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"Just as I suspected! Totally legit looking stuff! Where are the human noses? The misspellings? The choking hazards?"
—Strong Bad, Homestar Runner
A Shoddy Knockoff Product is dolled up to look like a popular and/or quality product, but being dolled up is the only work that went into it. You'd be lucky if it even functioned at all.
These could very well be used as a target of Convenience Store Gift Shopping, especially if they resemble a game that an ignorant relative thinks the recipient likes.
The Evil Twin of the Well Intentioned Replacement. While both tropes are about poorly made substitutes, that trope is with the genuine hope of making up for the thing being substituted. This trope is about just plain, old ripping you off.
Contrast Follow the Leader (there is a clear influence, but it's not trying to make you think it's the actual work its following), Serial Numbers Filed Off (It's almost the same thing as another, but at the very least changes anything copyrighted).
Oh, and someone buy up TVIdioms.org, quick!
Anime and Manga
- Kochikame: A chapter of begins with a police officer showing his new Porsche to the main characters. They were skeptical at for costing only a million yen and illegitimate designs including right-handed steering, front engine, etc. It turns out be a Daihatsu with a Porsche exterior. They went to the dealer who happen to sell faux high value cars with economy car interiors using names such as, "Porschu", "Furrari", and "BNW".
- One episode of Keroro Gunsou had Keroro hoping to get his hands on an old knock-off Gundam model kit called "Dangale". Dangale is actually based on a real-life line of Gundam knock-offs called Gangale, or Gungal. As with Dangale in the show, Gungal models are actually sought after collector's items because they're so rare.
- In one chapter of Alyosha, Alyosha seemingly wins a PlayStation 3 at a carnival game and gives it to her friend Ryunosuke. Upon closer examination, he discovers it's a "P53", a Chinese knockoff with 53 games built into the console.
- This is one of the running gags associated with both China and Hong Kong in Axis Powers Hetalia.
- The Asylum, makers of Mockbusters like Transmorphers and I Am Omega.
- Parodied in Coming to America, in which Mr. McDowell lives in perpetual terror of the McDonalds lawyers coming down on him for his fast-food restaurant McDowells, which aside from a few cosmetic changes is a blatant McDonalds rip-off.
- In Serendipity the heroine and her wacky sidekick are vacationing in New York. The sidekick is thrilled to buy a "Prado" purse. The heroine is quick to remind her that at least her fake actually says "Prada" on it.
- In the Kamikaze Girls novel, the protagonist's father sells knock-offs like this, and at one point she mocks him (in the narration, not to his face) for thinking that changing the brand name slightly will keep him from getting in trouble for it (which he does).
- In The Da Vinci Code, this is used to avoid blowing a cover. A rich guy pretends to be a blue collar driver, but forgets to take his Rolex off. When a cop points it out, he says it was a cheap Fauxlex piece of shit he got off the street.
Live Action TV
- All in The Family: The 1973 episode "Hot Watch," where Archie buys a designer Onega watch from a street salesman for $25, a great bargain for a watch that might be worth $300. Designer watch? Onega? A bargain? Nope – it's a cheap, poorly made watch that breaks within minutes, but Archie – and Mike, who is concerned that the watch might have been stolen – don't find out the truth until a jeweler points all this out. (Actually, the designer watch is "Omega").
- In the short lived sitcom DAG, someone tried to get an Armani suit, but couldn't afford it. A friend promised him a suit just as good, but got an A!mani suit, and it was nothing like the suit he saw in the store.
- On Cheers Norm's favorite low-price restaurant sold things which were nearly meat, like "Baff" and "Loobster."
- One episode of Harry Hills TV Burp expands on a clip from The Apprentice in which Alan Sugar talks about his "Kelvin Kleins" by mentioning all the other hokey gear he buys (he's rich because he buys these cheap knockoffs), including Knikey trainers and Christine Deeyor perfume.
- The "Blockblister" sketch in The Amanda Show. A video store operated by Italian immigrants who sell poor quality videos being homemade spoofs of Hollywood films (Austin Powders, Wizard of Voz) with them acting in it.
Father: 'Tis better
- In one episode of CSI: NY Stella berates a criminal selling knock-off Rolexes that had Rolex spelled with "two Ls and a Z".
- NCIS: Tony buys an iPod for $30. Kate spots that it's actually an L-pod and has nothing inside the casing.
