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Products That Have Failed

failed products Products That Have Failed

Since Phillips & Company let you know about the very loud biodegradable Sun Chips bag, they wanted to also give you some other products that didn’t do so well.

Products That Have Failed

1) New Coke

Probably the most famous of failed products.  I think Bill Cosby even helped promote New Coke.  How could it have gone so horribly wrong??  Not that hard, really.  Why make a new Coke when the old Coke was pretty darn good to begin with?  If it isn’t broken, chances are it doesn’t need to be fixed.

2) Crystal Pepsi

Crystal Pepsi actually was going strong, and, for a little while, it looked like it had some staying power.  But in the end, the problem here was the same problem with New Coke.  If regular Pepsi was doing just fine, why create a similar-tasting, caffeine-free, clear Pepsi??  There was no market need for it.

Apparently, the thinking was to target those Pepsi drinkers who were concerned about drinking (a) a dark-colored soda that (b) had loads of caffeine in it.  The flaw in this thinking, however, was that Pepsi drinkers didn’t really care about that kind of stuff.

3) McDonald’s Arch Deluxe Burger

I barely remember this one.  From what I learned, McDonald’s was trying to target adults with this . . . ahem . . . “fine cuisine.”  So they offered a burger that was a little better than their regular rat meat burgers and charged significantly more for it.  Presto!  You have a failed product.

The lesson for Micky D’s here is that, if you offer cheap grub food at dirt cheap prices and make millions of dollars doing it, why change?  Let the “adults” go somewhere else for fine cuisine.  You have your market.  Don’t mess with a good thing.

4) Polaroid Instant Film

I don’t know about you, but I hated taking a Polaroid picture and then standing around shaking the picture waiting to see how it came out.  That was just plain annoying.

So, with that image in my head, it’s no surprise that the “instant film” product didn’t pan out.  It doesn’t sound like a fair association.  But it wasn’t just a result of that.  The failure of Polaroid Instant Film was also due to the emergence of digital photography.

5) Levi’s Type 1 Jeans

This was quite the marketing blunder.  A commercial for these jeans aired a few years ago during the Super Bowl, and it sort of missed the mark.  Look at the picture (from the commercial) on the right.  Does the image of a guy covered in dirt and riding an out-of-control car rodeo style make you want to buy a pair of jeans?

I couldn’t think of a more classic example of why you should let the market determine what kind of product you put out.

6) Ford Edsel

My parents were just children when the 1958 Edsel hit the market.  I’ve read about a variety of reasons why this car tanked.  Supposedly, the front of the vehicle was just plain ugly.

The name itself (”Edsel”) didn’t catch on.  There was also something about a weird pricing strategy.

7) IBM PCjr

The IBM PCjr was IBM’s first attempt at entering the market for inexpensive home-use personal computers.  The problem?  At $699, it was twice as expensive as the Atari 8-bit family computer and Commodore 64 computer.

Its keyboard was also a sore point.  IBM used an infrared wireless chiclet keyboard, which was similar to that of a pocket calculator.  It had wide spaces between keys to leave room for instructional overlays bundled with software packages.  Consumers thought it felt cheap and made it difficult to type on.  It only had 62 keys, and it lacked the numeric keypad and separate function keys of the original IBM PC.  IBM eventually replaced it for free with a different wireless keyboard with more conventional keys.

8) Sony Betamax

My father-in-law has a whole collection of beta tapes.  In 1975, this product was a breakthrough.  But it just didn’t catch on.  Betamax was the big fish in the small pool at first, but VHS eventually won the war with humility and smart engineering and pricing.

This fierce format war pitted Sony and its attempt to dictate an industry standard against JVC and its gutsy decision to develop its own technology.  The result was the emergence of VHS and control of 70% of the North American market.  By 1984, over 40 companies decided to use a VCR-compatible format.  In addition, VHS camcorders were more affordable.  Betamax was long gone by 1988.

9) Apple Lisa

The Lisa was an amazing computer.  It was the first one to use a GUI and a mouse.  But $10,000 was too much of a price tag.  If you make a phenomenal product, but price consumers out of it, it’s still a failure.

10) Apple Pippin

Unfortunately, Apple is rounding out this list.  (Two more Apple products after this one.)  The Pippin was voted one of the 25 worst tech products of all time.  To this day, we don’t know what the Pippin really was.  Was it a computer . . . or a gaming console?  It was oddly shaped, and it wasn’t all that great at being a computer . . . or a gaming console.

Moreover, giving this identity confusion, at $599, it was affordable as a computer, but it was way too expensive as a gaming console.  And, unfortunately, most people thought it was a gaming console.  Look at it.  It’s a gaming console, right??

You can probably guess that the Pippin lost big to the likes of Nintendo, Sony, and Sega.

11) Macintosh Portable

Lesson #1 in product creation: If you’re going to give a product a certain label, make sure the label FITS the product.

If you’re going to call something “portable,” make sure the freakin’ thing is portable!!

Does that clunkfest on the left look portable to you?  Heck no.  This computer lasted two years.

12) Macintosh TV

Computer/TV integration.  Great idea, right?  It certainly was.  The problem was, I think, that technology wasn’t quite ready to produce something like this in 1993.  People didn’t watch TV on 14-inch screens then; instead, they were buying 40- and 50-inch TVs.  So why buy one of these when you already had a television set

that was bigger and looked better.

Moreover, it just doesn’t look any different than a regular PC.

Only now is the market finally inching closer and closer to computer/TV integration.  (flimjo.com)


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