13+ Flopped Products that Companies Regret Creating
Although it might not seem like it, even famous brands have a hard time when it comes to introducing new products to the market. No matter how enormous a company’s marketing budget is, sometimes consumers just won’t find the new products useful or appealing. From Colgate frozen dinners to Harley Davidson cologne, below we share with you some of the most bizarre products that have been released to the market over the last few decades. Enjoy!
Colgate Frozen meals line
As part of their brand extension efforts in 1982, Colgate came up with the most bizarre idea ever: frozen dinners. In the end, the plan backfired, probably because most consumers couldn’t help but think that Colgate’s meals would taste just like their toothpaste. Not only did the frozen meals fail miserably, but Colgate’s toothpaste sales also plummeted after the food line was released.
Gerber’s baby food for adults
In 1974, Gerber, a maker of baby food, released “Gerber Singles”, a ready-made baby food line that targeted college students and adults living on their own for the first time. The line included sophisticated flavors such as “creamed beef” and “Mediterranean vegetables”. However, the product wasn’t appealing to young singles and it was discontinued soon after.
Atari produced 4 million cartridges of the E.T videogame, 2.5 were left unsold and the company ended up dumping them in a landfill
In 1982, 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 copies of the game, however, only 1.5 million copies were sold. The unsold 2.5 million copies were dumped in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and later found by archeologists in 2014.
Pepsi released “Pepsi A.M.”, a new formula that contained extra caffeine marketed as a morning drink
“Pepsi A.M” was introduced by Pepsi in 1989. The new formula, marketed as a morning drink, contained more caffeine than a regular Pepsi. However, most people weren’t fond of the idea of drinking Pepsi for breakfast. In the end, Pepsi A.M. was discontinued just a year later.
Cheetos Lip Balm
For some strange reason, in 2005 Frito-Lay thought it would be a good idea to release a Cheetos-flavored lip balm. However, not even the most hard-core Cheetos fans were on board with this idea. The lip balm ended up being discontinued soon after its release.
Twitter Peek, a Twitter-only mobile device
Twitter Peek was a Twitter-only mobile device released in 2009. It was created with the only goal of sending and receiving tweets. However, the device only gave a 20-character preview of the tweets, so it was a hard pass for most consumers.
Thirsty Cat! and Thirsty Dog!, a carbonated bottled soda for pets
The Thirsty Cat! and Thirsty Dog! bottled water for pets line was released in 1994. The bottles contained spring water fortified with minerals and vitamins. The water was available in two flavors: Tangy Fish flavor for cats and Crispy Beef flavor for dogs. The product flopped because most consumers thought it was completely unnecessary to give their pets what was essentially soda.
EZ Squirt, Heinz purple ketchup
In the early 2000s, Heinz thought it would be a good idea to add a new twist to their ketchup to catch children’s attention. That’s how Ez Squirt was born: a new line of ketchup that came in three main colors: purple, green, and orange. However, far from being a big hit, most people found the new colors quite weird and opted for the traditional red ketchup instead. Just a few years later Ez Squirt was discontinued.
Microsoft Zune wasn’t able to compete with the iPod
In 2006 Microsoft released the Zune, a device that was supposed to rival the iPod. However, most consumers thought that the Zune wasn’t a match for the iPod and the product was discontinued in 2011, just a few years after its official release.
Harley Davidson Cologne
In an effort to diversify, Harley Davidson released many strange products during the 1990s, including its own brand of cologne. That was the last straw for many bikers who were not happy about the new product developments. Harley Davidson was then forced to backtrack and stop stretching the brand into other product categories.
In 1999 Cosmopolitan magazine tried to get into the food game by releasing Cosmopolitan Yogurt. Although the yogurt itself seemed to appeal to their target demographic, the yogurt was a complete failure and was discontinued just 18 months after being released.
Jimmy Dean’s Chocolate chip Pancake-Wrapped Sausage
In 2016 Jimmy Dean introduced sausage links wrapped in chocolate chip pancakes, a weird combination to say the least. Unfortunately, most consumers thought that mixing sausage with pancakes was a bit too much and the product was soon discontinued.
Mc Donald’s onion nuggets
Before ever selling the famous chicken nuggets, in 1975 McDonald’s attempted to sell onion nuggets to target the then-growing vegetarian audience. However, the onion nuggets were nothing but deep-fried chunks of chopped onions and weren’t very appealing to most customers. They were fully discontinued in 1985.