- In an episode of Spin City, noted cheapskate Paul gives Claudia a "Rolex" as a gift:
Claudia: Honey, why is Rolex spelled with three Xs?
- The SerfBoard in the The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Man Who Never Was", a shoddy laptop computer whose maker attempted to sell it with the help of alien-slave-controlled hypnotic technology.
- Dilbert mocks this, like "Wibsters Dictionary".
- Roger in FoxTrot frequently gets nailed by this. During the digital pets craze, his daughter Paige wanted a Tamagotchi. He thought a Tamagrouchy was close enough. It wasn't.
Roger: The guy told me they were the same thing.
- One particular Boondocks story arc involved the granddad getting Huey a "Phony Funstation" as a present. He then tries to justify it by saying it came with a free griddle.
- Even though they are compatible with LEGO, many kids are often disappointed to receive Mega Bloks instead of proper LEGO from a parent, relative or friend unaware of the difference between the two and just going for the cheaper product. Unlike most examples, Mega Bloks doesn't really actively pretend to be LEGO - its branding and products are fairly well-differentiated from LEGO, it's fairly easy to tell the difference when you have one of the same sort of piece from each to observe, and it tends to produce relatively different sorts of sets with a greater emphasis on licenced cash-ins. According to the SCP Foundation, sentient self-assembling LEGO brick specimen aren't particularly pleased to see instances of Mega Bloks either...
- Or, Cock Bloc.
- Back during its run, Bionicle tended to get hit very hard with knockoffs from all over the world, some of the most well-known discovered ones including "Invincibility Robots" and "Maskers". Interestingly, most BIONICLE knockoffs were visually near-indistinguishable from the real thing - many even used the exact same packaging and canisters, though with the BIONICLE and LEGO logos edited or removed. Amusingly, one discovered instance of a knockoff took the 2005 Rahaga sets and replaced their heads with what appeared to be Darth Vader helmets.
- Oddly enough, the August, 2007 issue of Popular Science featured an article on the various shameless ripoffs from China. Main part of the article was one of the copied cars getting the attention of the actual car maker - and offered to fix it up to them (the copied car was extremely dangerous. It explains how some companies manage to get crap electronics out the doors, even when they're only on display (they literally have loads of engineers photograph the living shit out of electronics on display). Hell - there's even the "iClone" episode, where there was a surprisingly good touch phone (before everyone else started to Follow the Leader!)
- From TRSRockin.com, we have fake and bootlegged Pokémon toys and Video Games, as well as nifty little toy ripoffs found in a dollar store (with Engrish!text).
- There are a lot of Barbie or Bratz imitations that try(and succeed) to convince older people that they are Barbies or Bratz dolls.
- Transformers knockoffs here and here.
- Twist n' Change Robots. You can find them at many toy stores and drugstores. They're actually based on old Takatoku molds, which were also the basis for Select's Convertors Defenders toy line, and some official Transformers such as Whirl and Roadbuster.
- There's even a Combining Mecha Thomas the Tank Engine knockoff. What are you, Thomas the Might Gaine?!
- K-Mart's Just Kidz Robo Morphers toy line includes a Rodimus knockoff that becomes a Ferrari Enzo lookalike, a Movie Ratchet knockoff, and a Cybertron Evac knockoff.
- Big Lots has several, including G1 combiner bootlegs, "Robot Kings", and the "Battle Robots", one of which is an even flimsier clone of the aforementioned Rodimus Ferrari wannabe.
- Befitting the franchise's Merchandise-Driven nature, there are fans who actually collect bootlegs and knockoffs, and that's without getting into the fan-made "reproductions" of Classics and G1 toys, along with downsized Masterpiece figures.
- Cracked.com published this article profiling cases of unintentionally funny knockoff toys.
- Star Wars toys are frequently knocked-off, and some have actually become more valuable then the actual toys. The vintage Turkish and Polish varieties are the most popular.
- A large percentage of Shovelware is made of these.
- Many unlicensed/bootleg NES games, especially by Thin Chen Enterprise (often sold under the Sachen brand name), are shoddy imitations of licensed ones, eg Silent Assault : Contra, Rocman X : Mega Man X, Challenge of the Dragon : Double Dragon, Jurassic Boy : Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Heroes : Street Fighter II, Q-Boy : Kirby. There are also several "pirate original" games based on movie franchises, such as Harry's Legend and Titenic.
