10 Biggest Product Flops of All Time

by Angela Nazworth | June 28, 2012 5:24 pm

For better or worse, some products are woven into the fabric of American culture. Whether or not you gulp down a soda made by Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO[1]) or Pepsico (NYSE:PEP[2]), munch on a McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD[3]) burger, or squeeze some Colgate (NYSE:CL[4]) toothpaste on your toothbrush, it’s hard to imagine life without those brands. However, some big brands have introduced products that failed miserably.

DailyFinance[5] looked at the “25 biggest product flops of all time.” Here’s our quick take on ten of those products that gave us the biggest laughs.

  1. New Coke: I vividly — yes, I know I’m dating myself on this one — remember the cries of public outrage assaulted against Coca-Cola when it replaced its eponymous soda with a concoction called New Coke. The imposter beverage debuted in 1985 and quickly shared store shelves with  “Classic” Coke  — the original version, which was brought back to appease the angry masses less than 80 days after New Coke appeared. Some marketers actually argue that New Coke was a success. Not because people liked it, but because they hated it enough to pledge their loyalty to the classic version, which was a diss to Pepsi.
  2. McDonald’s Arch Deluxe: In 1996, McDonald’s decided to class up its menu with a brand of sandwiches called “Arch Deluxe.” Ironically, the sandwiches were bland and failed to connect with McD’s customers who already liked the burgers the fast-food giant was schlepping.
  3. Maxwell House Ready-to-Drink Coffee: Every super-busy coffee lover on the planet knows that reheated coffee doesn’t taste as good as it does fresh from the pot. So even though Kraft Foods‘ (NASDAQ:KFT[6]) Maxwell House ready-to-drink brew seemed like a convenient idea, it never went over well with consumers. Additionally, it wasn’t even that convenient to use since it could not be heated in its package.
  4. Ben-Gay Aspirin: Ben-Gay, which is made by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ[7]), is as well-known for its strong aroma as it for its ability to relieve the pain associated with sore muscles. That smell is probably what consumers thought of first when they saw — and then avoided — packages of Ben-Gay branded aspirin. Of course people wouldn’t be swallowing the ointment in encapsulated form, but the aspirin’s association with the topical cream was too much.
  5. Harley-Davidson Perfume: Motorcycle company Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG[8]) is a brand with a cult-like following[9]. Fans typically love buying items associated with their “hog,” but they were not fond of wearing the company’s signature scent.
  6. Bic Underwear: The name sounds painful, doesn’t it? If not, it’s at least wacky enough to raise an eyebrow or two. Many consumers thought so and avoided the disposable undies made by the company that brings us pens, lighters and razors.
  7. Crystal Pepsi: In light of information regarding health concerns[10] related to dark sodas, PepsiCo’s clear version of Pepsi doesn’t seem like a bad idea. But the soda fell flat with consumers and has been canned.
  8. Colgate Kitchen Entrees: If Colgate ever wants to make a line of food products again, it really should leave its iconic name off the packaging. The company’s Colgate Kitchen Entrees were not a hit among consumers who don’t want their pasta tasting minty fresh.
  9. Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water: Consumers guffawed when Coors (NYSE:TAP[11]) introduced its own brand of water. Fans of the brewing company like their favorite Rocky Mountain spring water with alcohol.
  10. Cocaine Energy Drink: This high-octane energy drink from Redux Beverages is wrong for so many obvious reasons. It was pulled from U.S.  shelves in 2007 after the FDA said the drink was being presented as an alternative to street drugs.

You can look at photos of the products highlighted here and check out 15 more of the Top 25 Biggest Product Flops of All Time[12].

  1. KO: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=KO
  2. PEP: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=PEP
  3. MCD: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=MCD
  4. CL: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=CL
  5. DailyFinance: http://www.dailyfinance.com/photos/top-25-biggest-product-flops-of-all-time/#photo-23
  6. KFT: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=KFT
  7. JNJ: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=JNJ
  8. HOG: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=HOG
  9. cult-like following: https://investorplace.com/2012/06/10-cult-brands-of-2012/
  10. health concerns: https://investorplace.com/2012/06/coke-sold-overseas-still-contains-cancer-linked-chemicals/
  11. TAP: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=TAP
  12. Top 25 Biggest Product Flops of All Time: http://www.dailyfinance.com/photos/top-25-biggest-product-flops-of-all-time/#photo-1

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