Famously known for manufacturing pens, disposable lighters and razors, BIc decided to launch a completely unrelated product in 1989: French Perfume. “Parfum Bic” was sold in little portable spritzers that was shaped almost like a Bic lighter. People were not impressed and the fragrance was discontinued just a year later.
Burger King’s “Satisfries”
In an effort to offer a healthier, low-calorie alternative to traditional fries, in 2013. Burger King launched “satisfries”. However, the company failed to clearly state the health benefits of the new product and most customers kept opting for the restaurant’s regular fries. Satisfries or the “saddest fries” as some customers chose to put it were discontinued less than a year after their launching.
Kellogg’s Breakfast Mates
Released in 1998, Kellogg’s breakfast mates were boxed combinations of cereal, milk, and a spoon. At the time, it felt like a good idea, to combine milk and cereal, what could go wrong, right? However, most customers actually found the combination inconvenient and messy, it wasn’t very tasty either. Breakfast mates were discontinued soon after.
The Rejuvenique Facial Toning Mask
Launched in 1999, the Rejuvenique face mask was supposed to tone people’s facial muscles with… shock therapy. And despite endorsers assuring that the process what completely painless, users claimed that this creepy mask was actually pretty painful, with one user saying that the mask actually “feels like a thousand ants are biting my face”. People also complained of pain and red marks on their faces.
Apple’s Newton Message pad
Apple released its first tablet product in 1993, the “Newton”. People could take notes and faxes on the MessagePad, which at the time was groundbreaking. However, the “Newton” struggled to compete with its rival at the time, the Palm Pilot, which was also cheaper. On top of that, its handwriting capabilities were poor, so the product ended up being discontinued.
In the nineties, Pepsi released a brand new version of its original formula, Pepsi Crystal. The new formula was caffeine-free, but most importantly it was completely clear. Unfortunately, people found the colorless drink quite weird, and too removed from the product people already knew. Production was halted soon after release.
In 2009 asked customers to name their new cheese-based spread. The company received 48,000 suggestions and they decided to go with a very… special one, “iSnack 2.0”. The name was protested and ridiculed constantly until the company decided to rename the product.
Hannah Montana Cherries
During the early 2010s Disney’s Hannah, Montana was a commercial success and the company decided to merchandise all sorts of products. Some were appropriate but some were just plainly bizarre, like these cherries, for example.
Premiere Smokeless Cigarettes
RJ Reynolds Tobacco decided to develop a smokeless cigarette in 1988. Despite the company’s huge investment to develop the product, the new cigarettes ended up having an awful taste and were a total flop among smokers.
Bic’s “For her”
In 2012 Bic released pens that specifically targeted female audiences. What was so groundbreaking about these pens, you may ask? Well, other than being pink, it was just a regular pen. Consumers mocked the brand endlessly and even famous tv host Ellen Degeneres joked about it on her show at the time.
Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino
Starbucks released its colorful unicorn frappuccino in 2017 and at first, people were very attracted to it, especially since it looked really good on social media. However, the taste didn’t live up to the expectations and people lost interest soon after the product was launched.
Samsung Galaxy Note
In 2017 Samsung had to recall more than 2.5 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones after many customers complained about overheating and exploding batteries. The phones soon started to be perceived by customers as a safety hazard and sales tanked harder.
Sony released its Betamax video player in 1975, hoping it would be a great success. However, the Betamax format was crashed by the way more popular format VHS. People liked VHS better because it provided a recording time of 2 hours, allowing most feature films to be recorded entirely without the need for a tape change.
In the 1970s McDonald’s introduced the McSpaghetti. The product wasn’t a big hit amongst most Americans who still opted for the traditional burger and fries convo. However, surprisingly, it was a big success in the Phillippines and it is sold there up to this day.
Although it might seem hard to believe, giant Google has seen many failures throughout history, and Google Lively is proof of that. Back in 2008, when the virtual world “Second Life” was thriving, Google decided to create its own version of the game, “Google Lively”. However, the product couldn’t compete with its popular rival and was closed less than a year after its release.
Frito-Lay Wow! Chips
Introduced in 1998, Frito-Lay’s Wow! fat-free chips were initially a bit hit. Consumers were thrilled about the idea of eating as many fries as they wanted supposedly without gaining any weight. However. sales soon plummeted after it was revealed that the chips contained Olestra, a fat substitute that can cause severe abdominal pain.
