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The situation where a movie affects or creates a Real Life demand for an object, good or service. This can lead to Defictionalization, where things only start being made due to demand for fictional things. For example, Swingline originally didn't make red staplers; the people who made the film Office Space painted a black stapler red for the film. Eventually can result in a Life Imitates Art situation.

Note that things causing a permanent decline or increase are often urban legends; the influence of a single film is usually temporary.

This is like Product Placement, only practically unintentional. It may even result from a production going out of the way to avoid product placement, such as those using Brand X.

Sometimes known in the UK as The Delia Effect, whereby ingredients and utensils recommended by Delia Smith in her popular cookery shows are subject to increased demand. Cranberries, capers and omelet pans have all been subject to this, though shops have got wise and Delia's publishers tend to let them know what's being recommended this time round. Now known in Australia as The Masterchef Effect for similar reasons... custard apples, anyone?

Note that any basic science course will tell you that correlation doesn't always mean causation, but some of these are some pretty interesting coincidences. When demand appears for something that's never been produced much less demanded until its fictional presentation... it's hard not to attribute a cause and effect.

Defictionalization is when the makers of the piece of media create their own tie-in merchandise based on this concept. If the show is built around this effect, it's Merchandise-Driven.

The equivalent for other works is the Colbert Bump, and if it happens to songs, it's likely Revival by Commercialization.

Examples of The Red Stapler include:


Advertising

  • In the 90's, 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 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.
  • Target had clothing in their advertisements with the target logo on them, and ended up making them for real.
  • Volkswagen had a print-ad of the Polo with every car part a different color - like red doors, yellow hood, blue roof... when lots of people requested that car, VW made it... google Polo Harlekin...


Anime and Manga

  • The manga Kami no Shizuku (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 in regards to Fender instruments. One may wonder why this doesn't apply to Gibson guitars, unless one realizes that Gibson guitars (the Les Paul that Yui plays STARTS around $2,500 USD) are much more expensive as opposed to an average Fender (no more than $200 USD) -- especially since there is no Japanese-made version.
    • Les Paul clones seem to be rather popular, though, especially since they are marketed using the show's imagery.
    • Curiously, left-handed Fender Jazz Basses, as played by Mio, are popular as well, even though they mostly get stringed for right-handed use.
  • The town of Washimiya, Saitama, Japan experienced a massive surge in tourism and economy thanks to Lucky Star, as the Hiiragi family shrine is based on the local Washinomiya shrine. It has since become a pilgrimage site for otaku of all ages, with many prayer plaques featuring weird prayers asking Konata to be their wife. 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.
  • Likewise, the Hiwaka Shrine from Sailor Moon also exists and is a tourist spot for fans. Crown Game Center also used to exist but has since gone out of business and been replaced by a McDonald's.
  • The classical-music industry in the Asia-Pacific region has reasons to thank Nodame Cantabile.
  • In a Gintama filler episode, it was announced that the series was unexpectedly being canceled because the studio Sunrise had gone out of business. Following this, "Sunrise" became the most-searched item online in Japan.
    • Also, it's been speculated that Gintama has done this to wooden swords, though it's probably just due to their ubiquity at tourist shops and the annoyance of getting metal swords through customs.
  • The popularity of the 1977 anime Rascal The Raccoon was single-handedly responsible for the introduction of feral raccoons in Japan. Up to 1500 raccoons were imported as pets, but now the descendants of abandoned or escaped raccoons live wild in 42 of Japan's 47 prefectures.
  • Enoshima, an island off the coast of Kamakura, is a favorite destination among otakus, since it is featured prominently in several popular shows, such as Elfen Lied, Aoi Hana and Uta Kata.
  • 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.
    • The real life touge courses in the anime have become immortalized in real life as well. Mount Haruna (which is what Mount Akina is based on) often gets many visitors in the Gunma area, and the real tofu shop also gained popularity before it was torn down.
    • Houkago no Pleiades is a lesser example, with Subaru cars.
  • Cuenca, Spain, has seen a noticeable increase in Japanese tourism since being featured in Sora no Woto.
  • Clarice's Fairytale Wedding Dress in Lupin III: The Castleof 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 that are a runaway success (and this in any country, not just Japan) create an interest in that sport and consequently increase the number of members affiliating themselves to clubs. Among those manga and anime are Captain Tsubasa (who also tremendously helped the development of soccer as a whole in Japan, spurring the creation of the national pro league JFA, and thrusting the sport from obscurity to second-most played sport in the country) for soccer, Attack No. 1 and Attacker You! for volley-ball, and Hikaru no Go for Go.
    • Chihayafuru and karuta also.
    • Probably one of the best examples after Captain Tsubasa is Slam Dunk, which was a smash hit in not just Japan, but the Phillipines and Korea. The manga was even given honorable mentions from 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.
    • While not as popular as the above examples, the writer of Rin! said that she received a lot of mail from fans saying they had taken up archery after reading the series.
  • Takehara's popularity has risen quite a bit since it has been featured in Tamayura, and the town's inhabitants appear to be very proud of that fact. Restaurants and shops advertise with posters from the show (especially the ones actually used as scenery) and one of the local ferries even sports huge posters of the show's main heroines. Of course, the announced TV series might raise the town's popularity to even greater heights.
    • Just to put this in perspective, Tamayura is only one hour long.
  • Hamtaro made kids want to get a pet hamster of their own.
  • Tiger and Bunny's entirely unexpected popularity in Japan has led to the spike in sales for items only tangentially related to the show (Most notably a brand 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 Nice Hat. The fandom collectively joygasmed.
  • The city of Kamogawa hopes their tourism gets a boost with their being the main city in Rinne no Lagrange. They're paying.

