaka by hundreds of students in flannel shirts and jeans.
    • Sales (and prices) of Fender Jazzmaster, Jaguar and Mustang models, chosen by Cobain and his ilk as they were inexpensive, strange, unfashionable pawnshop guitars (and as Cobain had small hands and found the smaller necks easier to play) grew with Grunge's popularity. Similar, too, were the popularity of strange analog 1970's stompbox effect pedals grungers used to create their sounds.
  • During Beatlemania,
    • Anything a Beatle wore took off. One of the most famous is the moptop hair cut.
    • The Beatles connection certainly helped (and continues to help) sales of Rickenbacker, Hofner, and Gretsch guitars and basses, particularly those played by the band, as well as certain Epiphone, Fender and Gibson guitars, and Ludwig drums.
    • They were one of the first bands to use a Moog modular synthesizer (though The Monkees had them beat by two years), on the Abbey Road album in 1969, helping to pave the way for the popularity of synthesizers in pop music.
    • As far as studio technology is concerned, the fact that the Beatles used EMI REDD47 mixers, Fairchild 660 and 670 limiters, Neumann U47 and U48 microphones, and Altec compressors to record their music, often pushing them in radical ways to produce the groundbreaking sounds they made, has led not only to new interest in the genuine articles, but plenty of hardware and software recreations of that gear. Oddly enough, even by 1960s standards it was relatively old-fashioned equipment, and Abbey Road Studios was slow to adapt new technology.
    • When George first played the sitar in "Norwegian Wood", fans wrote to the label and to radio stations by the millions, asking what kind of "guitar" that was. Overnight, the sitar was transformed from a classical and sacred instrument to an exotic pop sound.
  • Nancy Sinatra's hit song "These Boots are Made for Walin" was credited with further popularising go-go boots in The '60s.
  • Queens of the Stone Age singer/guitarist Josh Homme's use of the rare Ovation Ultra GP electric guitar has increased demand and prices for original examples.
  • Dire Straits' decision to place Mark Knopfler's National Style O resonator acoustic on the cover of their 1985 album Brothers in Arms resulted in a surge in demand for the guitars, leading to high prices which continue to this day.
  • It has been observed that a number of hit singles, even after their sales started to decline, have enjoyed spikes in their sales when "Weird Al" Yankovic released parodies of them. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana once said, "I knew we had arrived when Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of us."
    • ...which was subsequently parodied on The Simpsons by having Homer (in an episode in which he briefly became a grunge-rock star) watch Weird Al parodying his hit song on TV. To take the pop-cultural references one level further, Weird Al now uses a clip of that Simpsons episode as part of the visuals shown in his concerts.
  • Men at Work's "Down Under" is catchy enough that despite only mentioning the iconic Australian product once in the entire song, it drove up sales of Vegemite on its release.
  • Marching-band inspired jackets remain popular since My Chemical Romance's release of The Black Parade.
  • Outkast's "Hey Ya!", with its repeated line of "Shake it like a Polaroid picture", helped boost the popularity of Polaroid cameras at a time when digital cameras were eroding their sales.
  • Due to Tommy Tutone's One-Hit Wonder known as "867-5309/Jenny", the United States has made said phone number invalid, except for businesses that buy it up for advertising purposes.
  • Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix drove up sales of the Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul in The '60s to legendary status; neither model were known as high sellers at the time. The Les Paul had been discontinued for years when Clapton and his peers started using it. Not only did Gibson bring it back to great success, it also drove up the prices of the original 1950s models to insane levels. A 1959 Les Paul Standard is the most expensive guitar in the world, all thanks to Clapton (and the fact that only 643 of the guitars were made). Meanwhile Fender was on the cusp of discontinuing the Stratocaster when it was famously adopted by Jimi Hendrix. Sales of the guitar skyrocketed afterwards and it remains their flagship model to this day. Sales of high-wattage Marshall amplifiers also increased, along with effects boxes like wah-wah pedals, distortion boxes and phase shifters.
  • Certain musicians such as Ricky Wilson of The B-52s, Johnny Ramone of The Ramones, and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana greatly increased the popularity of Mosrite guitars. Mosrites were obscure guitars, but they had became popular in punk by virtue of being cheap (the Ventures models being popular). Wilson also based the entire sound of the early B-52s around the guitar's other-worldly, surfy tone, making the instrument highly sought after in the Post-Punk scene. Nowadays, Mosrite guitars are rare and expensive because of the musicians who played them.
  • The use of cheaply made, red Montgomery Ward Airline electric guitars and Silvertone amplifiers by Jack White of The White Stripes (an attempt by Jack to make use of unconventional, limited, gritty, hard-to-manage-and-play gear as opposed to more popular and comfortable models) led to an interest in vintage lo-fi music equipment (and a reinterest in Garage Rock in general).
  • Brooks & Dunn's 1992 hit "Boot Scootin' Boogie", a song about line-dancing, sparked a renewed interest in line-dancing that lasted well into the late 1990s. The craze even inspired another song which lampshaded the sudden increase — Shenandoah's "If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)", which was inspired by a comment that one of the writers made after seeing a commercial for line-dancing lessons.
