It’s not an easy task to introduce a brand new product to the market. Sometimes consumers aren’t ready for the product, sometimes they fail to make a use of it. And if that happens even an enormous marketing budget can’t make people buy it.
Here at Bored Panda we gathered some products that are notorious for being so unsuccessful that some of them even managed to drive companies out of business. From re-branding and product extension fails, such as Colgate lasagna, to startup companies, like Juicero, these products made people scratch their heads with confusion.
Scroll below to delve into the world of the biggest product flops ever.
In 1982 Colgate came up with the weirdest brand extension idea. They decided to sell frozen dinners. This plan backfired, probably because consumers couldn’t help but think that the Colgate food tasted just like their toothpaste. No company launches a product thinking that it will decrease sales of their other products, but Colgate should’ve seen it coming. Their toothpaste sales plummeted after the launch of the kitchen entrees line.
Clippy is described by some as one of the worst user interfaces ever developed. Clippy was designed to pop up whenever the software thought that the user needed help and managed to annoy quite a few people. After Microsoft acknowledged it’s unpopularity they decided to remove the feature.
In 2000 Heinz decided to add an unexpected twist to their ketchup to catch children’s attention. They came up with Ez Squirt colored ketchup which came in three main colors: teal, green, and purple. The idea wasn’t meant to last on the market. After 6 years it was discontinued.
In 2012 Bic released a product for women they didn’t even know they needed – “lady pens”. These pointlessly gendered pens were mocked and failed to gain a consumer base
In 2011 Google launched its new social network Google+. However, it never lived up to their expectations of becoming a Facebook competitor. It was a huge disappointment
In 1998 Frito-Lay introduced new fat-free potato chips. People got caught up in the hype of this “miracle food” and within the first year sales reached $400 million. Sales plummeted soon after, however, when it was revealed that the chips contain Olestra, a fat substitute that causes abdominal cramping and loose stools.
In 2005 someone at Frito-Lay decided it would be a great idea to launch a Cheetos’ flavored lip balm. Even those of us who have never tried Cheetos can understand why this idea flopped.
Donald Trump kicked off his “world’s greatest” line of premium steaks in 2007. However, consumers didn’t agree with the description ‘great’. The product was discontinued after just two months for sales failures.
In 1992 Pepsi introduced a new product called “Crystal Pepsi”. The product died a year later. David C. Novak, who is credited with introducing the concept, admitted: “It would have been nice if I’d made sure the product tasted good.”
In 1999 the nightmarish Rejuvenique Facial Toning Mask was launched. This creepy mask was intended to tighten facial muscles with… shock therapy. Consumers revealed that it feels as bad as it sounds.
In 1994 a bottled water made for cats and dogs was launched. The beverage was carbonated, vitamin enriched and flavored. The product flopped after consumers realized it was completely unnecessary to give their pets, what was essentially soda.
Launched in 2009, TwitterPeek was the first and the last Twitter-only mobile device. The product was created to do only one thing – send and receive tweets, but managed to fail at this simple function. The device gave only a 20-character preview of the tweets. It was no surprise that consumers made a hard pass on this device.
In 1985 Coca-Cola Co. decided to reformulate Coke. The company invested $4 million into a nationwide taste test. And despite the New Coke doing well in taste tests, after the launch, people’s reactions were extremely negative. Within three months of the New Coke’s release, the company had to reintroduce the original formula and rebrand it as Coca-Cola Classic.
Google Glass, launched in 2013, was a very flawed attempt to create smart glasses. The device retailed for $1,500 and failed to carry out any of its intended functions well. These high-tech glasses also reportedly raised some very serious safety and privacy concerns.
In 2015 hoverboards turned out to be one of the biggest tech flops. Why? Because they could potentially catch fire and burn your house down.
In 2013 Juicero introduced a juicer called the Juicero Press. This device was sold with packets of pre-juiced fruits and vegetables sold exclusively by the company. They were humiliated when consumers realized that the packets could be squeezed by hand just as efficiently as with the juicer. Later, Juicero announced that it was suspending their juicer sales and repurchasing the products from customers.
Amazon decided to enter the smartphone market with the Fire Phone in 2014. However, it was very unsuccessful and was discontinued a year later. The company’s CEO Tom Szkutak indicated that the pricing strategy was to blame for this product fail.
This energy drink was pulled from shelves in the US because of its suggestive name. The FDA decided that Cocaine was “was illegally marketing the drink as both a street drug alternative and a dietary supplement”. The drink is still sold in Europe under its original name.
Atari spent $20 million to secure the box office hit E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial thinking they had found a profitable source for video game development. The company produced 4 million cartridges however 2.5 million were left unsold and were dumped in a landfill
In 2017 everyone was talking about this explosive failure – the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It lasted less than a year in the market after Samsung had to recall around 2.5million phones, due to complaints of overheating and exploding batteries.
In 1988 RJ Reynolds Tobacco decided to develop a smokeless cigarette. The company invested $325 million into manufacturing their new Premier line which, according to the CEO of the company “tasted like sh*t”. It’s no surprise people didn’t buy them.
Orbitz drink which resembles a lava lamp caught consumers attention in 1988. However, according to reviews, its taste wasn’t worth the hype. People began comparing the beverage to cough syrup and the gel balls were only making the taste worse.
In 2016 Jimmy Dean introduced a strange combination – sausage links wrapped in chocolate chip pancakes on a stick. The saying “it might be crazy enough to work” did not apply to this product.
You probably know this car for its appearance in the movie Back to the Future movie. Notable for its gull-wing doors, the car was plagued by performance and safety issues. It was on the market only for three years before production was stopped.
In 2002 Pepsi launched their Pepsi Blue drink, to compete with Vanilla Coke. Despite being heavily promoted this new beverage flopped. It was supposed to taste like berries, however, consumers said it tasted more like cotton candy with a berry-like aftertaste.