Baby Names

  • Names for babies becoming more popular after use in a piece of media happens all the time:
  • "Madison" as a first name was almost nonexistent when the movie Splash was made; it's currently the fourth-most-popular girls' name in America.
  • A similar example is the name "Kayleigh" which appeared in a 1985 hit single of the same name by the British Progressive Rock band Marillion, which was created out of the name of an ex-girlfriend of singer Derek "Fish" Dick who was named Kay Lee. It soon became a popular name for girls in the United Kingdom.
  • Millions of baby girls were named Alice after Lewis Carroll's book came out.
  • J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan so popularized the name Wendy after its release, that he is often erroneously credited with inventing the name.
  • Scottish poet James Macpherson (1736–96) invented the name Fiona.
  • Shirley was primarily a boy's name (and a rare one) until Shirley Temple became famous. It then became a popular girl's name, reaching No. 1 in popularity in 1935.
    • Shirley was an uncommon and exclusively masculine name until Charlotte Bronte's novel Shirley was published in 1849. The eponymous character is an independent heiress, and her name is intended to be tomboyish and unusual. It's stated that her parents wanted a boy, but having only a daughter, they christened her Shirley, the name "they would have bestowed on a boy, if with a boy they had been blessed." More than a century and a half later, Shirley is considered a feminine name and male Shirleys are thin on the ground.
  • The name "Pamela" was invented for a book, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. This generated one of the first entertainment marketing booms, with Pamela towels, dishes, playing cards, stationery, etc. In 1740.
  • Kind of inverted: "Adolf/Adolph" used to be a perfectly respectable and popular male name. Not so much these days, because of... well... you know...
    • Played straight in the thirties when most Germans still liked Hitler. A lot of little Adolfs were born then, who would later have a rough childhood.
    • Same thing with the last name "Hitler". And the Swastika. And the mustache. You might be able to get away with it if you're doing a Charlie Chaplin impression, but you had better well be wearing the hat too.
  • The popularity of "Katrina" as a name for baby girls increased slightly after the 2005 storm, most likely due to the name being endlessly repeated in the media.
  • In 2000, Sonny Sandovol, the frontman of POD and a born-again Christian, gave his daughter the unusual name of Nevaeh, which is "heaven" spelled backwards. By 2007, Nevaeh had become the 31st most popular name for baby girls in the United States, ahead of Sara, Vanessa, and Amanda, with most of this popularity coming from evangelical Christian parents.
  • After The Omen came out, the name Damien experienced a slight decline in popularity, having been ranked 283 out of 1,000 in 1974, 387 out of 1,000 in 1975, and 285 out of 1,000 in 1976... Although there was a one-day spike of the name for children born on June 6, 2006 -- which, not coincidentally, was also the release date of The Remake.
  • In 1918, Italian general Armando Diaz signed the Victory Address, a short document meant to inform the population of the victory against Austria in WWI. It was shown in schools, barracks, town halls etc, and many children were required to memorize it. The Address ended with the words "firmato: Diaz" (signed: Diaz), which led many to think that "firmato" ("signed") was his name. In the following years, many children were baptized with that name.
  • French Space Opera comic-book Valerian invented the name Laureline for the female protagonist. It is not an unheard name for French women today.
  • The names "Isabella", "Edward" and "Jacob" were popular before Twilight was published. Still, they saw a significant boost... As did the never popular "Renesmee".
  • If you know any women born in the 80's named Krystal (in a variety of spellings) or Alexis, there's a very good chance they were named after the catfighting pair from Dynasty.
  • Two sitcom examples -- Emma exploded in popularity after Rachel of Friends gave the name to her daughter, and from Sex and the City Carrie's rugged boyfriend Aidan seems to have inspired a resurgence in that name (and its variant Aiden).
  • Ziz-zagged with "Mercedes." It was a girl's name first; the car company's founder named it after his daughter. However, the name's current usage is no doubt inspired by the glamorous connotations due to the car company.
  • "Jennifer"; originally an obscure Cornish variant of "Guinevere", it became hugely popular in the United Kingdom after George Bernard Shaw gave it to the female lead in his 1906 play The Doctor's Dilemma. It received a further boost with the release of Love Story, becoming the single most common female given name in the United States for the years 1970-1984, where it had previously been relatively uncommon.
    • It gets more triumphant still: Love Story or maybe the multiple TV shows and movies where they used it, made for a while Jennifer a popular name in Spain, where it didn't exist in ANY form (and where, before Franco's death, it was extremely discouraged to use non-standard [read: from the Catholic tradition] names). It got so prevalent that for a while the easiest way to depict a woman as the Spanish equivalent of trailer trash was to have her calling her daughter "Jennifer" in a loud and heavily accented voice ("CHÉNIFEEEEEEE").
  • Castiel was the fasting growing name for boys in 2010. Sookie was for the girls.
  • The Obamas caused this in 2009. The name Maliyah (Malia is Obama's daughter's name) was the fastest growing name in popularity in 2009, and the name Sasha (his other daughter's name) also jumped in popularity.
  • While the boys name Kevin had become quite popular in Germany the years before, it reached its peak as the most common name in 1991 after the release of Home Alone and stayed very high in popularity for about 10 more years. Unfortunately the popularity was mostly restricted to the Unterschicht, which is the German equivalent of White Trash, and the name became the stereotypical name for all kids of such a background. The exact same thing happened in France.
  • The name "Svetlana" was invented by a Russian poet and popularized by another in the early 1800s. It's still hugely popular today (not just in Russia) and is even used as the Russian translation of a Greek saint's name.


Comics

  • The German comic Werner heavily featured the beer from the then-small Flensburger brewery which was known in Northern Germany only until then, and even there only sparsely. It was among the last few German beer brands sold in swing-top bottles. The Werner comics turned out to be very good advertisement for Flensburger beer which was soon hard to find in the North as the Flensburger brewery couldn't keep up with the demand, and even more so when Werner became popular further south where, of course, everyone wanted to drink the same beer as him, too. The Flensburger brewery eventually increased its production, and sales skyrocketed. It's easy to understand that they were quite pissed off when Werner made his own beer in the 6th book which appeared under the brand name Bölkstoff in Real Life, stopping the free advertisement for Flensburger beer.


Film

  • Named after the red Swingline stapler in Office Space. As the DVD commentary mentions, the one in the movie was specially painted, since at the time the movie was produced, the company didn't make red office staplers, only black ones (although they had been making red mini staplers for decades). Due to the popularity of the movie, they do now.
  • The release of Jurassic Park (the movie) something like quadrupled the international price of amber.
    • Not only that, but there is fake Amber with insects in it that comes from China frequently sold on auction sites, to the outrage of precious stones sellers everywhere.
      • While not an object, Jurassic Park made Velociraptor popular Stock Dinosaurs. Albeit depicted as much larger than they actually were, and sans feathers. Although the feathers issue is somewhat justified in that there wasn't any direct evidence that relatives of Velociraptor had feathers until the late 1990s after the movie came out[1], but it was widely speculated for years prior to that.
  • Sales of the Dodge Ram pickup truck increased significantly in 1996 after one was featured prominently in the film Twister.
  • If a popular children's movie features animals, it will influence the pet demands of Spoiled Brats. Many of these pets are subsequently abandoned.
    • Especially ridiculous with Finding Nemo, since the whole point of the film is that he's supposed to be living in the sea rather than in someone's fishtank. Also ridiculous is the fact that the massive rise in demand resulted in the various fish species that appeared in the film being caught en masse from reefs in the Pacific, resulting in the ecosystem being destroyed from the bottom up. And wild-caught tropical fish tend to do very poorly in aquariums (they often die in only a few days). You're more likely to find captive-bred fish on sale and in aquariums.
      • Not that the reverse was any better -- many children attempted to (or did) flush pet fish down the toilet in hopes that they would reach the ocean and be reunited with their family, unaware that sewer systems don't work that way. Even if you're in a state that's not landlocked, unless your hometown is violating EPA regulations by discharging raw sewage, your city's sewage system consists of miles of pipes and pumping stations that terminate in a treatment plant. Even if the fish survived the ride to the plant, the entire point of the plant is to kill infectious microorganisms -- and it does a fine job on killing anything bigger, as well. One sewage engineer noted that the first step at the plant is to reduce any large chunks into a fine puree, usually with something like this; he dubbed the result to be "Grinding Nemo".
    • Owls after Harry Potter, which do not make good pets, as J.K. Rowling herself has felt obliged to point out. Because of this, Scotland's valleys are home to owls that can carry off a small child. This was addressed in the "Care of Magical Creatures" featurette on the DVD of the third movie, with one of the movie's animal trainers telling us:

 "A lot of people, they see the Harry Potter films and they think that these animals make great pets and they really don't. They're not domesticated; they're totally wild animals. It seems so simple when you see it in a movie and easy, but in real life it's a constant eight to twelve hour day taking care of these animals."