  • The saxophone solo in Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" led to hugely increased sales of saxophones everywhere.
  • The Roland TB-303 bass line synthesizer/sequencer was introduced in 1982, but didn't sell too well and production was ceased two years after its introduction. By the end of The '80s, the price of a used machine had fallen from its original price of $400 to under $100. Some machines were bought for next to nothing by Chicago DJs, who invented the Acid House genre on it by tweaking the sound generator while a sequence runs. When the genre became popular in the early Nineties, the TB-303 was so in-demand and sought-after, that its value had risen to multiple times its original price.
  • Analog synthesizers were almost worthless during the beginning digital boom in the late 80s, but grew outrageously expensive after they helped make and popularize new electronic dance music styles only a few years later.
  • One of the many reasons why the Yamaha CS80 is so expensive is that it's the key element in Vangelis' trademark sound, and many musicians want to sound like this. Just listen to the Blade Runner soundtrack.
  • This applies to almost every electronic instrument or related device made before 1990 and played by Jean-Michel Jarre, including guitar stompboxes and electronic organs (in particular, his famous sweeping string sound is made with a mid-class Dutch home organ and a phaser effect box). Add to this the fact that many Jarre fans and followers are electronic musicians themselves.
  • Subverted by Manta by Norbert & die Feiglinge, a song about a sports coupé made by Opel. What the song kicked off was not an increased demand (which was good in a way because the Manta was discontinued two years earlier) but a huge wave of jokes ridiculing the car and especially the drivers, which ruined its reputation for many years.
  • The Clancy Brothers were single-handedly responsible for sales of Aran sweaters in the US during the '60s and '70s.
  • The Kingston Trio's hit cover version of "M.T.A." in the early 1960s is supposed to have so badly damaged the reputation of Boston's Metropolitan Transportation Authority that it took its current name, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, shortly afterwards to prevent the acronym from applying. But things have changed in the decades since. "Charlie", the protagonist of the song, has been the MBTA's official mascot, as used on its "CharlieCard" fare cards, since 2004.
  • Depending on who you ask, Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" song has either sent a surge of folks to thrift shops, or just "increased foot traffic" with little to no increase in sales (as in the latter case with the thrift shops seen in the video and surrounding shops).
  • Far East Movement's "Like A G6" apparently resulted in people demanding to be able to fly in a G6, which Gulfstream Aerospace has not made, as they were still producing the G4 at the time of the song. They eventually got their wish in 2013 when Gulfstream released an actual G6.
  • Ylvis' "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" supposedly caused a surge in the sale of fox Halloween costumes.
  • Haircuts sported by the likes of Justin Bieber and One Direction, took off amongst teenagers at the height of their popularity.
  • The enormously successful 1892 song "Daisy Bell" preceded the popularity of tandem bicycles, and was probably at least partly responsible for creating the fad.
  • The Who's Quadrophenia album, as well as its accompanying film, has been credited for kick-starting the mod revival of the late '70s and early '80s. It also made Vespa scooters cool again.
  • The weekend that Beyoncé released "Formation", in which she mentions Red Lobster, the chain reported a 33% increase in sales.
  • A Japanese song made to promote fish called "Osakana Tengoku" note  not only increased sales of fish in Japan, but made children in the country more willing to eat fish.
  • The yellow heart-print Fernandes guitar owned by Hideto Matsumoto has become so iconic in the years after his death, that much of the merchandise sold today include that particular pattern.
  • The Saiai brand of saké enjoyed a surge in demand when Babymetal fans discovered the brand shares the same kanji characters with Moametal's given name. The Yui-no-Mizu mineral water experienced the same to a lesser degree.
  • Houston hip-hop producer DJ Screw played a major role in the popularization of purple drank, aka lean, sizzurp, or syrup, a drug created by mixing promethazine codeine cough syrup with soda pop. The Three 6 Mafia song "Sippin' on Some Syrup" solidified its reputation as a legal high of choice for chilling out. Actavis, maker of one of the more popular cough syrups for this purpose, eventually pulled it from store shelves in 2014 once they realized where most of their sales and popularity were coming from, not wanting to risk lawsuits.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported a large jump in caller traffic when rapper Logic's song 1-800-273-8255 (which is the number of the lifeline) began hitting the charts, with call rates increasing 50% the night he performed it live at the Video Music Awards.
  • The Tragically Hip's "Bobcaygeon" garnered interest in increased tourism of the eastern Ontario town of the same name. The largest community events in Bobcaygeon's history included a viewing of the Hip's last tour, and a candlelight vigil for their late frontman Gord Downie. Despite this, the song is not about the town but the name was included to complete a rhyme.
  • It's been reported that Invisalign sales have increased since the release of Billie Eilish's "bad guy," due to the video opening with Billie taking hers out. A few interviews also mention that Invisalign could be considered part of her image as a performer.
  • In one of the more bizarre examples of the phenomenon, BTS member Jungkook managed to cause a nationwide shortage of the fabric softener Downy in South Korea by simply mentioning he was using it to do his laundry. Once Downy caught up to demand, they later partnered with BTS to release fabric softener branded with their mascot characters.
