We have all had our fair share of embarrassing moments, but most were not as public and memorable as some of these companies. It seems their ambition and desire to start trends went a little too far in some of these projects that tanked only after their infamy became legend.
We have taken our top five favorites and looked into what we can learn from their mistake.
Everyone knows Cosmopolitan as the magazine they try not to show interest in while waiting in line at the grocery store. It’s bold proclamations of a long list of sex tips, celebrity gossip, and images of skin-bearing fashion on the cover become expected. But what wasn’t was their announcement in 1999 of pricey yogurt. Sex sells magazines, but it seems to make people avoid dairy product. It was discontinued after 18 months.
They’re not the only ones to make these seemingly crazy brand expansions, in 1982 Colgate tried to launch their own kitchen entrees, reminisces The Telegraph. It seemed no one craved food associated with toothpaste. Coors tried to jump on the bottled water craze in 1873 with Rocky Mountain Sparkling Water, but people were not fond of drinking water when thinking about beer. More recently, business man and current President Donald Trump teamed up with Sharper Image in 2007 with his ‘World’s Greatest Steaks’. Sharper Image, a company focused on electronics, failed to profit from steaks as customers would not looking to purchase food when shopping.
With the social media site skyrocketing in amount of users and advertising as well as popularity, they ambitiously tried to conquer another industry: smartphones. Partnering up with HTC and AT&T in 2013, the HTC First was advertised by Facebook and, with the affordable price of $99, where could they have gone wrong?
Business Insider mentions the hardware was unremarkable and could not keep up with the competition around it. Not to mention, everyone who already has a phone would not want something that mainly does what their phones can already do. They dropped pretty soon from $99 to 99 cents which created a desperation that showed the public just how undesirable it was, giving Facebook a blemish on its increasing popularity.
Even though most of the population use their smartphones for music, everyone knows what an iPod and even Walkmans, but who remembers the Zune? Released in 2006, Microsoft tried to join into the portable music industry five years after Apple. While also being available for Windows PCs and as a music subscription service, Microsoft could not compete even after a 2010 partnership with United Airlines.
In October 2011, Zune players were discontinued and the software and sharing survived only one year later. Microsoft decided to discontinue Zune all together and in 2015 became Groove Music. Like the Border’s Kobo against the Kindle, the Zune was just too late and not as popular as the other competing products. Sadly for the loyal few who still have them, it is difficult to anything compatible.
Labelled #1 in TIME’s Top Ten Bad Beverage Ideas, New! Coke clearly was a world-wide catastrophe for all Coca-Cola consumers. Even though it was introduced in 1985, the scars from a beloved American brand’s attempt at improving its flavor are still felt today. They adjusted their formula to stay on top of the diet soft drink popularity but were not expecting the massive backlash that ensued. Under a year they labelled New! Coke as a hazard to their profits, and reassured the public that they would bring back the “Coca-Cola Classic”. It was such important news that ABC anchor Peter Jennings interrupted “General Hospital” to break the story as reported by Business Insider. Coca-Cola kept New! Cola rebranded as Coke II, but it was clear by then that the general population was loyal to the original taste.
A fond childhood memory of most children from 2000-2006 is blob of purple ketchup on fries or a green ketchup bottle with its contents the same color as the skin of Shrek. It was first popular with its tie to Shrek while kids and moms alike enjoyed the novelty of it. However, kids are easily distracted or get bored until a new novelty comes along and article says from Fast Company. Not to mention, as the popularity soared, the brains behind the Heinz crayon box got a little out-of-hand with orange, teal, and ‘Mystery Color’. Non-parents prefer the normalcy of red ketchup. Even parents grew weary of ketchup that did not look right. It was fun for a while, but in five years the ketchup became a waste of shelf space more than a must-have for children lunches.