World Famous Innovation Failures

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World Famous Innovation Failures

Producing failures is an essential part of innovation. It is the way we learn. Here are ten world famous innovation failures meant to inspire you.

1. Ford Edsel (1957)

The Edsel was cursed by a number of factors. The Edsel, also known as the ‘Titanic of Automobiles, had a name that just didn’t resonate with the general public, a bizarre pricing strategy, and was launched during a national recession. Only 64,000 models were sold in the U.S.A in the first year.

2. Sony Betamax (1979)

The 1979 Betamax was a real breakthrough for its time and for the video recording business. Despite having higher quality (and a cooler name), Betamax was defeated by VHS when over forty companies decided to use the VCR-compatible format instead.

3. Colgate Kitchen Entrees (1982).

Colgate (yes, the toothpaste brand) thought it wise to launch a line of frozen dinners. Consumers could eat a Colgate meal and then brush their teeth with Colgate toothpaste. The product was a complete bust, and pulled from the shelves shortly after.

4. New Coke (1985)

New Coke was the reformulation of Coca-Cola. There was nothing wrong with old Coke. The public’s reaction to the change was negative. The subsequent reintroduction of Coke’s original formula, re-branded as “Coca-Cola Classic”, was a great success.

5. Premier Smokeless Cigarettes (1988)

By 1988, second-hand smoke was recognized as a serious health risk by a majority of the public. RJ Reynolds, the producer of Camel cigarettes, introduced Premier, a smokeless cigarette. Users complained that smoking a Premier cigarette produced an awful taste and smell.

6. The Newton of Apple (1993)

Apple released a handheld device they hoped would change personal computing. It was officially called MessagePad. It was overpriced ($700-1000) and clunky.

7. Harley Davidson Perfume (1994)

Harley Davidson has strong brand values like being “masculine, macho and a rebel”. In the eyes of a lot of fans they overstretched the brand with aftershave and perfumes.

8. BIC Women’s Underwear (1998).

Disposability is the core of the BIC brand. BIC also applied this core concept to women’s underwear, introducing a line of ‘disposable pantyhose’. After failing to attract customers, the line itself was disposed.

9. The Zune of Microsoft (2006)

The Zune was Microsoft’s “me too” answer to the iPod. While it had some nifty product features that the iPod lacked (like sharing music from player to player), the Zune, despite an expensive marketing effort by Microsoft, never really caught on.

10. Cocaine®Energy Drinks (2006).

A Las Vegas company launched an energy drink called Cocaine. It contained three times the caffeine of Red Bull and it made no apologies for its shameless brand strategy. Its marketing language was rife with drug references. Not long after its launch, the FDA pulled the drink from store shelves.

What are your ‘favorite’ innovation failures? Please add them as a comment.

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