  • Taylor Swift's 2020 quarantine album folklore caused a surge for Internet search for cottagecore aesthetic and sale of Aran sweaters.
  • Oliver Tree's iconic pink and purple Montbell windbreaker caused demand of the jackets amongst his many fans, but the actual jacket he wears is quite rare, so it lead to increased demands of any windbreaker jackets that are the same colors.
  • The popularity of "Baby Shark" lead to an increase in demand for shark-themed media.
  • Pendulum: Rob Swire's use of the Starr Labs Ztar Z6 model MIDI guitar controller on songs where he does vocals led to MIDI guitar controllers regaining popularity.
  • The Revelaires' The Joy of Knowing Jesus became a coveted collector's item among Alternative Rock fans thanks to the release of R.E.M.'s "Voice of Harold", a B-side in which Michael Stipe sings the album's liner notes to the tune and backing track of "7 Chinese Bros." On Discogs, copies of the album sell for at least a couple hundred dollars or so.

    Music Videos 
  • Virtually every music video is a commercial for both the artist as well as the fashion worn in the video.
    • A famous example is the red jacket worn by Michael Jackson in the music video of Beat It from Thriller, which led to increased sales, especially among black teenagers.
  • English electronic music duo Groove Armada released their single My Friend on 5 November 2001, and around Christmas 2019, the "Let It Rock" crop top worn by one of the female models in the video (believed to be the protagonist) is still highly in demand, although it's not known who produced it, or the identity of the actresses who wore it. As of 2022, it's still popular to the point people on social media really want it.
  • Katy Perry's video for "Part of Me" made the Volvo 200 series a somewhat popular car again, with the 260 model being particularly collectible. The version in the video was a U.S.-spec 240 GL 2.3 sedan, 1991 model year.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • A doll of the Pointy-Haired Boss was made, after fans demanded one, seeing one depicted in the Dilbert comic strip.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Mexican Professional Wrestling fans have made a tradition of wearing a replica of their favorite wrestler's mask when they go to the shows. This show of support also made inroads north of the border, with the success of masked wrestlers like Rey Mysterio and The Hurricane.
  • Wrestlers will often wear their own merchandise as product placement or simply as part of their entrance/ring gear. On occasion they don't have merchandise to begin with and their gear gains popularity, leading to this trope.
    • Kevin Owens's most iconic T-shirt in the WWE is one he made last-minute out of a regular black shirt and duct-tape. WWE would later produce their own version with a decal instead of duct tape.
    • The New Day attached their stable's logo to matching track suits as a way to get around the company's dress code. This would later be turned into official merchandise.
  • In Japan, pro wrestlers Antonio Inoki and Tiger Mask have done as much to popularize martial arts as Bruce Lee did in United States. Many martial artists unrelated to pro wrestling, like judokas, karatekas, amateur wrestlers and MMA fighters, have confessed being sucked into the martial arts world during their childhood by watching Inoki or Tiger kicking and grappling evil foes in the ring. The same can be applied to United States as well, given that many a sport wrestler can tell he begged to join the school club out of love for the WWF.

  • The Adventures of Superman inverted this trope significantly. In 1946, Florida-native activist Stetson Kennedy had infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan and learned its secret greetings and rituals, but the Klan at this time had grown powerful enough that the police were reluctant to stand up to them. He decided instead to pitch a story to the producers of The Adventures of Superman in which Superman takes on an Expy organization called "The Klan of the Fiery Cross". The 16-episode arc revealed the Klan secrets that Kennedy had discovered, stripping the Klan of much of its air of menace and mystery. As a result, new recruitment for the Klan dried up to almost zero within a few weeks of the initial episode broadcasts, and Kennedy and his episodes were regarded by some as "the single greatest contributor to the weakening of the Klan." Read more here.

  • In the Netherlands, after a show of the famous comedian Youp van't Hek in which he had a short skit about Buckler beer (non-alcoholic) not being manly, sales dropped so bad that shortly after, up till this day, you cannot buy Buckler beer in Holland. In other countries you still can.
  • RENT inspired an expensive clothing line to emulate the $5 rummage sale look.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker, based on a book, is likely responsible for the association of Christmas with humanoid nutcrackers wearing 19th-century clothing.
  • Before it became a symbol of gangsters during The Roaring '20s (and an almost symbol of douchebaggery now), the fedora was once a fashion accessory for women due to the late Victorian actress Sarah Bernhardt wearing it in her play called Fédora. Soon after, women wanted that soft felt hat as their symbol for women's rights, and about a few decades later, the hat had been passed down to men from gangsters to private detectives to Nazi-asskicking archaeologists as a symbol of badassery, and the rest is history.
  • The 1907 production of The Merry Widow, starring English actress Lily Elsie, paved way to the rise of the wide-brimmed overly-feathered hat that would remain popular during the rest of The Edwardian Era until the dawn of WWI.
  • In 1923, when the Broadway musical Runnin' Wild started playing an unusual yet lively piano stride number, it started a national sensation. And adding it with energetic dance kicks, The Roaring '20s Dance Sensation Charleston was born. The play was then almost forgotten, making it an early example of a Breakaway Pop Hit.