    • Many, many breeds of dog. Much to the anger of dog fanciers, who observe that a burst of demand for a specific breed leads to some breeders starting to replicate dogs who are outside of breed standards or even have genetic diseases like hip dysplasia or, notorious for dalmatians, deafness. Also, many people who buy a dog because of a Red Stapler appearance don't have any prior experience with dogs, and the breeds featured in media are not always easy and unpretentious.
      • One Hundred and One Dalmatians sparked a rise in the sales of dalmatian puppies. The dalmatian is an extremely high-maintenance dog, and any child who thinks that this would be a good dog to own without the sort of dedication children are well known for being incapable of should be set straight rather than obliged in their request.
      • And as the film had a sequel, so did the phenomenon: the release of 102 Dalmatians, with a blue-eyed white puppy named Oddball, triggered a run on blue-eyed white Dalmatian puppies from parents who didn't realize that the blue-eyes gene is strongly associated with deafness. (You thought a hearing dalmatian was high maintenance? Try a deaf one...)
      • Blue-eyed white dalmatians (and indeed, dalmatians in general) were bred at such a rate that puppy mills would inbreed lines with extreme prejudice if they could get away with it. They usually did, and caused enormous damage to the breed in general, with congenital defects ranging anywhere from extra dewclaws to clubbed limbs to clinical insanity.
      • The Beethoven series and St. Bernard puppies.
      • But that was balanced out by Cujo, which averted the St. Bernard problem.
      • Marley and Me probably averted this. Marley was certainly portrayed as cute and lovable, but he wasn't really portrayed as a low maintenance/easy to train pet. The Tear Jerker ending probably had something to do with it as well. It helps that Labrador Retrievers are already the most common breed of dog in the English-speaking world (about half of all mixed-breed dogs in the US and Canada have some Lab in them), and tend to make excellent pets.
      • The Marmaduke film also averted this, as the eponymous Great Dane is portrayed as being very high-maintenance to say the least. Certain animal welfare groups were concerned about this trope, but it doesn't appear that the film has done much to increase or decrease the popularity of Danes. The utter failure of the film at the box office probably didn't hurt.
      • The Lassie and Lad A Dog movies (as well as the Lassie TV show) spawned such a demand for collies that pet breeders nearly managed to ruin what had been a really good breed. Even today, there are tons of badly-bred collies with poor health and the brains of an ice cube.
      • Similarly, Lady and the Tramp wreaked similar havoc on American Cocker Spaniels decades ago, and the breed is still notorious today for physical and mental health problems. This compounds the problems the breed already had, as they were already prone to obesity, spinal stress, heart problems, and severe ear infection.
      • Snow Dogs made Huskies popular for a bit. They're wonderful dogs, but definitely not for first-time owners, as they can be quite a handful.
      • The way pit bulls (the term actually refers to three breeds, but all three face similar stigmas) have been portrayed in films (as tough guard dogs) tends to attract the wrong kind of owner to the breed, which is really unfortunate -- they're actually wonderful, loving pets when put in the hands of a capable owner. They're still suffering the effects of being a "fad breed".
      • Similarly, the vicious and aggressive portrayal of the Doberman breed in the media lead to a surge in popularity in the 1970s, though it soon dropped significantly within a few years. As a result, Dobermans are considerably rarer today.
    • Beverly Hills Chihuahua did its best to avert this with a message in the credits saying, essentially, "make sure that you really want and are prepared to care for a dog should you get one." Ostensibly, this film is immune to the effect, as it was made in response to a terrible cultural trend that was already in existence (and apparently on the decline at the time). If anything, The Simple Life and Paris Hilton are to blame for the trend that led to the film.
      • The Legally Blonde movies also may have helped.
      • What probably caused the initial upsurge in chihuahua popularity was the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" chihuahua from the 1990s advertising campaign. Chihuahua prices soared soon afterward, and many chihuahuas ended up being abandoned later because of their personalities (chihuahuas aren't friendly like cocker-spaniels, especially with strangers).
    • Turtles, thanks to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Many parents got them not knowing that they live for decades, which is usually longer than their kids will be interested in them, and so they have become invasive species in some places.
    • All Dogs Go to Heaven increased demand for German Shepherds. Of course, German Shepherds have always been highly popular, and are an easy-going and relatively low mainenance breed.
    • Ratatouille led quite a few kids to want pet rats. This actually may have been more of a sensible choice than the previously mentioned animals, as domestic rats make good pets: they're fairly low-maintenance, they're friendlier than their more popular cousins the mice, they can be litter-trained, they don't particularly smell, and you can train them to sit on your shoulder. It's recommended you buy at least two (preferably of the same gender, because opposite sexes fight unless they're in heat, when they do a different kind of wrestling) if you're not going to be around all the time, because they're quite social and get lonely.
      • According to at least one newspaper article, restaurants also reported an upswing in orders of the eponymous dish.
      • There is a recipe for Ratatouille as seen in the movie online. It's actually called "confit byaldi".
      • Even years after Ratatouille, there's some significant request for blue rats.
      • In fact, the Ratatouille rat craze plays this trope straight because many kids (and adults, too) found out too soon that real life fancy rats are nothing like Rémy, often they were also disappointed not to have a blue one, and soon they lost interest, and the rat(s) had to be disposed of. Ever since this movie, animal shelters are bursting with pet rats.
    • Oh-so-thankfully averted with Rio. When it came out there was some concern that like with other films, the movie would lead to a higher demand for parrots, which would've be very bad because parrots, especially larger ones, tend to be extremely high maintenance animals. They're loud and require constant attention, play, and stimulation. They're basically like human toddlers, and people already make the mistake of buying parrots without realizing the care they require. Without stimulation they get bored and stressed, which leads to the bird developing bad habits like feather plucking or worse. Thankfully it didn't happen with Rio, but that was likely because parrots tend to cost a lot of money (running from several hundred to even a few THOUSAND dollars) so people are less likely to buy them on impulse.
  • Dirty Harry caused sales of Smith & Wesson's Model 29, the famous .44 Magnum that Harry Callahan used in the movie, to skyrocket. The ensuing popularity drove prices into orbit... and they stayed there, making it nigh impossible for many real shooters and gun enthusiasts to buy them new.
    • Also don't forget that the S&W Model 29 is a very heavy gun and probably isn't the best choice for a casual gun enthusiast.
    • A similar phenomenon happened after the release of the Tomb Raider movies - the USP Match, Lara's Weapons Of Choice, became a very popular pistol for a time, so much that even airsoft copies of them were selling for upwards of a thousand dollars, assuming that sellers even still had them in stock.
  • In Death Wish 3, Charles Bronson's character used the Wildey Magnum, a semi-automatic pistol that fires rounds so powerful it rivals the Desert Eagle in muzzle energy. The company that makes the firearm was struggling at the time, and was close to bankruptcy. The movie single-handily increased the sales of the Wildey Magnum and rescued the company.
    • The effect is so great that Wildey J. Moore (the inventor of the pistol and founder of the company) mentioned that every time Death Wish 3 was rerun on TV, sales spiked. It was also Charles Bronson's personal pistol, so there's also elements of Celebrity Endorsement.
  • Smokey and the Bandit caused such a spike in the popularity of CB radios that many of the restrictions on their use in the US were lifted in order to take advantage of this boom. The result was, basically, the Eternal September with voice chat, a phenomenon that lasted until the internet and cell phones became popular. Sales of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am also saw an upswing, with a CB becoming a dealership option in some places.
    • The CB radio craze brought about by Smokey and the Bandit (and to a lesser extent, the earlier trucking song "Convoy") also resulted in the "mainstreaming" of much CB radio jargon. "What's your twenty?" "Ten-four good buddy" and "Put the pedal to the metal" all entered the popular lexicon as a result of this movie.
  • Sideways led to increased American sales of Pinot Noir, the wine favored by the main character. At the same time, Merlot sales declined in America because he doesn't drink it, and says so in one scene.
  • In the special edition commentary of Napoleon Dyamite it was mentioned that the blue unicorn t-shirt Napoleon wears in the movie had been discontinued when the film came out but thanks to the popularity of the film the shirt was reproduced.
  • The Aliens Power Loader. Inquiries were made to purchase the things but since they don't exist and the prop wasn't real...