Operating system Windows Vista, released in 2007, turned out to be a huge failure. It flopped due to issues with new security features, performance, driver support and product activation.
In 1999 Cosmopolitan magazine decided to get into the food game. They came up with the idea of Cosmopolitan yogurt. While yogurt itself seemed to appeal to their target demographic, Cosmopolitan was unable to sell their brand. It was discontinued after only 18 months.
In 2006 Coca-Cola combined Cola with coffee to create Coca-Cola Blak. The drink was shelved a couple years later when people began to complain about the poor taste and excess caffeine.
In 1989 Bic decided to launch a completely unrelated product to its brand – perfume. People were not impressed. Bic removed the fragrance off shelves the following year, swallowing an estimated $11 million loss.
In 1989 Pepsi introduced Pepsi A.M. This new formula contained more caffeine than regular Pepsi and was marketed as a morning drink. However, consumers were not fond of the idea of drinking Pepsi for breakfast. As a result, Persi A.M. was discontinued a year later
Segway was launched in 2001 with very high expectations. However, this two-wheeled expensive vehicle failed to live up to the hype. It came with a price tag of $5,000 and despite being quite innovative it just wasn’t that appealing or necessary to consumers.
Back in 2003 before everyone was playing games on their smartphones, Nokia decided to combine phones and gaming. The company expected a better reception to their Nokia N-gage, but it ended up being a total fail. This ‘taco phone’, as some people began referring to it, only managed to reach one-third of its 6 million units in sales.
In 2006 Microsoft came up with the Zune, a product that was supposed to rival the iPod. However, Zune failed to convince consumers that it was on par with the iPod. In 2011 Zune players were discontinued.
In 1974 the baby-food giant, Gerber, came up with the idea to create a ‘baby food’ for adults. Gerber believed that there’s a market for ready to eat food in a jar, but oh how wrong they were. Consumers didn’t find jars of meat mush very appetizing and Gerber Singles failed badly.
Burger King’s attempt to make french fries a little more healthy backfired.They introduced Satisfries in 2013 as an alternative to regular fried, except with less fat and fewer calories. Consumers weren’t fond of these revamped fries, and Burger Kind had to go back to their original recipe.
In 2011 Time magazine listed this game among “Top 10 Donald Trump Failures”. This game was released in 1989 with only 800,000 copies sold out of an expected two million.
Hot Wheels and Barbie computers came with so many manufacturing issues that it drove the company out of business, with thousands of unfilled orders.
Sony Betamax was released in 1975 and it was a huge mistake because its rivals started selling VHS machines. The Betamax format was crushed in the “videotape format war” by the VHS. Consumers preferred it mainly because VHS recording time was 2 hours, and it allowed most feature films to be recorded without a tape change.
Microsoft introduced a software called Bob in 1995. The Bob was supposed to make windows more user-friendly by transforming the desktop screen into an image of a room to help users find and understand programs better. However, it was a huge unworkable mess and Bob was discontinued a year later.
In 1996 McDonald decided to broaden its target demographic by introducing a burger Arch Deluxe. Mustard-mayonnaise sauce was supposed to appeal to adult tastes, however, even a $100 million advertising campaign couldn’t convince grown-ups to eat the burger. The Arch Deluxe was soon discontinued and its marketing campaign now is considered to be one of the most expensive flops of all time.
Despite being able to offer higher quality video and audio than its rivals, Laserdisc failed to gain traction
Starbucks and Pepsi partnered to make this carbonated coffee-soda. People couldn’t decide whether they liked or hated the drink. Nevertheless, it was discontinued after failing to appeal to a broad audience.
Four Loko used to be an alcoholic beverage combined with caffeine. The drink was the subject of ethical, legal and health concerns. In 2011 FDA declared alcoholic energy drinks a public health concern
Introduced in 2009, Vio a beverage by The Coca-cola company, failed to win consumer’s hearts. Why? Probably because flavored milk mixed with carbonated water is a very odd and unappealing combination.
Back in 1957, Ford Motor Company manufactured a car called the Edsel. The company invested $400 million in the development, manufacturing, and marketing with the belief that Edsel was the “car of the future”. However, once it was unveiled to the public, it failed so badly to appeal to the consumers, that Ford ended up losing $250 million. Edsel was taken off the market in 1960 and became an example…
Back in 1957, Ford Motor Company manufactured a car called the Edsel. The company invested $400 million in the development, manufacturing, and marketing with the belief that Edsel was the “car of the future”. However, once it was unveiled to the public, it failed so badly to appeal to the consumers, that Ford ended up losing $250 million. Edsel was taken off the market in 1960 and became an example of how not to market a product.
It is estimated that Apple produced 100,000 units of Pippin console and only 42,000 were sold. As it turns out the console which supposed to be a gaming, web browsing and educational device wasn’t that appealing to the consumers
Mars Needs Moms was an utter disappointment for Disney. The animated film cost $150 million to produce and probably $50 million more went to marketing. The saddest part is that the movie only made only $6.9 million in its debut at the domestic box office. It is considered the worst flop of 2011.
In 1996 General Motors introduced EV1 as the first mass-produced electric car. It was a big hit with consumers and environmentalist. However, six years after the release, General Motors recalled the model claiming liability and spare parts problems, making quite a few people angry.
When Starbucks launched Unicorn Frappuccino it made people freak out of how good it looked on their Instagram feeds. However, the taste didn’t live up to the hype and left many people disappointed.
The CueCat was supposed to serve as a bridge between the print media world and the internet. After plugging the device into a PC, consumers could use it to scan barcodes on magazines, the browser would then open a specialized website associated with the barcode. The product left everyone scratching their heads and it was discontinued after it was deemed useless.