  • Hamilton is credited with causing a huge resurgence of interest in the lives of both Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, which helped turn Ron Chernow's 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda's primary inspiration) into a massive bestseller when the play was at the peak of its popularity; sales of Gore Vidal's 1973 historical fiction novel Burr similarly skyrocketed, with the publisher even advertising directly to Hamilton fans.note 

    Video Games 
  • BitLife has potential In-Universe examples if you're a CEO; experts may predict increased demand for your product if it appears in a popular TV show or movie.
  • Pokémon:
    • With so many Pokémon, treating every Pokémon equally in regards to official merchandise is nearly impossible. What ends up happening is that sales of a particular Pokémon's merchandise correlates strongly with which ones are showing up in other media, mostly the anime. It's not as predictable as you'd think, though; while the super-cute (Pichu, Jigglypuff) and the super-cool (Charizard, Zekrom) have had their runs, even weird Pokémon like Stunfisk get theirs.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon: Google searches and interest for malasadas shot up since the game's release.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The massive success of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time resulted in a massive spike in ocarina sales, specifically potato ocarinas like the one used in the game. Music stores sold out of ocarinas and couldn't keep up with demand. To this day, Renaissance Fairs still sell baby-blue transverse ocarinas, usually with a Triforce-like sign to indicate them. Songbird Ocarinas was the first to do that; they ran ads in Nintendo Power for at least 12 years up until its cancellation (from 1999 to 2012).
  • Team Fortress 2: Ask around any knife/blade shop and chances are they have had a number of people asking about butterfly knives, thanks to that globetrotting rogue, the Spy. The game is also responsible for the popularity of real-life hat obsession among its fans, though part of it is also due to said fans wanting to Cosplay.
  • After a Suwa Taisha-inspired shrine made its way into Gensokyo, the real-life shrine saw a significant increase in pilgrimages.
  • The town that Higurashi: When They Cry's Hinamizawa is based on had to build a new shrine wall because of the fans.
  • Guitar Hero and Rock Band have drastically increased the younger fanbases of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Rush, Kiss, and many other old-school bands, and given many other bands like Dragonforce big career leg-ups.
  • KanColle has also increased the sales of ship model kits in addition to its own action figures. Previously, there were not many buyers for less well known ship models; most collectors will only get famous ones like Yamato. Demands of less known ship models rose significantly as the game increase in popularity with many collectors looking for model kits of cruisers and destroyers as well instead of just the famous ones. Even more so now with other games like World of Warships in tow.
  • In Persona 3, one of the social links involves playing an online MMO themed around the Shin Megami Tensei series. The character involved in the link mentions that the MMO does not have a lot of players and is dying. Cue the defictionalization into Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE, a game based on the Shin Megami Tensei series where, following a very obscure release and some very bad choices on the developer's part, one of the most frequent complaints until it finally shut down in 2016 was that the game does not have a lot of players and is dying.
  • Gran Turismo has done this with its featured cars. the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX STi series of high performance rally cars were brought over by their respective makers to the United States thanks to the game. It also caused demand for the Nissan Skyline GT-R in the U.S. (even though it was in Development Hell at the time), although the final product that made it there wasn't nearly the same as what was in the game.
  • The appearance of a car resembling the Daihatsu Wake being worked on by Miyo Harada in a tie-in manga panel for THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage led to an increased interest in the car by her "producers." An official Daihatsu Twitter account even retweeted a post where a player bought a Daihatsu Wake because of the issue.
  • No More Heroes: While it's not really a big seller, you can still buy Travis Touchdown's sweet leather coat.
  • A bakery nearby the Valve company HQ enjoyed a spike in black forest cake sales after Portal's release and subsequent Running Gag.
  • One firearms blogger refers to this as the "Call of Duty effect"; video games will lead to the increase in popularity among certain guns. Modern Warfare 2, for instance, led to an increase in interest in the experimental and formerly obscure Bushmaster ACR rifle. The same goes for airsoft copies of certain guns; one company, KWA, had its stock of Beretta 93R machine pistols sell out in record time after Modern Warfare 2 featured it as one of the best sidearms in its multiplayer component. It's very disconcerting to gun enthusiasts, because many of these guys don't know Gun Safety, are out to "headshot some noobs," and want way more than could ever be practical. YouTube gun vlogger Nutnfancy has noted that these people will buy the "military grade" versions of these guns, with all the bells and whistles like in the games, regardless of whether they have a measurable effect on performance.
    • On the other end of the spectrum are "Wasteland Builds" where gun enthusiast gamers will build or modify rifles (usually AK platform rifles, though occasionally G3 clones too) to match the aesthetic or even replicate specific in-game weapons from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Fallout, or Metro 2033 series. Said builds tend to involve lots of duct tape, scrap metal, and forum posts with cheesy fake Russian accents.
  • The expansion pack for SWAT 4 featured a stun gun that held two cartridges instead of one. A few years later came the TASER X2 Defender, which holds two charges. Even better, around the same time was the TASER X3, which holds three.
