There's two questions that have been asked in this vein

The potential problem here is that these aren't actual stories but little vignettes designed to sell a product. So there isn't a "universe", as much as the brands are all owned by the same company.

I guess the question ultimately is, is there a minimum body of work to ask questions about? I seriously doubt any marketer has given as much thought to these characters as these two questions have.

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    It's a toughie. Anthropomorphic animals aren't on-topic unless they're fantastical in that universe. But at the same time, these characters have complex (and often fantastical) settings for their vignettes. – Valorum Apr 25 '18 at 18:42
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    I would vote no, unless it can be seen that there's a consistent (keyword) setting that and/or background details can be seen to be built up. I don't know of any product or advertising campaign that hasn't thrown out previous material, offhand, unless it was already built off a SFF work. – Radhil Apr 25 '18 at 18:53
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    The Trix Rabbit has been into space multiple times as well as meeting a genie; youtube.com/watch?v=s7Mals1CUfc – Valorum Apr 25 '18 at 19:15
  • I've edited second question to make it far easier to answer. And I've deleted the Trix one as off-topic. – TheAsh Apr 25 '18 at 19:25
  • @Valorum he has appeared alongside both Brair Rabbit from Song of the South and Bugs Bunny youtu.be/08gt3JqdJfI. – TheAsh Apr 25 '18 at 19:31
  • "I seriously doubt any marketer has given as much thought to these characters as these two questions have." You would be surprised how much thought they give. Particularly with the Trix rabbit, there's a huge wealth of material to deal with, and I'll undelete the question if we come to a consensus on meta. – TheAsh Apr 25 '18 at 19:32
  • There's definitely more thought than say, Mario or The Far Side, both of which have high rated questions, – TheAsh Apr 25 '18 at 19:33
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    These characters are significant enough in pushing merchandise that I really wouldn't doubt it if multiple people have given a great deal of thought to them -- granted, probably not so much on the mechanics of crossovers, but Trix & co have probably paid a lot of salaries over the years. You can get anyone to take anything seriously if you pay them enough. (I still think the questions themselves are silly and without much basis to build proper answers on, but not inherently because of their subjects.) – Jeroen Mostert Apr 25 '18 at 19:37
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    Does that mean I can ask about the lore behind the Chex-themed Doom clone from the early 90s? – CBredlow Apr 25 '18 at 20:20
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    @TheAsh - admittedly, the Mario questions give me a headache too. I have trouble applying logic against settings where it was never intended to be. Might be my biases showing. – Radhil Apr 25 '18 at 20:29
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    @CBredlow I'm not sure that really belongs in the same category as this question. Chex Quest is a video game (series) with a clear sci-fi story (alien invasion from an alternate dimension). The cereal promotion aspect is more incidental, and doesn't make a great example for this discussion. – user31178 Apr 25 '18 at 20:59
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    I think it's silly to include them, but (at least for now) there don't seem to be enough of these questions to cause a serious problem, so it's not worth pushing back on. – MissMonicaE Apr 27 '18 at 12:35

We generally have a policy that questions specifically about the SFF-nal elements of works, regardless if the entire work is on topic, then the question is on topic. This is a long-standing policy that's shaped many of discussions:

If the question is specifically about an sf-nal element, even if it's only a minor part of the work, it's on-topic.

So, we have to evaluate whether or not the question, Did The Lucky Charms Leprechaun always exist in the same universe as other General Mills characters?, which is about a magical Leprechaun (who coexisted with the magical Waldo the Wizard) and his connection to other characters is on-topic.

Fundamentally, the question is asking about whether or not a fantasy universe includes other characters.

To me, this seems to be specifically about a SFF-nal element of a universe (which has had varying levels of stories told throughout the years, via commercials, booklets, and packaging), that it should qualify under our rule.

The caveat being that this specific question seems to be on topic, but that's not necessarily the answer for the broader case of "marketing characters" or commercials, and it seems hasty to try and make a general use case.

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    As you say, "SFF-nal elements of works" are on topic. You address the "SSF-nal elements" part, but I think that leaves the question of what constitutes a "work". While we are quite relaxed about that, I don't think anything is a "work". If I sign up for Twitter and issue one tweet that has Sci-Fi elements, is Blackwood's tweet a work that we want to accept questions about? Some might say yes, others not. So does advertising copy (in general - allowing that there might be exceptions) rise to the level of a "work" about which worthwhile questions can be asked and answers can be provided? – Blackwood Apr 26 '18 at 4:12
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    100% agreed with Blackwood, this "policy" seems to be taken out of hand. In this case Old Spice should be on-topic because in one commercial the guy is flying and then teleports onto a horse. I'm also not seeing how "do these two exist in the same universe" is SFF-nal? Nothing SFF-nal must exist for two arbitrary characters to exist in the same universe. – Edlothiad Apr 26 '18 at 5:32
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    @Blackwood There is a body of works with these characters meant to tell stories, short as they might be, spanning decades.They were intended to tell stories, in ads & comics. That's a far different case than what you're implying. I won't answer a question about "advertising" in general because it's frankly quite immature to bother making any sort of policy like that when our only other related case was about a story-id that turned out to be a commercial. – user31178 Apr 26 '18 at 14:02
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    @Edlothiad This policy isn't taken out of hand simply because you don't like the idea of the work, and *far and away our policies have be anti-discriminatory and instead inclusive of works instead of gatekeeping.* The leprechaun is a magical character, and asking about which universe that contains magic that he dwells in is therefore relevant. That's merely the criteria we use if the whole universe isn't already on-topic, which is another discussion. And as you'll notice, this answer isn't an all-clear for any other questions, just this very specific question – user31178 Apr 26 '18 at 14:12
  • So, no questions about whatever happened to Jean LaFoote, or the Vanilla Crunch whale mascot.... – RDFozz Apr 26 '18 at 23:46
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    @RDFozz Right, because it's reckless to try and make a global policy about a scenario that doesn't even exist now, and for the most part, you can determine whether a character is on-topic or not using our existing rules, and marketing characters will fall on either side of the line. – user31178 Apr 27 '18 at 16:39
  • @Blackwood: You can absolutely tell a whole story in a single tweet, especially now that they've doubled the character limit. And by "you" I mean "Ernest Hemingway." Besides, if we're going to allow random "[character] has sex with [other character]" fanfics, I can't see us excluding this. – Kevin May 9 '18 at 4:51

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