Top Five Biggest Brand Fails

One trend that is becoming all too popular in this modern age is the failure of brands. Early April, Payless Shoes Source closed 400 stores after filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As CNBC points out, there is a huge increase in companies filing for Chapter 11. To give you a scope, nine retailers alone filed in the first three months of 2017. A terrifying record.

Why is this happening? The answer is staring right back at you. The internet. Stores that rely on customers visiting and browings are losing to the convenience of online purchasing.
This struggle to remain relevant is part of progress and has left some scars on historic brands. In memory of the greatest, we compiled top five biggest brand failures that remind us of the ever-advancing industry.


5. MySpace

You might remember this as the social media website in the mid-2000s. It even surpassed Google as the most viewed website in the U.S. in June 2006. Of course, we all know that Facebook took the crown in 2008 and has no intention of giving it away. Before MySpace’s decline, Vanity Fair predicted accurately that success may become their undoing.

While MySpace is still around, it is mostly popular in music and pop culture circles. How did Facebook get the jump on them with MySpace’s head start? Forbes explains that MySpace did not spring immediately to action when Facebook emerged. As Facebook poached more users due to a bigger variety of networks and usages, MySpace's planning was too late. The easy-to-use user interface won over MySpace and games like FarmVille kept members hooked. MySpace soon shrank into the “social entertainment destination” that it is today.


4. BlackBerry Phone

The Canadian company, BlackBerry Limited, was once considered the most prominent smartphone vendor in the world. It peaked in September 2013 but could not regain footing against the successful Android and iOS platforms. After struggling against touch screens with their classic keyboard look, Blackberry finally caved. They started producing their own touch screen in 2008 to return to their old glory. However, it was acclaimed “the single biggest disaster in smartphone history” by McNish and Silcoff in their book, Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry.

The Verge claims that even with BlackBerry’s new KeyOne, its still not making the cut in competition with the more popular devices. Refusing to be erased from the marketplace, BlackBerry is using its reputation to rise as an enterprise software provider. BlackBerry phones will always be fondly remembered in workaholic businessman stereotypes.


3. Blockbuster LLC

Most have cherished memories of Blockbusters being the go-to for movie rentals since the 80s. Despite the competition from RedBox in 2002, the biggest blow to Blockbusters was turning down a partnership with Netflix. The “no late fee” policy was appealing to Blockbuster users who turned to Netflix for the freedom to take their timeBlockbuster’s profits were tethered to the fees and soon crumbled into bankruptcy in 2010 - the same year Netflix began streaming online to viewers all over the U.S.


2. Circuit City Stores Inc

This American consumer electronics company began seeing prices drop in 2000 due to poor store locations and an out-of-date website. As they scrambled to fix these fumbles, Best Buy began welcoming in their customers. After a few bad moves like dropping appliances before the housing boom and their CFO leaving in 2007, Circuit City started to spiral . Even Blockbuster tried to buy them out in 2008, but pulled out due to their own financial issues. Their permanent closure was announced in January of 2009. In a recent article by Forbes, Circuit City is crawling out of its grave to return like an ABC show cancelled too early. They claimed to rise in 2016 but as we can see these promises still fall flat. Are they waiting to make sure their first step is one on solid ground? Perhaps with the loss of an old competitor, RadioShack, they will have a fighting chance. Or perhaps it is a sign that Best Buy is a difficult rival to face.


1. Borders Group, Inc.

Founded in 1971, Borders grew until its peak in the mid-90s following popularity in the US and UK. They even had stores in Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia. By the end of 2010, the company vanished. TIME lists a few stepping stones to their failure but the truth of Borders' collapse is that it was late to adjust. Instead of their own online purchasing, they lost customers to Amazon's convenience. Borders barely caught up to Barnes & Noble (Nook) and Amazon (Kindle) with their own e-reader, Kobo. By then, their competitors had more content for customers and more updated services. Borders stretched themselves too much and could not compete with the advancing age of online shopping and electronic resources.