  • Any fantasy-based game of reasonable popularity will quickly find its weapons and armour converted into LARP props. The glass and Daedric weapons from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Master Sword and Hylian Shield from The Legend of Zelda series, and several of the famous World of Warcraft pieces are frequent appearances at big meets, and there are even some examples of the equipment used in Minecraft, complete with the original blockiness.
  • World of Tanks has gotten in on the act. Scale model sales have gone up as a result of the game to the extent that some companies and stores even offer special World of Tanks bonus codes for buying specific model kits. On top of that, the game also has a virtual replica of the title tank from Fury. Oddly enough, with all the royalties being paid out, Wargaming has decided to go on a restoration spree by channeling some of the money they make from the game into restoring old tanks, ships, and planes to a showable (if not flyable/drivable/sailable) condition. Even their rival, Gaijin Entertainment, the makers of War Thunder has gotten in on this, and are also restoring old tanks and planes to further preserve them.
  • Super Smash Bros. is well known for its role in this effect: obscure franchises which receive representation in this series have seen their popularity explode following their appearance. Kid Icarus sees this the most: Brawl was largely, if not entirely, responsible for its eventual reboot. Fire Emblem also appeared in the west following Smash appearances. And EarthBound (1994) got Vindicated by History, and its predecessor finally released outside of Japan, thanks to Ness's appearance in Smash convincing people to give the game a second chance.
  • Similar to Super Smash Bros, Kingdom Hearts occasionally gives exposure to an obscure Disney property which proceeds to become much less obscure.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater has been credited, including by Tony Hawk himself, with providing a massive surge to the popularity of skateboarding and extreme sports in general in the early 2000s. Many young people from that time first picked up a skateboard after playing the games, and while it wound up a passing fad for many, a great number of professional skateboarders today credit the series with getting them interested in the sport.
  • Moira wields a Surefire 6P flashlight in Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Capcom anticipated this trope and launched a Biohazard-branded limited edition model as promotional material for the game.
  • After the Arknights character Skadi was given a summer-themed skin that replaced her weapon with a red orca plush, enough players flocked to manufacturers of similar plush toys to ask if they made them in red that at least one company made thousands of extra sales from it.

    Web Animation 
  • Zippo did not make cigarette lighters with the BMW logo on them until Strong Bad was repeatedly seen using a BMW lighter.

    Web Original 
  • Critical Role brought a Newbie Boom to Dungeons & Dragons, and especially its Fifth Edition, thanks to the success of the show. The Exandria setting created by Matthew Mercer for his table eventually got its own official campaign setting published by Wizards of the Coast. All of this was completely unintentional; Mercer has stated that he thought the series would last maybe six episodes before he and his friends just went back to his house and played there.invoked
  • LordKaT's renewed interest in the game Starsiege: Tribes during February of 2011 caused the number of online players to surge 300% (and earned LordKat the nickname "Savior of Tribes").
  • The Spoony Experiment: Spoony's review of the 1994 PC game Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead's Revenge had gamers hitting the used game stores and bargain bins in droves, searching for the obscure title. Which, in turn, nicely remedied his problem of not being able to find any info on it.
  • The goal of any given Let's Play is usually to show off one of the player's old favorites, in the hopes that people watching it try the game out for themselves.
    • Big name LPers are able to bring spikes in popularity to otherwise unknown franchises. Chuggaaconroy, for example, has helped the popularity of what were at the time relatively unknown games like Ōkami and Xenoblade Chronicles 1.
    • Indie developers have lately begun exploiting this by giving well-known Internet personalities permission to LP their games shortly after their initial release. Something Awful, the place Let's Play began at, even had to remove its rule about not LP'ing a game until three months after it came out because of the number of indie/early access titles people wanted to and were being given early permission to show off.
  • A popular e-mail urban legend involved a customer being charged an exorbitant amount for a Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe, and in retaliation was distributing it for free over the Internet. Neiman-Marcus did not even sell a cookie at the time, but began to do so after the rumor started. And they give away the recipe for free. The urban legend was previously told about many other popular recipes, including a red velvet cake supposedly offered (it wasn't) by the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. William Poundstone wrote about the phenomenon in one of his Big Secrets books.
  • Maddox, of The Best Page in the Universe, hates this trope, and directs his rant on the subject at Sideways specifically. He figures that, if you're so impressionable that a movie is going to radically alter your opinion on something, you don't have any business being allowed out of the house to begin with.
  • Wil Wheaton's TableTop series has had this effect on several of the games it's featured, and it's now not uncommon to enter your Friendly Local Gaming Store and see 'as seen on Tabletop' signs next to games. The most notable example of this is Betrayal at House on the Hill, which was out of print at the time it was featured on the series. Increased demand saw it get a shiny new edition it probably wouldn't have had otherwise.
  • Michael from Vsauce managed to do this to a word; his video titled "The Zipf Mystery" at one point talks about the word "quizzaciously" (meaning "in a mocking manner"), which is a word that's only appeared once in Google search results, at the time before the video's release. After the video's release, a subreddit was made and the word gained so many mentions all over the 'net.
  • In 2004, Sanei released a series of Mario Party 5 plush dolls. These plushes are notorious for fetching high after-market prices thanks to their usage in SuperMarioLogan and other similar series. The 7-inch Luigi in particular can go for over $300 (though its actual value is closer to $100).