McDonald’s Hula Burger
Introduced in 1963, the Hula Burger was McDonald’s first meatless sandwich. It was supposed to be a substitute for American Catholics that would not eat meat on Fridays. The burger was a slice of grilled pineapple with a cheese bun. Production of the Hula Burger was ended only months after its launch when it quickly became evident that another meatless alternative, the filet-o-fish, was getting a way better reaction.
In 2017, an American juicer startup, Juicero, launched the Juicero Press. The device was wold with packets of pre-juiced fruits and vegetables sold exclusively by the company. However, soon after consumers noticed that the packets could be squeezed by hand without the need of using the juicer. The company was widely mocked and forced to repurchase the devices from clients.
Celery flavored Jell-O
In the 1960s, Jello-O decided to expand its flavor portfolio by introducing four salty flavors: Celery, Italian, Mixed Vegetable, and Seasoned Tomato. However, customers didn’t find the new flavors appealing and decided to stick to the most traditional ones.
Cuecat Barcode Scanner
In the 2000s, Digital Convergence Corporation came up with the idea of the Cuecat, a cat-shaped barcode reader that was supposed to link printed media with the internet. After plugging the device into a PC, consumers could scan barcodes on printed media, and then the browser would open the website associated with the barcode. However, most customers didn’t get the point of the product and most of the time it was just discarded.
Maxwell House’s Pre-Brewed Coffee
In 1990, General Foods launched Maxwell House’s Ready-to-Drink brewed coffee. Nowadays it might sound good, many people love chilled coffee, right? However, this coffee was not meant to be chilled, most people were actually reheating cold coffee which wasn’t appealing at all.
Released in 1995, Apple’s Pippin was a multi-purpose console that was supposed to be a gaming, web browsing, and educational device, all in one. Most customers were thrown off and confused by the concept and only 42,000 out of 100,000 units were sold.
In 2002, McDonald’s was involved in one of its worst PR crises to date, the reason behind it? The McAfrika. Made with beef, cheese, and vegetables on pita bread, the McAfrika was first launched in Norway, one of the world’s wealthiest countries, while at the time 12 million people were facing starvation in southern Africa. The brand was accused of extreme insensitivity and the product was discontinued soon after.
In 1985, Coca-Cola was being overshadowed by Pepsi, so the company made the wild decision of reformulating its original formula. The company invested $4 million into a nationwide taste test. Despite the New Coke doing well during the tests, people’s reactions were extremely negative after the launch and within 3 months the brand decided to reintroduce the original formula, rebranded as Coca-Cola classic.
Released in the 1970s, the Ford Pinto was so controversial that some people called it a “death trap”. The model brought a huge financial loss to the company and damaged its reputation after it was known that if the car was rammed from its rear, the gas tank would rupture and completely burst into flames. The accidents resulted in around 117 lawsuits against the company.
Launched in 2013, Google Glass was the company’s first attempt to create smart glasses. However, the device was deeply flawed and retailed for a very high price, around $1,500. The glasses failed to carry out any of their intended functions well and several safety and privacy concerns were also raised at the time. The high-tech glasses ended up being discontinued in 2014.
Taco Bell’s Waffle Tacos
In 2013 Taco Bell released Waffle Tacos, scrambled eggs, and sausage inside of a folded waffle, which received a lot of attention. However, the hype died down quite quickly and Taco Bell ended up changing the recipe and replacing the waffles with similarly constructed biscuit tacos.
In 1995 Microsoft introduced a software called “Bob”. Showcasing a friendly yellow dog, Bob was supposed to make Windows user-friendly by transforming the desktop screen into an image of a room to help users understand programs better. However, it was discontinued a year later when most people find it to be more confusing than helpful.
Mc Donald’s McLean Deluxe
In 1991 McDonald’s launched the Deluxe line, a line of “healthy” products which began with the Mc Lean Deluxe sandwich. The burger consisted of ketchup, mustard, lettuce, sliced tomato, and a reduced fat patty that had less fat due to the patty being only 90% meat. The entire Deluxe line was a marketing failure and all the products were discontinued a few years later.
President’s Choice Chocolate Chip Soda
Canadian company President’s Choice, came up with an assortment of items such as pancake mix and cake mix to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Decadent Chocolate Brand. For some weird reason, they also decided to release a chocolate-flavored soda which… just didn’t work. Customers weren’t digging the flavor at all and production was halted soon after.
Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water
Released in 1991, Coors Rocky Mountain Sparkling Water, was Coors Brewing Company’s first nonalcoholic beverage launched since prohibition. However, most customers find the product confusing, especially since it had a similar name and label to that of Coors beer. The product was discontinued in 1997 due to low sales.
Domino’s Oreo Dessert Pizza
Released in 2007, Domino’s Oreo Dessert Pizza proves that there really is such a thing as too much of a good meal. Although it might sound tempting for some, most people found the dessert too sweet for their liking and it was discontinued a year after.
McDonald’s burritos and fajitas
For a brief period in the 1990s, McDonald’s tried selling Mexican food. However, their burritos and fajitas couldn’t compete with Taco Bell’s which were way more popular. Both items were taken out of the menu soon after they were released.
The DeLorean DMC-12
Although the DeLorean DMC-12 became famous worldwide due to its appearance in the 1980s blockbuster “Back to the Future” the Delorean DMC-12 model was far from a commercial success. The car was plagued by performance and safety issues, in part due to its notable gull-wing doors, and it was on the market for only three years before production was halted.
Hot Wheels computer
In 1999 Mattel decided to launch Hot Wheels and Barbie computers for both boys and girls. However, the new PCs weren’t very appealing to the young audience. On top of that, the computers came with many manufacturing issues and production was halted soon after.
Pepsi launched the Pepsi Blue formula in 2002 to compete with Vanilla Coke. The new product was heavily promoted but in the end, it flopped. It was supposed to taste like berries, however, most consumers found that it tasted like cotton candy instead.
In 2003 Nokia decided to combine gaming and phones. They released the Nokia N-gage, also known as the “taco phone”, which the company expected to be a big break, but ended up being a total fail. Due mostly to poor and confusing advertising, the model only managed to reach one-third of its 6 million units in sales.
Mc Salad Shakers
Released in 2000, McSalad Shakers came in three meal choices, including Chef, Grilled Chicken Caesar, and Garden. However, it seems that not many people were super into shacking salads as a concept and the entire line was discontinued soon after.
Released in 1978, the Laserdisc was able to offer higher-quality video and audio than its rivals, Betamax videotape, and VHS. However, it never managed to gain widespread use in the US, mostly due to the high cost for the players and the inability to record tv shows.
Burger King’s Black Burger
Released as a limited Halloween edition burger in 2014, Burger King thought that their black burger would be an immediate hit, just like in Japan. The company used charcoal to make the buns look black instead of their usual color. However, most people just found the burger quite weird and the sales weren’t up to initial expectations.
Trying to take advantage of the social media hype. in 2011 Google launched its new social network, Google+. However, the new platform was never able to live up to the expectations of becoming a Facebook competitor and ended up being a huge disappointment.
Coca Cola Blak
In 2006 Coca-Cola released Coca-Cola Blak, first in France and in the US soon after. The drink, which combined Coca-Cola with coffee was supposed to work sort of as an energy drink for young people in their twenties and thirties. However, the product was discontinued only 16 months after its release. The reason? Most people just didn’t like the flavor and found the caffeine excessive.
Hoverboards were an instant hit when they were released to the market in 2015. Approximately 400,000 hoverboards were shipped out of China to satisfy a growing legion of fans around the world. However, soon after the release, thousands of hoverboard-related fires were reported, and not even a year after the US government declared that the product did not meet safety standards halting sales in retail giants like amazon or Toys R’ US.
McDonald’s Mighty Wings
McDonald’s Mighty Wings were first released in 1990 and discontinued in 2003 after most customers found them too expensive and spicy. McDonald’s tried to bring them back in 2013, but they were discontinued again soon after, in early 2014, due to sluggish sales.
De Havilland Comet
In the late 1940s, De Havilland created the first commercial jetliner, the De Haviland 106 Comet. Unfortunately, the plane was plagued with problems, and the planes were involved in a total of 13 fatal crashes, taking 426 lives. As a result, the company’s reputation took a big hit and it soon lost the lead in the industry.
Windows, Operating system Windows Vista was released in 2007 and it turned out to be a huge failure. The system failed mostly due to issues with its new security features, performance failures, and driver support and product activation issues.
General Motors EV1
General Motors introduced its first mass-produced electric car, the EV1, in 1996. The model was a big hit with consumers and environmentalists. However, six years after its release, the company had to recall the model claiming liability and spare parts problems, making many people very angry.