  • Back to The Future Part II featured self lacing sneakers which Nike now has in production for 2015 to benefit Micheal J. Fox's charity.
    • They do not, however, actually self-lace. Though a hobbyist has worked out such a device, it's too big and strong for actual use (it would fill the shoe entirely, and possibly break your foot.
    • There was a rumor that the Hoverboards from Back to The Future Part II were actually real, but had been banned due to inherent risk of lawsuits over injuries. According to Snopes, both Mattel (whose logo is prominent on the Barbie-pink hoverboard Marty McFly used) and the studio received a bunch of letters inquiring where you could get one of those wonderful toys. This was not helped when Robert Zemeckis, the film's director, gave an interview where he jokingly said they were real. This article suggests that Zemeckis owes an apology (or preferably a real hoverboard) to all the children who saw Back to The Future Part II for the trauma brought on by the realization that they could not, in fact, buy a hoverboard.
      • Oh, he didn't just do that, he shot fake footage of them being tested, using the same effects used in the movie.
        • The "Hoverboards are real" footage was done as part of a "Making of..." documentary for the movie.
    • There were also inquiries as to whether the coaster-sized dehydrated pizzas were real.
    • Another, more genuine example is the DeLorean DMC-12, a car that had been produced for less than two years and had a reputation for extreme unreliability (hence Marty's surprised comment that Doc Brown had, out of all automobiles, made a time machine out of a DeLorean). It was discontinued before the first film was ever made, but the movie caused second hand prices to skyrocket. Eventually, the car was brought back into low-level production, arguably because of the movie alone.
  • An inversion: Psycho caused the number of showers being sold to drop dramatically.
    • However, you can now buy shower curtains with permanent fake bloody handprints.
      • And shower curtains with images of "Mother" in silhouette.
  • Similarly, Jaws and beach attendance. And other oceanic activities; see below. Heck, there are even fairly serious stories of people being afraid of taking a bath after seeing Jaws.
    • The film did, however, raise something. Sadly, it was the number of people who were afraid of sharks, even the harmless ones.
    • A popular Asian Urban Legend goes that the Jaws series actually increased the demand for Shark's Fin Soup.
  • The movie Deliverance nearly bankrupted the camping industry.
  • Similarly, the My Buddy doll line has never recovered from the first Childs Play movie.
    • Making this stranger is that the writer claims that he was basing it on the Cabbage Patch Kids line. Although, given that the doll seen in the movie bears virtually no resemblance to a Cabbage Patch Kid, and a strong resemblance to a My Buddy doll, and even has a name more similar to My Buddy than Cabbage Patch Kids -- namely "Good Guy" -- it's understandable where the "confusion" could occur.
  • Because Eddie Murphy wore a Mumford Phys. Ed. Dept T-shirt in Beverly Hills Cop, the T-shirt became a huge seller. Indeed, the shirts are sold pre-faded to match the original faded design he wore.
  • The Toy Story movies created a huge demand for simple plastic green army men that led to several companies cashing in on it with video games and such.
    • Not to mention the effect the second movie had on Barbie sales. One story goes that, in pre-production of the first movie, Pixar asked permission to use Barbie and Mattel said no. When they saw the increased sales for Mr. Potato Head (and every other brand toy used in the first movie) they were only too happy to give permission to use Barbie in Toy Story 2, and even allowed Pixar to use Barbie and Ken as major characters in Toy Story 3.
    • The Slinky company had previously taken the Slinky Dog off the market years before Toy Story. They brought it back in a modified version because of the movie.
  • Older Than Television: It Happened One Night, a 1934 Frank Capra Screwball Comedy, had one scene in which Clark Gable takes off his shirt to reveal he's not wearing an undershirt. The movie coincided with sales of undershirts dramatically declining, leading to a persistent interpretation that it involved this trope.
  • A legend has it that JFK killed top hat sales by appearing hatless at his inauguration... except he did have a hat. That one was referenced in an episode of The West Wing, with Toby mentioning that the President is being sued by a garment manufacturer who blames his preference for neckties for the declining popularity of bow ties.
  • In a reverse, A Streetcar Named Desire caused a spike in T-shirt sales because of Marlon Brando's sexiness in one.
  • 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 and Gromit shorts. Noticing the increased interest, the creamery persuaded Aardman Animation to endorse a Wallace and Gromit-branded cheese, which worked to rebuild Wensleydale into a thriving product worldwide.
    • The Stinking Bishop cheese is 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.
  • There was a huge spike in sales of heart-shaped sunglasses after they were featured in the movie poster for Stanley Kubrick's 1962 adaption of Lolita.
    • The book and film also killed Lolita as a first name. Humorously, the girl is actually named Dolores, and Lolita was Humbert's (who was Nabokov's idea of the complete pseudo-intellectual) "fancy" nickname for her.
      • In Spain it's still popular, though one could ask why would anyone call their beautiful baby daughter... "Pains". However, the usual name those people respond to is Lola (the shortening), and some people do even have Lola as their first name, not Dolores. At any rate, there is a local celebrity with the name Lolita.
      • Dolores is presumably a name in honor of the Virgin Mary (she of the Seven Sorrows), like Pilar, a masculine noun from Our Lady of the Pillar, and Rosario, a masculine noun meaning Rosary.
  • In the modern classic The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman is in the middle of an existential crisis and is given the trite advice, "I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Plastics." Nevertheless, nationwide investment in plastics increased dramatically.
  • Sales of Vans shoes increased following the release of 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) wore his Vans black-and-white checkerboard slip-on shoes.
  • In This Is Spinal Tap, the band uses a custom-made amplifier which has its maximum volume setting at 11 instead of 10. Several companies now make amps with that same setting.
  • 1999: The first Matrix film is released, sales of long black and usually leather coats spike. Many of them designed directly based on and marketed by the style of the character's coats. Ditto with the sunglasses.
    • A similar craze happened in Hong Kong after John Woo's A Better Tomorrow came out, with lots of young people taking to wearing a Badass Longcoat like Chow Yun-Fat's Mark Gor wore in the movie.
      • Which led to a Lampshade Hanging in the sequel where Ken tells the neighborhood kids how dumb their taste in fashion really is.
    • Before The Matrix came out, there were no phones anywhere that slid open like the modified Nokia 8110 seen in the movie. The original wasn't spring-loaded; you had to slide it open and closed manually. After the movie opened, people wanted the spring-loaded, flick-open version, and cell phone companies had to design one to meet the demand that suddenly appeared.
  • Top Gun. After the airing, sales of Ray-Ban Aviators and bomber jackets skyrocketed. It also increased the number people enlisting the Navy and Air Force, but that at least was intentional: why do you think the film was Backed by the Pentagon?
    • Back to the Cool Glasses. Ditto for the Gargoyles sunglasses worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first Terminator movie, though not to as great an extent.
    • Also for the (again) Ray-Ban Wayfarers. During the 50s they were vaguely popular, then Audrey Hepburn wore them in Breakfast at Tiffany's...
    • Tom Cruise made Wayfarers popular a few years before Top Gun in Risky Business.
    • Will Smith helped sales of Ray-Ban RB 2030 - Predator 8 Wrap shades after Men in Black.
      • Ray-Ban tried to do it again with the anachronistic shades worn by Smith in Wild Wild West. It didn't work nearly as well.
    • The Matrix films have driven sales of the different styles of sunglasses worn by the various characters.
  • Surprising non-inversion (given some of the other "water tragedies" listed above): Sales of tickets on Seabourne cruises spiked after Speed 2 Cruise Control. Before the movie came out, Seabourne was asked what they were thinking, allowing a movie about people not having much fun on a cruise take place on their company's ship. Seabourne representatives just said it was free publicity. They were right.
  • The movie Contact apparently created quite a bit of publicity for the SETI program. Even ten years later, it's usually how people know of it. This was probably intentional, given Carl Sagan's support for the program.
    • This seems questionable, since SETI was also featured in The Arrival, Independence Day, and the second season premier of The X-Files, all of which came out before Contact and were probably seen by many more people.
  • The Japanese movie Shall We Dance? greatly increased both the popularity and respectability of ballroom dancing in Japan. As the movie shows, it was a furtive practice prior to the movie, because it was regarded as disreputable.
    • Dirty Dancing produced a similar effect in the West when it was first released. Masses of teen-age girls in Germany rushed into dance schools hoping to learn to dance like Baby Houseman and/or (especially) have a second Johnny Castle as their instructor. Guys mostly took dancing lessons because there were loads of girls, and a few hoped to one day be able to get chicks because they can dance like Johnny Castle.