  • Davie504: Davie has managed to spark interest in the bass as an instrument. Before, despite being considered one of the most important instruments in music, it remained relatively obscure outside of music fans. With his shift in channel audience to a more general audience, many more of the general public have been exposed to the bass and have picked it up themselves.

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible:
    • A mother in Finland once wrote an article stating that Kim Possible encouraged her daughter to take up cheerleading and martial arts lessons.
    • Fans credit this with Taco Bell's creation of the Crunchwrap Supreme, as it is very similar in concept to the naco. Taco Bell would also introduce Diablo sauce in black packets much like the ones on the show.
  • Played with in KaBlam!, which had a scene in an episode where Henry and June show the audience their poseable action figures. After it aired, kids across the US searched in Toys R Us/Wal Mart/Target for H&J toys. They don't exist.
  • South Park:
    • After the Lady Gaga song "Poker Face" made an appearance in an episode where the boys are playing Rock Band, the song quickly made it into the real game. Even better? So did Cartman's version.
    • The Casa Bonita episode affected the real version so much that they have to track down whenever the episode airs to accommodate for a potential increase in business. In 2021, Trey Parker and Matt Stone would end up buying the real-life Casa Bonita after it went bankrupt.
  • Inverted with A Charlie Brown Christmas; the special's denouncement of aluminum Christmas trees is credited with helping kill the fad.
  • Mondelez International, the makers of Toblerone, reportedly saw their share prices increase after the release of Neo Yokio and the famous "You don't deserve this big Toblerone" scene.
  • During its peak in The '90s, The Simpsons became the arbiter of what was "In" and what was "Out" in American popular culture.
    • The show's catchphrases, especially Bart Simpson's, became part of the '90s slang lexicon thanks to how often they were repeated. From "eat my shorts" to "don't have a cow, man" to "d'oh!", having a character quote The Simpsons is a great way to establish a show as a '90s Period Piece. A more long-lasting slang term to arise from the show is "meh", a verbal shrug of indifference which had its roots in Yiddish but was popularized by The Simpsons and later took on a life of its own on the internet.
    • It has been credited/blamed (depending on your perspective) for the declining acceptance of nuclear energy among Americans due to its portrayal of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, staffed by morons like Homer and his friends and run by a Corrupt Corporate Executive who, among other cost-saving measures, dumps nuclear waste straight into a nearby river to save money. The U.S. Council for Energy Awareness, a nuclear energy industry association, even sent a letter to the show's producers expressing their horror at how the nuclear plant was portrayed. Dan Sarto, writing for the Animation World Network, believes that The Simpsons damaged the reputation of nuclear energy far more than the Chernobyl meltdown; whereas that could be written off as simply the failures of Soviet engineering, The Simpsons portrayed American nuclear power plants as being no better.
    • School bands saw an increase in female sax players once Lisa became a popular character.
    • One episode inverts this in-universe, and then exaggerates it: Homer's signature blue pants are worn out and he looks for a new pair, but after a disastrous Super Bowl ad, blue pants are discontinued. After offering to use his head as a billboard, sales of blue pants surge and everybody uses them... even the Invisible Man.
  • Popeye and its use of spinach as a Power-Up Food led to people eating more spinach. Crystal City, TX has a statue of Popeye as thanks, since spinach is the city's staple cash crop.
  • Steven Universe got people to start collecting gemstones, prompting warnings to be sent out that certain minerals — such as lapis lazuli and (appropriately enough) malachite — are highly toxic.
  • After the season 3 premiere of Rick and Morty revealed that Rick was obsessed with the Szechuan dipping sauce McDonald's released to promote Mulan back in 1998, fans started clamoring for McDonald's to re-release the sauce. Not only did they oblige and release it in limited release in October 2017 followed by a wide release four months later, but McDonald's even sent series creator Justin Roiland a case of the stuff before anyone else got it!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Many young clarinet players picked up the instrument thanks to Squidward.
  • When the full trailer for Star Trek: Lower Decks season 2 aired, one of the scenes showed Boimler talking to a collector plate of Star Trek: Voyager's Tom Paris. Immediately after, it was revealed they thought ahead and made those very collector plates.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic created a craze for unicorn-themed media, as its protagonist was a unicorn. The craze still goes on to this day. Despicable Me may have also contributed to the unicorn craze, as one scene features Agnes winning a stuffed unicorn from a carnival. Replicas of this specific stuffed unicorn are a popular prize at carnivals and state fairs.

  • Found Item Clothing re-creates T-shirts seen in films, and AbbyShot Clothiers has more or less devoted its entire line of clothing to faithfully reproducing coats and others apparel originally seen in video games, movies, and anime.
  • University of Nevada hoodies were sold out from the university online store after pictures of Nevada-tan surfaced. Nevada-tan is the Internet nickname for a Japanese girl who murdered a classmate in 2004, deriving from a widely published photograph of her wearing a University of Nevada hoodie. The store temporarily withdrew the hoodie from sale after learning the reason for the sudden increase in demand.