- Guitar Superstar is a plug-n-play knockoff of Guitar Hero.
- Ditto for Guitar Fever.
- There are ads on this very wiki promoting an online game entitled Space Trek.
- Then there's "World of LordCraft" (from the same organization that's behind Evony), which has banner ads that urge you to "join the battlt now" (yes, spelled "battlt").
- The multicart Caltron 6-in-1, in addition to the original game Magic Carpet 1001, features knockoffs of Space Harrier(Cosmos Cop), Balloon Fight(Adam & Eve), Sokoban(Porter), Make Trax(Bookyman), and Buster Brothers(Balloon Monster).
- The POPstation (actually spelled that way) a Real Life knockoff of the Play Station Portable: acts as an extremely good example of this trope--as well as the former Trope Namer--and that's about the only good thing it does. Check out this video review. There are other products in the POPStation Watch series which are devices shaped like other consoles but have the same internals.
- Other Play Station Portable knock-offs include the GameStation, the Funstation, the PlayCentral, the RumbleStation (includes games from everbody's favorite NES producer, Color Dreams) and many oldies compilations put in a Nintendo 64 controller (Powerplayer Super Joy; they got shot down by Nintendo pretty quick).
- Within weeks of the release of the Wii console, the Vii. Said to be made by Ken Sing Ton (Bland-Name Product knockoff of Kensington). Now we have the Vii 2. With its Porwer button and its new strangely-shaped controller, but with the same low quality games, it oughta be a blast! In a similar vein we have Tilt Games, and the Wiii!
- DDR. No, not Dance Dance Revolution... just DDR. Made by "DDR Game", apparently.
- The PCP Station. A Play Station Portable lookalike with Xbox buttons that's named after a drug. It comes with "Street Overlord" and "Super Mary". Also, "Chanticleer Hegemony".
- The Power Player Super Joy: A Famicom clone shaped like an N64 controller and the second controller is a Sega Genesis controller.
- There's also a Famiclone Vii.
- Behold, Final Combat, a Chinese knockoff of Team Fortress 2 that couldn't be more blatant if it tried. To be fair, the Striker does seem like a legitimately new class, but the Rocket, Firebat, Fatman, and Sniper are obvious ripoffs of TF2's Soldier, Pyro, Heavy, and... er, Sniper. Even the map most of the gameplay videos take place in is a blatant ripoff of Harvest (which is doubly insulting when you remember that Harvest was a fan-made map. Ouch.). Worse yet, closer observation will show that it's actually a ripoff of multiple games, as the maps besides the Harvest lookalike are taken from Battlefield Heroes. Just how many stolen assets are actually in this thing?!
- In World of Tanks, there's a Chinese T-54 knockoff, labeled Type 59. It's 1 tier lower and generally worse than the original, except the armor slopes, which make it quite tough.
- This Chinese rip off of Mario Kart Wii, found here. It's quite literally a texture hack of Mario Kart Wii being sold on the app store, complete with the exact same tracks (with minor texture edits to remove Mario references), the exact same items and likely everything else being the same as well.
- Homestar Runner: Mocked in this email toon from Strong Bad, in which he has officially unlicensed Strong Bad merchandise, and objects to Bubs selling legit-looking "unlicensed unlicensed" merchandise.
- In Homestuck, although it's mentioned that John is a Ghostbusters fan, his iconic Green Slime Ghost T-shirt is actually a Japanese character totally unrelated to Slimer.
- Stuart Ashen specializes in reviewing cheap knock-off products; usually game consoles and toys. The most famous being the POP Stations: A series of cheap and unplayable LCD handheld games made to look like existing video game consoles.
- Mike Mozart of Jeepers Media occasionally reviews knock-off toys and merchandise in his videos.
- This video made by YouTube user: leokimvideo showcases several cheap knock-off toys based on Thomas the Tank Engine.
- The Simpsons
- Homer goes to a discount electronics store:
Homer: Look at these low, low prices on famous brand-name electronics!
- Springfield Elementary at one time served "Malk" instead of milk. ("Now with Vitamin R!")
- Superintendent Chalmers takes his "coffee-flavored Beverine" "grey with Creamium".