    • And Dancing With the Stars has resulted in increased demand for ballroom dance classes in the US as well. Here's an article with a recent example (as of 2009).
    • Strictly Ballroom had a similar effect in Australia.
  • In-universe example: In Night at the Museum, a few chaotic events one night at the American Museum of Natural History caused a small media frenzy, which resulted in a drastic increase of attendance at the museum.
    • The film itself also renewed interest in visiting the museum.
      • Which in turn led to the sequel Battle of the Smithsonian, where the museum directors couldn't sign on fast enough, in hopes that they could make lightning strike twice.
  • The film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange caused sales to go up for "Ludwig van"'s Ninth Symphony recordings.
  • Perhaps a double-case, but the more recent example is particularly notable: perhaps everybody has dreamed of owning an Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger. One of those dreamers was James May, who was astonished to find out that the car has massive depreciation and low demand in Britain due to having a spotty reputation -- that is, until a few days after his DB5 segment, in which values started to skyrocket again.
    • BMW's cars promoted in the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films had a huge spike in sales as well. Of course, that was the whole point.
    • In supplemental material for Thunderball it is revealed that the military, upon seeing the film, were interested in acquiring the pen-sized device Bond uses to breathe underwater. Unfortunately the device doesn't actually exist. Production designer Peter Lamont politely informed them that the effect was created in the editing room.
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno created a demand for real hockey jerseys for the fictional Monroeville Zombies
  • V for Vendetta caused a huge spike in sales of Guy Fawkes masks at costume stores. The mask's increased popularity probably contributed to its use in Project Chanology a few years later, which only increased its iconic status in pop culture. It has also become a populist symbol that has appeared at numerous political protests including Occupy Wall Street.
  • There used to be a time where the Red Ryder BB gun was a very popular toy, especially in the first half of the century. Named for the comic strip cowboy character Red Ryder (who also appeared in numerous films between 1940 and 1950, and on television in 1956), the BB gun is still in production despite the fact that the comic strip was canceled in 1963. It is arguably the most famous BB gun in American history. By the time the movie A Christmas Story came out, the Red Ryder Gun was already venerable (and perhaps more famous then the comic strip that inspired it). So the gun lived this trope twice: The popularity of the Red Ryder comic gave birth to the actual gun, while A Christmas Story caused another surge in popularity for the Red Ryder, almost 50 years after its first release. Ironically, the model of Red Ryder BB gun described in the movie does not actually exist or even match any prototype. It's the Buck Jones Daisy BB Gun that has the sundial and compass in the stock.
    • Fallout 2 acknowledges A Christmas Story. While the Red Ryder BB gun is a weapon so weak it's not even worth using, there exist a unique Red Ryder limited edition BB gun, who's one of the most powerful small arms, especially for shooting monsters in the eye.
    • Much like the red Swingline, the Christmas Story Special Edition Red Ryder was released, which conformed to the features listed in the movie (including the compass in the buttstock).
  • Shirley Temple set several trends for girls. The curls obviously were a fad. She also wore a white rabbit coat in one film and the popularity of such coats exploded for upper class girls.
  • According to the movie's trivia section over at IMDb, the use of caller ID increased more than threefold after the release of Scream. The movie also increased demand for Ghostface masks/costumes, which existed before (and which is actually a minor plot point in the first film).
  • When Michael Douglas used a (now comically large) mobile phone in the 1987 film Wall Street it established the mobile phone as an essential business accessory, leading to the modern popularity of mobile phones. Nice Guy Eddie's enormous car phone in Reservoir Dogs (1992) may have helped too.
  • The 1977 film Saturday Night Fever created a nationwide craze for disco music and disco dancing (together with discotheques). Before it came out, disco was mostly confined to the New York and Philadelphia urban and gay communities.
  • After the release of the 2003 version of The Italian Job (2003 film), sales of Mini Coopers, featured heavily in the movie, increased by 22%.
  • Pulp Fiction caused great demand for John Travolta's UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs T-shirt.
    • Brown leather wallets with the words "Bad Mother Fucker" stitched on them are also available.
    • Also if you were in college in 1994 and smoked cigarettes, you had at least, by Christmas break, learned to roll them yourself, if indeed you hadn't switched to rolled cigarettes completely.
  • Juno caused what was, by all accounts, a staggering demand for hamburger-shaped phones, despite the main character's brief negative comment that it is awkward to talk into. According to a New York Post article just after the film's release, burgerphone had a huge rise of 759% in a month.
  • The Nice Hat used by Indiana Jones has been pretty much consistently popular since the first movie was released and is still being sold in costume shops as well as hat stores.
  • The Desert Eagle was a semi-automatic pistol built by 3 guys who thought it would be cool to fire .44 magnum caliber rounds in a semi-auto. It started showing up on movies and TV (perhaps most notably as used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in several movies, starting with Commando) somewhere in the mid-Eighties until eventually, the Desert Eagle managed to find itself into some 500+ movies/video games/TV shows, which boosted the sales of the gun to absurd heights. This huge increase in popularity also generated a lot of Hype Backlash against the gun and a considerable Hatedom from some gun enthusiasts, who feel the Desert Eagle gets more attention than it deserves.
    • A similar phenomenon happened with the Barrett series of sniper rifles - originally created by a single guy as a dare to create a .50 BMG rifle, the Model 82 went on to appear in nearly as many movies and video games as the Desert Eagle, plus entering into service with multiple militaries as an anti-materiel rifle.
      • It's slowly starting to happen with the AA12, too, which is replacing the SPAS-12. The SPAS-12 used to be Hollywood's shotgun of choice, and why not? It looked awesome. Many people were disappointed to find out the SPAS-12 was considered a destructive device, meaning it is a MAJOR pain-in-the-ass to legally get ahold of one.
  • The Talkboy was originally a non-working prop for Home Alone 2. In 1993 it was later into a retail version, brought on by a massive letter-writing campaign by fans of the film.
  • In-Universe, the Arms Dealer Ordell Robbie of Jackie Brown tells his friend Louis that most of his sales are driven by which weapons are wielded on TV or in the movies. Specifically, he notes that there is no demand for the Steyr AUG assault rifle because it's never been in a movie[2], while The Killer caused a spike in demand for .45 pistols (which he considers substandard compared to the 9mm). Proving his point, he then proceeds to take a phone call from a customer who wants a specific make and model of the 9mm, because it's the kind that the protagonist on New York Undercover uses.
  • A horrifying example: The Birth of a Nation singlehandedly revived the Ku Klux Klan after decades of dormancy.
  • In at least one country, the ladies started having their hair cut short after watching Demi Moore on Ghost.
  • The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou: The Adidas Rom track shoes made specifically for Team Zissou produced a demand for them in the real world. Although they were never made by Adidas, blogs popped up with directions on how to retrofit a pair and people also started selling them on eBay. Red beanies also became quite popular after the movie was released, with companies selling Ned's traffic light adorned cap.
  • The film, Holiday Inn, was the inspiration for the name of the popular real life hotel chain.
  • The gauge piercing became popular after the Na'vi in Avatar sported them.
  • Yellow-and-black Camaros. And do you know why?
  • Because George Harrison used one throughout The Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night, demand for the Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string guitar skyrocketed.
  • After its appearance in The Avengers, sales of shawarma shot up dramatically.
  • Even though the Volkswagen Beetle was a modestly-selling car during the 1960's, The Love Bug managed to make sales skyrocket even though not a lick of VW-related stuff is seen or heard in the movie. In the second one, Herbie Rides Again, Volkswagen demanded they put product placement everywhere, including an entire herd of Volkswagen 60's Beetles in the ending.
  • Averted with Twinkies in Zombieland. Despite being Tallahassee's Trademark Favorite Food and a major part of the movie, Hostess still filed for bankruptcy soon after the film was released.
  • Much like with the book (see Literature), the release of the Hunger Games film, together with the coincidental nearby releases of The Avengers(featuring Badass Normal archer Hawkeye) and the much-hyped upcoming release of Pixar's Brave (about a young Scot who becomes a bow-wielding warrior) have led to heavy increase in interest in archery, to the point where it won't be shocking if, in the future, we will probably end up hearing an Olympic Gold Medalist credit these movies as their reason for getting into the sport.


