You know those dreams where everything seems to make sense and then you wake up and remember how your shoes were bananas and everyone looked like your mailman? That’s probably how companies like Coors, Colgate, and Coke felt when their “brilliant” product innovations turned out to be catastrophic duds! These bad ideas stayed on shelves just long enough for people to make fun of them, before they were yanked off product lines with heavy-hearted hooked canes.
10) Bottled Water for Pets
In 1994, the Florida-based Thirsty Dog! and Thirsty Cat! bottled pet drinks were born. These carbonated, vitamin-enriched beverages came in two flavors: “Crispy Beef” for classy canines and “Tangy Fish” for favored felines. If you accidentally grabbed a bottle for yourself, there’s no need to fear: the FDA deemed it safe to drink for humans too! It might seem silly, but in 2008, a new company emerged called “Fortifido” offering similar services. Who knows? In a land where $25,000 dollar hot chocolates exist, this is comparatively reasonable.
9) Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water
In 1990, Coors was eager to enter the bottled water market. After some product taste testing, they released three flavors of Rocky Mountain Spring Water: Original, Lemon-Lime, and Cherry. It is thought that because the Coors label was so prominently placed on the bottle, people mistook it for an alcohol, and who wants to drink clear beer? A lesson also learned by the next entry in the list.
8) Crystal Pepsi
During the early 90s, the advertising concept that ‘clear’ was equal to purity and healthfulness was enormously popular (similarly to how ‘green’ is marketed now). Hoping to capitalize on the health craze, Pepsi released this clear cola beverage that contained virtually all the same ingredients and taste as regular Pepsi, only clear. However, by this time, the caramel coloring had become so synonymous with cola drinks that people who might have liked it were simply put off.
7) McDonalds Hula Burger
In the 1960s, Ray Kroc expanded McDonalds into a variety of new geographical markets. He discovered flagging sales in areas with heavy catholic populations and deduced that it was because they abstained from meat on Fridays. His good decision to make a new, non-meat burger unfortunately gave birth to the Hula Burger: a cheeseburger with a slice of pineapple instead of meat. It was discontinued before reaching National audiences.
6) New Coke
Coke created the infamous “New Coke” in the 1980s. Despite years of testing with phenomenal results, their introduction of New Coke and discontinuation of Coke classic spurred on vehement revulsion. The sentimental attachment people had to coke was a then unprecedented economic curiosity. Of the incident, Chairman Donald Keough said, “Some critics will say Coca-Cola made a marketing mistake. Some cynics will say we planned the whole thing. The truth is we’re not that dumb, and we’re not that smart.”
5) Colgate Kitchen Entrees
The logic behind the brand extension here was the idea that after a big Colgate meal, you could brush your teeth with minty fresh Colgate toothpaste. Unfortunately, the idea of a well-known toothpaste company cooking up food probably reminded people too much of eating toothpaste for the brand extension to really work. Their later foray into breath mints proved to be a much more successful (and logical) food extension.
4) Cosmopolitan Yogurt
In 1999, Cosmopolitan magazine decided to toss its keys into the UK yogurt bowl with sexy fruit yogurts. This might seem to be an entirely random business decision, however, it was based on the results of a survey indicating that 65% of Britons’ bedroom proclivities included edibles. Since this magazine was most well known for its uncanny ability to innovate new bedroom gymnastics, they decided to foray into sexy food! And what’s sexier than yogurt?
3) Celery Jello
While it might seem ridiculous for savory Jell-o to exist now, from the 1930s to the 1950s, congealed salads (savory gelatin salads) were quite popular. As a result, in the 1960s, Jell-O developed “JELL-O Gelatin for Salads!” that came in flavors such as celery, Italian salad, mixed vegetable, and seasoned tomato. However, their popularity fizzled out before it even really started, and the product was discontinued shortly after.
2) Gerber Singles
Ever been jealous of that delectable baby food that babies so selfishly horde for themselves? Evidently, Gerber thought you were! In 1974, they released “Gerber Singles” which were small servings of food packaged in exactly the same container as their baby food, except larger. It did not take long for Gerber to realize that most people did not want to eat (or be seen eating) straight out of a hugely over-sized jar of baby food with the word “single” written on it in giant letters.
1) Lays WOW Potato Chips
These fat-free, Olestra-laden potato chips were very popular when they were first introduced to markets in 1998, however, when complaints of very distressing side effects such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and most horrifically, anal leakage rolled in, the FDA required that these risks be labeled on the bag. As you can imagine, seeing the warning, “These chips contain olestra, which may cause loose stools” severely inhibited sales. And with that, the WOW! label was thoroughly murdered.
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