- Family Guy: The Lego/Mega Bloks example is referenced:
Peter: You got Legos? Aw, sweet! Lois only buys me Mega Bloks.
- Lampshaded in Futurama, when Fry is duped by a back alley organ trader who tries to convince him that Z-Ray eyes are even better than X-Ray eyes.
- Martini in Olive the Other Reindeer sells knockoff Rolexxx watches. Olive was suspicious about it at first, but ended up buying one of these anyways, with predictable results. The Big Ben is also a Rolexxx.
- One episode of The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat featured a Corrupt Corporate Executive who sold cheap knockoffs of Felix's magic bag. At first, the only noticeable difference was that the copies were black where the original is yellow and vice-versa. However, they used cheap materials to replace expensive ones because the boss said the customers would never know and to replace materials the spies failed to identify while analyzing the original bag because nobody would care. Despite knowing the knockoffs would be dangerous, they mass-produced the black bags.
- There is a The Amazing World of Gumball ripoff called Miracle Star which was a series of commercials meant to advertise milk. It also lacks an Anais ripoff character, due to the fact that when it was airing China had an overpopulation problem that families can't have more than one child. Later, an episode of Gumball called "The Copycats" was created as a Take That to mock the ripoff with the Wattersons ripoff family being a parody of the main characters from the commercials.
- A group on Flickr titled Fake Products: Mutant Knockoffs is entirely dedicated to collecting photographic evidence of these sorts of imitations. Some of them are quite hilarious. Even more at The Chinese Copy Pool.
- These articles from Sankaku Complex. Do note though: Site NOT safe for work. If you browse through the posts tagged "China", you'll find more and more cases of this trope, some of which might even challenge your sense of belief. What's worse, they always deny accusations that they're ripping off original ideas.
- There's even a ripoff of the iconic Gundam statue.
- During the 70s-80s and even to an extent today, the Fender Stratocaster was a victim of frequent awful duplicates and clones until Fender took matters into their own hands and began to produce Squier guitars, budget-priced Japanese-made Fender products.
- Since Third World Countries are a major trading partner of China, the quality of the knock off products has become something of a business model. There are several levels of quality, ranging from abysmal to almost as good as the real thing. There was a direct connection between the quality of the items and the affluence of the importer. In theory, this allows everyone to get a taste of the product, albeit in varying qualities. Compare that with original Western products that are good quality but often times over the price range of the average buyer in third world locales such as Sub-Saharan Africa.
- In Brazil and in China (see Engadget's Keepin' It Real Fake section), cheap knockoffs of smartphones are very common.
- Most of the times, they copy the iPhone, Nokia smartphones or Android-based phones (which brings some Fridge Logic: since Android is an open-source platform, why don't the manufacturers put the real thing instead of a fake? Sure, the name is trademarked and a fee has to be paid to use it, but the actual software can be used freely as long as it's called something else).
- Knockoff "Vintage" phonographs made in India/China are common on eBay/antique stores. Sometimes, they're correctly labeled and sold as replicas, but some sellers tend to attempt to pass them off as authentic Victor phonographs from the early 20th century. While they look real to the average person, experienced collectors can easily identify them as fakes by the shape of the box, materials used, and parts on the player.
- Mike Mozart of Jeepers Media once reviewed a bunch of knockoff iPods. The reality of these things annoyed him a great deal. He strongly recommends the official iPods in this case.
- The city of Kunming, China contains an almost perfect copy of an Apple Store. A few tiny tip-offs include displaying the name of the store (real stores just show the Apple logo) and the employees' name tags just simply saying "Staff" rather than their name. Amazingly enough, even the employees were fooled.
- There's also 11 Furniture Store, a fake Ikea that copies almost everything about it, but the cafeteria serves traditional Chinese food instead of Swedish food. This is also located in Kunming.
- With the return of the ceiling fan to popularity in the late 1970's-early 1980's, most quality models (such as this Hunter Original) were made in the USA, had long-lasting motors and parts, were relatively quiet, and could cost well over $250-300 new (roughly $1,000 on today's market). Enter the $29.95 offering from "Family Handyman" magazine, complete with the advertisement literally "daring you to tell us the difference"... well, listen for yourself... and enjoy the yellow plastic while you're at it.
- A Chinese company named Lifan used to make and sell "Hongda" motorcycles which were shoddy copies of Honda's models, until Honda sued and put a stop to it.