Literature

  • 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.
  • 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 books reportedly increased the popularity of boarding schools among children in Britain.
    • Also: Butterbeer. While a beverage with that name did exist back when the Tudors were ruling in the UK, it was J. K. Rowling's books that popularized the drink in recent years. All that's needed is a simple Google search to notice how everybody and their dog has their own recipe for it. Not to mention the Wizarding World of Harry Potter park in Orlando, Florida, sells it.
      • Also: Owls as pets. Owls do not make good pets. They are not pettable. They are not very sociable either. And they don't mix well with kids. This has caused a big increase in unintentional neglect of owls by owners who don't have a clue how to actually care for a predatory bird.
        • People should probably pay attention to the fact that in the books, Harry basically just uses the cage as a place for Hedwig to sleep, letting her roam the neighbourhood when he's not away at school, and grumbles about having to clean her cage. At school, he literally only sees her when she delivers his mail, and other wise, she lives in the owlery, ostensibly taken care of by someone else, if not just roaming the scottish countryside and roosting in a nice, big, warm castle.
      • Don't forget the increase in popularity that glasses-wearing got.
  • Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther, about a Bishounen 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 which 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 because Werther is described as wearing them. Not to mention the merchandise -- Werther perfume. And the fan fiction. And the opera.
  • All novels by Haruki Murakami mention music pieces by the truckload, and sure enough they send his fans scouring record stores. In 2009, an obscure classical piece, Sinfonietta by Leoš Janáček, became a surprise best-seller, because it is featured in Murakami's newly released novel 1Q84.
  • Thanks to Twilight, the town of Forks, Washington has seen a 600% increase in tourism in the last few years, 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 books are also responsible in the USA, for increasing numbers of baby boys being named "Cullen" and baby girls being named "Isabella" (as in "Bella").
      • Curiously, "Edward" doesn't seem to have had the same luck - it hasn't been in the top 100 boy names since 1997, long before the first book came out.
    • Wuthering Heights is enjoying a revival thanks to Bella and Edward's fondness for it.
    • In the pre-movie trivia to a Riff Trax Live! event, one of the items read: "The most popular baby names for 2009 were Bella and Jacob. For Shame."
  • The Count of Monte Cristo is the reason why a random old prison in the south of France (The Chateau D' If) is popular with tourists.
  • In William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, Cayce Pollard, a media consultant with an alergy to blatant commercial logos who removes the label from all her clothes and wears drab black everything, 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.


Live-Action TV

  • A Different World (the spin-off to The Cosby Show) increased African-Americans' knowledge of and attendance to America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Of course, that was arguably part of the show's intent.
    • Additionally, the flip-up sunglasses for eyeglasses which the character Dwayne Wayne wore, also saw a surge in popularity when the show was at its most popular.
  • The "hero" of Time Chasers wears a Castleton State College T-shirt through most of the movie. The MST3K episode which mocked this movie not only created a demand for the shirts, but made the movie popular enough to get a DVD release.
    • Eerily enough, one of Crow's riffs during the episode was "remember when everyone got the Nick Miller haircut and started wearing Castleton T-shirts?"
    • Many of the movies Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffed on experienced retroactive popularity (or repopularization in some cases) which played a part in the cancellation of the show as the rise in the licensing fees for some the movies made it difficult to sell the show in syndication.
  • Disney's Davy Crockett caused a wild sensation in the '50s, popularizing (among other things) coonskin caps as a must-have item among children. Coonskin caps were so popular, the raccoon almost became an endangered species because of it (this was before synthetics). As seen in Back to The Future.
  • Due to the run of the original Knight Rider, there was an increase in demand for Trans Am Firebirds -- preferably with all the gadgets, including the front scanner, that KITT possessed. Unfortunately, flashing lights on non-emergency vehicles tend to be illegal, and it was eventually requested that Knight Rider no longer refer to the car as a Trans Am.
  • Tommy Hilfiger's popularity in the hip hop scene can be traced to Snoop Dogg wearing a Tommy shirt during his Saturday Night Live performance.
  • For a show which spends most of its time talking about unaffordable supercars, Top Gear has a reputation as being able to destroy an everyday car's sales with a single negative word. Manufacturers will occasionally refuse to provide a car for the show to review, fearing they'll hate it, but this tends to rile the presenters more, and they'll often name and shame such cars before going on to review them "covertly" anyway.
    • Most notably perhaps, the presenters spent an entire series mocking the forthcoming Dacia Sandero before it had even been finished. By the start of the next series, Renault had canceled the UK release (of course, this was probably for "unrelated reasons").
      • Season 14 has May drive the Sandero in their trip to Romania, which he was rather excited about. He remarked that it's a good, honest small car that has everything you need and nothing you don't. He loved it so much, he said he was going to drive it back to the UK after the super car trip. Unfortunately, a lorry driver "accidentally" backed into it when he met back up with Clarkson and Hammond, who of course laughed at him.
    • Subverted in their American Supercars special. Dodge refused to loan them a Charger because they'd given so many of their other cars bad reviews, so Richard Hammond bought one... and he loved it.
    • Top Gear's power lap certainly gives lower-profile sports car companies a chance to get some recognition: the Gumpert Apollo is best known as the "fastest car round the Top Gear track." Although sometimes the opposite is true: Clarkson royally took apart the reliability and safety of the Caparo T1.
    • The real red stapler though is the military. Every challenge featuring the military provides the BA and RAF with a chance to show off their state of the art military hardware to millions of prime-time (often male, young adult) viewers. Top Gear is one of the best recruiting ads out on the BBC, second only to James Bond.
    • Rubbished by the presenters themselves, who note that several cars that they've dissed have gone on to sell in big numbers.
  • Home perm kit sales sky-rocketed in Britain after Ashes to Ashes, which features a permed Keeley Hawes, began running.
  • At the height of its popularity, Power Rangers most definitely did get the youngsters fixated on martial arts, although it was less of the "take classes, study disciplines and earn belts" sort than it was the "yell 'hi-yah!' and kick your cousin in the groin" variety.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard revitalized popularity in the late-60's model Dodge Charger, but also smashed so many of them that they remain hard to find to this day.
    • The show also popularized short-shorts ("Daisy Dukes").
  • Inversion: Australian TV show Kath and Kim decreased the popularity of Chardonnay (wine). Having it drunk by two of the least classy middle-class women in all of Melbourne, one of whom pronounces it "card-donnay" might have something to do with it.
  • Applications to ER medical residency programs skyrocketed after ER premiered.
  • To give an idea of the hype on Matt Smith's tenure in Doctor Who, let's point out that interest in Harris Tweeds rose because he wears one as the Doctor... before he properly debuted on the show!
  • After the Lost episode "Numbers" debuted, there was a marked rise in purchases of lottery tickets using the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42.
    • And indeed, there have been several reports of people winning large amounts of the money by playing those numbers and winning from some or most of the numbers. A reported jackpot with all of the Lost numbers has, to date, never been reported.
  • The title character's coat in Sherlock was a discontinued, limited edition item. There were so many demands for it after the show aired that Belstaff brought it back.
  • Emergency: The show is popularly thought to been the best advertisement about the merits of the paramedic program ever, and lots of cities and counties started setting up their own in the 1970s.
  • The producers of Star Trek: The Original Series were once contacted by the managers of a fancy hotel/resort. They had been experimenting with Star Trek-style automatic doors, but having a devil of a time getting them to work right. After asking how the Star Trek crew had managed to overcome the formidable technical difficulties, they were nonplussed to learn the truth behind the magical Enterprise doors: just a guy pulling on a rope.
    • In another aspect, James Doohan's Montgomery Scott character has inspired so many to become engineers that he received an honorary degree in Engineering from one such school.
  • When fans of Gossip Girl learned where Chuck's trademark hideous scarf from season one could be purchased, it sold out in a matter of days.
  • CSI. After the show started airing applications to be forensics investigators and applications for appropriate college majors skyrocketed. Pretty much every Las Vegas souvenir store carries CSI merchandise now.
    • Which is particularly odd in that LVMPD (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department) doesn't employ CSIs, they have CSAs (Crime Scene Analysts).
    • And in a non-commercial example, there's The CSI Effect. Which is bad, by the way.
  • When the game show Legends of the Hidden Temple was on Nickelodeon, everybody wanted one of the team shirts the contestants wore, and there were a few playground arguments over which of the six teams (Red Jaguars, Blue Barracudas, Green Monkeys, Orange Iguanas, Purple Parrots, or Silver Snakes) was the coolest. Since they were a prop and only available to the actual contestants, many kids were disappointed. Over 15 years and a Nostalgia Filter later, the demand is still so high, they keep a couple of internet companies in business. Like this one.
  • The "Rachel" cut, the flat, straight and square-layered hairstyle worn by Jennifer Aniston in the first couple of seasons of Friends, was so popular with women that it came to be associated with The Nineties the same way that frizzy, voluminous hair defined the preceding decade. The funny thing is that this was unintentional. The stylist originally wanted Aniston to have even-length hair, but accidentally cut off a bit too much on the front right; instead of matching all the rest of her hair to it, he just cut off a bit on the other side to make it symmetrical. In an interview, Aniston claims that she hated the haircut and didn't get what the "big deal" was.
  • The massive popularity of The X-Files' early seasons had viewers clamoring for Mulder's UFO-themed office poster. However, the image on the poster was created (and owned) by the show's production team, and couldn't legally be mass produced. Eventually, the show's merchandising department remedied the problem by redesigning the poster used in the show itself, adding the iconic "I Want to Believe" catchphrase to a (similar) pre-existing image of a UFO.
    • It also greatly increased the interest in UFOlogy and probably inspired many young conspiracy theorists.
  • Whenever the show Glee features a song that is either obscure or hasn't been big in several years, the publicity causes sales for the original song to go up.
    • Arguably, it's also created a mainstream interest in show choir.
  • Kyra Sedgwick's simple no-frills carry-all black tote in The Closer is now selling on QVC.
  • In Germany, there's been a notable increase in the number of young people wanting to go into gastronomy and hotel management after jobs in these fields were disproportionally frequently given to Soap Opera characters.
  • One of the most famous examples: When J.J. went out and got a library card in an episode of Good Times, it inspired many young African-Americans to do the same.
  • You can now buy Dunder Mifflin brand paper from Quill.com
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Surprise" Angel gives Buffy a claddagh ring for her 17th birthday, explaining the different meanings in how you wear it, with obvious romantic overtones. The scene caused a boost in popularity for claddagh rings.
  • Everyone can thank Steve Urkel for popularizing the tiny and quite strange BMW Isetta bubble car.