  • A bizarre example of the news having this effect: following the revelation that former Russian spy Alexander Litvenenko had been poisoned with the radioactive element polonium, a Polish restaurant in Sheffield called Polonium saw its bookings skyrocket. This is probably the result of Sheffielders Googling the element and finding the website of the restaurant in the search.
  • When Chef Paul Prudhomme first introduced his famous recipe for blackened redfish, it became so popular that it put the redfish on the endangered species list.
  • Major sports events every year inspire thousands of people to discover their inner athlete and suddenly take up said sport, only to give it up a couple of weeks after said event is over. Happens very prominently with less popular recreational sports such as tennis (try getting a public court when Wimbledon is on in the UK).
  • U.S. presidents have been known to affect demand for things they like, but John F. Kennedy was one of the biggest. When word circulated that he could read 1600 words per minute, attendance in speed-reading courses went up. He also listed From Russia with Love as one of his favorite books in Life; it instantly became a best-seller, piqued American interest in James Bond, and ensured that it would be the next Bond novel adapted to film. He's even credited with "killing the hat" by not appearing in public with one, although that one's apocryphal — the hat was already in decline since the early-mid 1940s (almost two decades before he became President),note  and the hat would remain a standard piece of menswear until around 1965-67. Furthermore, he did wear a top hat to his inauguration (only to take it off for his "Ask Not" speech).
  • An inversion ocurred with the constant use of double-breasted blazers by bankers and financiers between the 1980s and 2000s. After the 2008 crisis, the jacket's reputation went from "cool gangster suit" to "corrupt banker suit", and thus demand evaporated overnight... before it saw a revival of sorts about a decade later.
    • Formal clothes in general fell victim to the crisis and its link to Wall Street men. Furthermore, the fact tech entrepreneurs only wore casual clothes (blazers being their most "formal" piece of attire) led most companies to drastically relax or even completely ditch their dress codes, to the point many places discourage the use of formal clothing in favor of a more casual set-up known as the "Midtown Uniform".
  • For a number of years now, has been defictionalizing its most popular April Fools' Day jokes. Such products include the 8-bit tie, the Grow Your Own 1-Up Mushroom, the Personal Soundtrack T-Shirt and Canned Unicorn Meat. But perhaps their most famous was the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, named after the creature from The Empire Strikes Back whose stomach Han and Luke slice open to hide inside for shelter on Hoth.
    Classic Star Wars sleeping bag simulates the warmth of a Tauntaun carcass
  • The 2010 FIFA World Cup (as well as the FIFA Confederations Cup the previous year) had audibly made the Vuvuzela pretty popular among spectators.
  • Athletes have been known to influence hairstyles:
    • The increase of the popularity of men suffering from male pattern baldness shaving their heads could be traced to the decision of basketball legend Michael Jordan shaving his head for that reason.
    • In Brazil, soccer player Ronaldo also shaved his head. He also gave the world this horrible haircut (compared to Cascão/Smudge of local comic strip Monica's Gang), which inspired children to imitate him.
    • In the U.K., David Beckham's hair was the source of many such fashions, including the mohawk he wore in the 90s, his skinhead look in the early 2000s and his undercut in the 2010s.
  • On February 2, 2011, knitting blogger Stephanie Pearl-McPhee posted an entry about her wonderful new mittens, which she had knitted from mawata (silk hankies) obtained from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. By February 12, Blue Moon's page of roving (fibers for spinning) had no entry for mawata, only a plaintive note urging eager knitters to be patient while they caught up with "overwhelming demand".
    • This is actually fairly common — in the same vein as Being Farked, one can be "Harlotted"; a yarn or pattern Stephanie uses becomes an incredibly in demand product.
  • Three Wolf Moon: This ordinary (albeit cool-looking) T-shirt is probably one of the most popular products on all of, and it's all thanks to one parody review.
  • When NBA player Jason Collins came out the closet—becoming the first openly gay athlete in one of America's "Big Four" major leagues—he revealed that the reason he wears the number 98 is to commemorate Matthew Shepherd, a gay college student whose brutal murder in 1998 led to the passing of hate crime laws in the US. After making that announcement, his Brooklyn Nets jersey became the biggest seller on the NBA's website.
  • Guns:
    • The quickest way to get civilian gun enthusiasts interested in a gun is for the military and law enforcement to start using it. The Beretta 92F kicked off the "Wonder Nine" boom in the mid-'80s when the US Armed Forces replaced the venerable Colt M1911 pistol (which, as its name suggests, has been in service since before World War I) with a military version of it, designated the M9 pistol, as their standard sidearm. Glock pistols, too, caught on with civilians thanks to Glock's program in the late '80s giving police departments seeking to upgrade from their revolvers large discounts on their guns, as well as the fact that the gun's light weight, high ammo capacity, and accuracy made it attractive to law enforcement in the first place. The Barrett M82 rifle was originally created by a single guy as a dare to create a .50 BMG rifle, a weapon that turned out to have a lot of military utility as a long-range anti-materiel rifle, and after its adoption by the US military as the M107 rifle, many gun stores will typically have one lovingly displayed in the middle of the store the way a Chevrolet dealership might display a Corvette in its showroom.