Media

  • An odd example in that the news is responsible, and a rather tragic one at that: All of the news stories regarding pit bull attacks and dog fighting rings has solidified their image as vicious attack dogs (which isn't accurate), leading to a rise in their popularity amongst unscrupulous owners who just want a tough-looking dog to show off, or, worse yet, to fight against other dogs. Many of these dogs will end up being abused and/or left tied up in backyards, which causes them to develop behavioral issues (as any dog, not just a pit bull, would in that scenario), and eventually leads to yet another incident of a pit bull attack, and the subsequent news story... at which point the whole cycle goes full circle and starts over again. Dobermans and Rottweilers also suffer from this, to a much lesser extent, but the pit bull breeds tend to get the worst of it. You can, of course, also blame the jerks who run dog-fighting rings for this problem.


Music

  • The music video for Avril Lavigne's "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 plummeted after the song faded away. Far worse than burning out.
    • Not that Kurt 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. 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.
  • Another Grunge reference, the "grunge" look: really unkempt hair and thrift store, especially flannel, clothing became popular after the mainstream success of various grunge bands. However, many of these bands where wearing them not to create a fad but because they were the warmest clothes they could afford. 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.
  • During Beatlemania, just about anything a Beatle wore took off. Arguably the most famous is the moptop hair cut.
    • In addition, the Beatles connection certainly helped (and helps) 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.
  • After Jay-Z said in "Show You How" 'we don't drive X5's, we give 'em to baby mamas', BMW X5 sales dropped notably.
    • Although most of the target audience for X5's probably didn't even know who Jay-Z is, let alone paid attention to one line on a pretty obscure album track.
  • Queens Of The Stone Age singer/guitarist Josh Homme's use of the rare Ovation GP type of electric guitar has increased demand and prices for original examples.
  • Similarly, 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 enough of an Ear Worm that despite only mentioning the iconic Australian product once in the entire song, when the song was first released it drove up sales of Vegemite.
  • Marching-band inspired jackets remain popular since My Chemical Romance's release of The Black Parade.
  • Due to Tommy Tutone's Ear Worm of a song known as "Jenny", the United States has made the phone number 867-5309 pretty much 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 Sixties to legendary status; neither model were known as high sellers at the time.
  • Brooks and 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 as a bassist stand-in for guitarists, much like drum computers were drummer surrogates. It didn't sell too well, so production was ceased in 1984 already, and the last 303s were sold for dirt cheap (its original price was about $400). By the end of The Eighties, the 303's worth was down to a two-digit amount of dollars. Some of those that hadn't been disposed of already were bought for next to nothing by Chicago-based DJs and musicians who then discovered the potential of the little silver box and invented Acid House on it by tweaking the sound generator while a sequence runs. Acid House became popular, and by the early Nineties, the TB-303 was so popular and sought-after that its value had risen to multiple times its original price.
    • Pretty much the same applies to analog synthesizers in general which were almost worthless during the beginning digital boom in the late 80s and grew outrageously expensive after they helped make and popularize new electronic dance music styles only a few years later.
  • One of the main reasons why the Yamaha CS80 is so expensive is because it's the key element in Vangelis' trademark sound, and many musicians want to sound like this. Just listen to the Blade Runner soundtrack.
    • Except it really did cost a ton when it first came out, since it had a then-unheard-of eight voices of polyphony, an extremely expressive weighted keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch (which the aforementioned Vangelis uses extensively to create beautiful swelling sounds), its legendary ribbon controller, which it used instead of a pitch bend wheel for glissando effects (Stevie Wonder reportedly used it so much that he wore out the ones on his three CS80s on more than one occasion), one of the first preset-storage systems (albeit a primitive one), completely independent filters and envelopes for both oscillators (effectively making it two synths in one, and allowing you to use two different timbres at once, either layered or mapped to different parts of the keyboard), a ring modulator, both lowpass and highpass filters (uniquely, the highpass filter is resonant like the lowpass one, unlike the highpass filter on Roland's answer to the CS80, the Jupiter-8), and a really big, organ-like interface. Due to the sheer amount of components in it, it's infamous for being difficult to service as well. Thankfully, the French software company Arturia makes a virtual version of the CS80 (along with other classic synths, like the Minimoog, the Moog modular system, the Prophet-5, the ARP 2600, and the aforementioned Jupiter-8), which, while not as rich-sounding as the real thing, gets you roughly in the ballpark for a hundredth of what a real one in good condition costs. It also doesn't weigh 220 pounds.
  • 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 America during the sixties and seventies.
  • Katy Perry's video for "Part of Me" has 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. Volvo buyers are even demanding new, Retraux Volvo 240s, similar to the new MINI Cooper and Fiat 500, as they feel the S40 is too small but the S60 is too large/expensive and more of a premium executive car.


Newspaper Comics

  • A doll of the Pointy-Haired Boss was made, after fans demanded one, seeing one depicted in the Dilbert comic strip.
  • This seems to be a permanent example, especially in the United States. Beagles have spiked to being one of the most popular dogs in the nation for decades. Though that's not entirely due to Peanuts and Snoopy. In large areas of the US, it's common to own a dog or two specifically for hunting (dogs are good at flushing and retrieving birds and small game.) Beagles make extremely good hunting dogs (they have excellent senses, steady nerves, and it's easy to train them to react properly to gunfire), and were bred for that purpose. A lot of pet beagles were inspired by "Grandpa's old coon-dog" as much as by Snoopy.


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 has also made inroads north of the border, with the recent success of masked wrestlers like Rey Mysterio, Jr. and The Hurricane.
    • Not to mention that the popularity of The Hurricane's previous gimmick, "Hurricane" Helms, Green Lantern fanboy, led to a sizable number of fans showing up to arenas festooned in Green Lantern merchandise as a show of support for Helms. One wonders if the switch in gimmicks was just so Helms could move WWE merchandise instead of DC merchandise...


Theater

  • 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 clothes look.


Video Games

  • With so many Pokémon, treating every Pokémon equally in regards to official merchandise is nearly impossible. At best at least every Pokémon gets a figure. However, usually depending on what's happening in Pokémon at the very moment (mostly related to the anime), demand for Pokémon involved will jump up. That or it jumps up because said products soon become available. For instance, Diamond and Pearl has been out in Japan since 2007, but it wasn't until April 2010 that Togekiss merchandise was available due to an event involving Togekiss in the anime. Also notice that various merchandise of other Pokémon that used to be commonplace are now rare items.
  • The massive success of The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time resulted in a massive spike in ocarina sales. Music stores sold out of ocarinas and couldn't keep up with demand. Many kids were disappointed when they asked for an ocarina and got something like this or this.
    • To this day, Renaissance Fairs still sell baby-blue transverse ocarinas, usually with a Triforce-like sign to indicate them.
      • Which probably come from Songbird Ocarinas, who has been running the same ad in Nintendo Power for 12 years.
  • 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 Nice Hat obsession among its fans, though part of it is also due to said fans wanting to Cosplay.
  • Fallout 3 apparently greatly increased the interest in the 1940s music that makes up most of the soundtrack. That Other Wiki says Roy Brown's "Butcher Pete" increased in iTunes sales by 700% after the game's release.
  • After a Suwa Taisha-inspired shrine made it's way into Gensokyo, the real-life shrine saw a significant increase in pilgrimages.
  • The town that Higurashi no Naku Koro ni'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 Dragon Force big career leg-ups.
  • A bizarre and very meta example: In Persona 3, one of the social links involves playing a 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 is that the game does not have a lot of players and is dying.
  • Thanks to being featured in Gran Turismo, 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.
    • One could also say Gran Turismo helped with the huge popularity of the Nissan Skyline, albeit when it did finally make it into the US, it evolved into the more exotic, Ferrari-fighter brand, dropping the "Skyline" name entirely and just going with GTR. While many design aspects are still prevalent, it's clearly not the same car anymore.
  • 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", noting that the most common search term used to find his blog was for the experimental, once-obscure Bushmaster ACR assault rifle. He attributes this to the gun being featured in Modern Warfare 2 with a heartbeat sensor. People in the comments section also noted that Modern Warfare and games like it have caused an increased interest in the military and guns in general, with the owner of a gun store providing a rather creepy anecdote about a gamer who came into his shop looking for something to "headshot some noobs" with.
    • Equally creepy is there's a very high chance that a good percentage of these people don't know Gun Safety. Not to mention their favorite gun to "headshot some noobs" probably runs for at least $1500, for the basic model.
  • SWAT 4 featured a stun gun that held two cartridges instead of one. They make that now.
  • The popularity of the STALKER games has led to an increase in Chernobyl tourism and the RealLife "stalker" phenomenon.


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

  • Lord Kat'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 "Saviour of Tribes").
  • Similarly, 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.
  • Homestuck Anything Betty Crocker, particularly Gushers. Also, TaB and Faygo, all the more amusing given how they're known to be fairly average budget drinks. In addition, it also drove up interest in a long-out-of-print record, Eddie Morton's "I'm a Member of the Midnight Crew".
  • 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.)
    • This is actually Older Than Television, as 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.


Western Animation

  • When The BBC began a re-run of Thunderbirds in 1992 (the first time it had ever been simulcast nationally) demand for Tracy Island toys outstripped supply. Blue Peter helpfully gave instructions for building a home-made version.
    • The video release of which ran out in minutes.
    • Forget the video, demand was such that there was a huge lead time in receiving a paper copy of the instructions from the BBC. (Bear in mind, this was before internet access was widespread.)
  • On Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable's sidekick/pet naked mole rat has led to kids wanting one for their very own. Common sense provides it's not really a Speech-Impaired Animal in real life, but what even parents might not know is that the naked mole rat is basically blind, anti-cute, and one of the only mammals that are eusocial -- like bees -- and so can only survive in an underground colony with hundreds of other mole rats. Also, they look like this.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sparked a pet turtle craze as mentioned above. Sadly, parents and children alike had no idea how to properly care for them, to say nothing of the fact that the kid would in theory be well into his 70's or older before his pet bit the dust. As a result, many turtles really did wind up in sewers in the 90's. But on the lighter side, TMNT also caused a surge in the popularity of pizza.
  • Played with in Ka Blam!, which had a scene in an episode where Henry and June show the audience their poseable action figures. After it aired, kids across America searched in Toys R Us/Wal Mart/Target for H&J toys. They don't exist.
  • After the Lady Gaga song "Poker Face" made an appearance in an episode of South Park where the boys are playing Rock Band, the song quickly made it into the real game. Even better? So did Cartman's version.
  • The free advertising provided by the frequent references to Wensleydale cheese in the Wallace and Gromit shorts and movie kept the makers of that cheese from going out of business.
  • Inverted with A Charlie Brown Christmas; the special's denouncement of Aluminum Christmas Trees is credited with helping kill the fad.
  • School bands saw an increase in female sax players once Lisa on The Simpsons became a popular character.


Other

  • 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.
  • 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. Go on, I dare you.)
  • Even the United States Government stocks the red stapler (or at least a Skilcraft knockoff). Note the National Stock Number 7520-01-467-9434.
  • Demand for Portuguese Water Dogs went up 50% after the Obama family adopted one so that the allergic daughters could have a puppy.
    • Build-A-Bear workshop released a commemorative Portuguese Water stuffed animal after the Obama family bought one. They even had little patriotic accessories for it.
    • Along the same lines, President Kennedy and his family caused a few trends--when word circulated that he could read 1600 words a minute, attendance in speed-reading courses went up.
      • Rumor has it that "Kennedy killed the hat" for men, because he appeared in public not wearing one. The wearing of hats for men had actually started to decline long before Kennedy was president, and he really wore one to his inauguration, taking it off only while he was giving his "Ask Not" speech.
      • When Kennedy issued a list of his favorite books for Life magazine, eager Americans were disappointed to find out the list largely consisted of intellectual non-fiction history texts. The only novel on the list was From Russia with Love, which instantly became a best-seller and piqued American interest in James Bond.
  • As an April Fool's joke, thinkgeek.com listed a Tauntaun Sleeping Bag. Customers were more than a little miffed to realize it was a practical joke. The site has since negotiated with Lucasfilm to get the sleeping bag approved and licensed, and is now a real product.
  • A fairly well-known aphorism for auto manufacturers: "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday." It's their usual explanation for sponsoring racing teams.
  • The 2010 FIFA World Cup (as well as the FIFA Confederations Cup the previous year) had audibly made the Vuvuzela pretty popular among spectators.
    • In Canada (well, Winnipeg, at least) they've been around for ages. Canadians call them "arena horns" or "football horns."
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Three words: Three Wolf Moon. This ordinary t-shirt [3] is probably one of THE most popular products on Amazon.com, and it's all thanks to one parody review.
  • Also, some specialist software used by British city councils is now undergoing this trope due to WhatDoTheyKnow.com
  • By the way, if you want your own red stapler, it's still being sold.

Notes

  1. While direct evidence of feathers in Velociraptor itself was published in 2007
  2. Ordell is somewhat incorrect, as the rifle had been used in several movies, most notably as Alexander Godunov's signature weapon in Die Hard
  3. Okay, it's not so ordinary. The camo pattern does look really cool
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