    • The above, however, wound up inverted for a long time by the AR-15, the civilian version of the M16 rifle, whose status as the US military's infantry rifle was balanced out and then some by the (undeserved) terrible reputation it earned in the jungles of Vietnam. Between that and the tightening of American gun laws in the '80s and '90s, civilian interest in the AR-15 was mainly limited to hardcore military enthusiasts (and American supporters of the Provisional IRA, who shipped thousands of "ArmaLites"note  and ammo to Northern Ireland). This was turned around, however, in the 2000s during The War on Terror. By that time, most of the flaws of the M16 and its short-barreled version, the M4 carbine, had been worked out, while the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004, allowing for the widespread sale of semiautomatic rifles in most of the country. The AR-15, identified with American soldiers fighting insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, exploded in popularity and became an enduring symbol of American gun culture.
    • A morbid version of this: whenever a high-profile mass shooting occurs in the United States, not only do gun sales typically go up, but sales of the specific model of gun used in the shooting skyrocket even further. Sales of the Glock 19, for instance, shot up after a would-be assassin used one to badly wound Representative Gabrielle Giffords (of Arizona's 8th congressional district) and kill six others at a campaign rally, as did sales of AR-15-style rifles after the Sandy Hook Elementary School killer used one. Even gun accessories are subjected to this, as happened when "bump stocks", a modification that uses a semiautomatic rifle's recoil to effectively turn it into an automatic weapon, sold out at stores across the country after the Las Vegas concert killer used them on his rifles. The reason for this is fear that incoming gun control legislation will make it impossible to get that weapon down the line, leading many gun enthusiasts to feel that they need to get one as soon as possible. Indeed, the connection between left-wing electoral success and surges in gun sales — and, conversely, right-wing electoral success and hard times for the firearms industrynote  — is so well-known that a (possibly tongue-in-cheek) conspiracy theory claims that gun and ammo manufacturers are secretly backing ineffectual anti-gun politicians and activists in order to invoke this, exploiting fear of gun control to drive sales.
  • In 2006, Britain's already scandal-hit Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott found himself in even bigger trouble when he treated himself to an afternoon off to enjoy a game of croquet. Bad news for him, as it ultimately cost him his grace-and-favor mansion, but good news for manufacturers of croquet sets which suddenly came into greater demand than they had for decades.
  • O. J. Simpson's infamous chase down the Los Angeles freeway in a white Ford Bronco saw sales of that vehicle skyrocket by seven thousand in the following year, despite it being a fairly primitive model of SUV compared to Ford's Explorer and other modern, four-door vehicles. It took until 2021 for Ford to do this, but the Bronco was a Continuity Reboot that paid homage to the original 1965-1996 model, and shared no mechanicals with it, and was smaller.
  • The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman led to a spike in sales of Skittles candy. Martin was holding a bag of Skittles when he was shot, and as such, Skittles became a popular symbol at the protests that eventually coalesced into the Black Lives Matter Movement.
  • When Nissan came up with the Skyline GT-R line of sports cars based on the Skyline luxury car range, it was not officially sold in Western markets. However, the likes of Gran Turismo and The Fast and the Furious among others spurred so much mainstream interest in the "Godzilla" that grey-market importers stepped in to cater to the demand. One such importer was Motorex, who supplied the GT-R used by Paul Walker's character in the first film. Nissan eventually took notice and developed the R35 GT-R, first conceptualised in 2001 and released in 2007. The R35 branched off from the mainline Skyline range, as part of its Continuity Reboot.
  • Because figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu is a Japanese national (and international) darling, he's created an effect referred to as "Hanyueconomy". Fans would follow him to competition, booking hotels and boosting the service industry. Dedicated Fanyus track down the brands he wears and uses, buys up merchandise that he sponsors/has his face on, so on and so forth. Anything that he's seen using sells out at an incredible speed.
  • The Tama Zoo in western Tokyo, Japan getting in koalas as a gesture of goodwill from Australia caused a surge in demand for media about koalas, which lead to the productions of Adventures of the Little Koala and The Noozles.
  • Sales of Timex watches with the "Indiglo" backlight skyrocketed after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, where an office worker used the light to guide a group down 40 unlit flights of stairs. The incident also increased the reputation of the Timex brand, which had for years been considered cheap and inferior compared to more pricey models by other companies.
  • A famous Urban Legend about a chemical that makes urine in a swimming pool turn cloudy red or purple has led many pool owners to ask retailers selling pool cleaning supplies to buy this item. No such chemical actually exists but this doesn't stop the customers from asking.
  • When Barack Obama's wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha wore J.Crew clothing to his inauguration in 2009, the preppy clothing retailer's website crashed from the surge in traffic, with Michelle's green leather gloves and Malia and Sasha's respective blue and pink wool coats and velvet ribbon belts being particularly popular. J.Crew was quick to capitalize on the connection, noting that these outfits were specially designed for the Obamas. Isabel Toledo and Jason Wu, the respective designers of Michelle's day and evening dresses from the inauguration, also got a surge of attention.

Alternative Title(s): Red Stapler