In this article we will take a look at the 15 biggest product Flops in History. You can skip our detailed analysis of these products and go directly to the 5 Biggest Product Flops in History.
Since stepping into the consumerism era, the brands make windfall and turn rags to riches in one fell swoop. Judging consumer psyche is indeed an uphill task, and the business pundits are in constant search of digging what lies deep inside a satisfied customer’s heart. Nonetheless, not every time the things emerge out perfectly. The flops render irreparable loss of credibility and money to the daring entrepreneur. PepsiCo,
Here, we would tell you about the 15 biggest product flops in history. But before, let’s have a look at our ranking criteria.
As business loss is purely a sensitive matter and the companies often restrict the loss of secrets. Hence, judging the actual loss of each mega flop would be a wild guess at best. Instead, the flop’s magnitude could be best ascertained by the company’s revenue size: the bigger the company, the higher the risk to credibility. You will notice a lot of major companies in this list, including HP Inc (NYSE: HPQ), Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR), Coors (now part of Molson Coors Beverage Co Class B (NYSE: TAP)), Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX), Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc (NASDAQ: COKE) and PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP).
Let’s start our list of 15 biggest product flops in history.
Biggest Product Flops in History
15. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Game (Annual Revenue: 80.1 million USD)
Remembered as the worst video game in history, the Extra-Terrestrial for 2600 Atari is at number 15 in our biggest 15 product flops. Atari was the biggest gaming flop and commercial disaster in 1982. The game, at best, was a mess, leaving players disoriented and distressed. Thousands of copies went unsold, compelling Atari to bury them up in landfills. Furthermore, the game designer Warshaw had to give up the career for a lifetime.
14. Twitter Peek (Annual Revenue: 3.7 billion USD)
Next on the list of the 15 biggest product flops in history is Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) Peek. The Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR)-only device in the era of smartphones was a harebrained idea at best. Who would bother to carry two gadgets while the tweets could be executed by the same cell phone? The device was also not sophisticatedly built, and it added up the problems rather than solving this.
The $99 tweeting device with a $200 subscription plan proved a mega flop undermining the credibility of Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR).
13. LG 3D TV (Annual Revenue: 4.6 billion USD)
Almost all manufacturers besides Samsung have stopped building 3D TVs by 2016. The idea was hastily adopted after the enormous success of Avatar. That was a fertile ground to push the 3D phenomena from cinema to home screens, but reality emerged otherwise.
The restriction of wearing special glasses, active shuttering, different glasses for different brands, high cost, compatible paraphernalia such as 3D Blu-ray Disc player and satellite box, dim display wreaked the collective havoc of LG 3D TV sets. Not every household likes 3D moderation. Soon after the LG 3D TV flop, competitors Samsung and Panasonic also quickly took back their respective market shares, assuming no potential in this genre. The mega failure proved that man likes liberty first and foremost. Also, this was termed a significant product flop in history.
12. RJ Reynolds Smokeless Cigarette (Annual Revenue: 8.2 billion USD)
In 1988, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company rolled out the out-of-box idea of smokeless cigarettes. The exact opposite to the anticipation, the launch proved a mega failure. “It tastes like burning charcoal,” New York Times 1988 edition reported. The smokers bemoaned disgusting smell, bland flavor, and too hot to hold traits. The design was also a bit too complicated for laypeople.
11. Coors Rocky Mountain Sparkling Water (Annual Revenue: 9 billion USD)
Tap water was a typical villain in the late 1980s owing to the unclean tag. Coors assumed an opportune time to milk hefty fortunes by rolling out Rocking Mountain Sparkling Water in Original, Cherry, and Lemon-Lime flavors. Coors is now part of Molson Coors Beverage Co Class B (NYSE: TAP) after the 2005 merger between Molson and Coors.
Setting apart a clear win, the company could not even garnish an iota of sales success like other clean water suppliers such as Nestle, Arrowhead, and Canadian. Consequently, Molson Coors Beverage Co Class B (NYSE: TAP)’s Coors had to revert to its original beer-selling business quickly. The waters were high for Coors then. Consequently, Coors Rocky became the participant in the 15 biggest product flops in history.
10.WOW Chips (Annual Revenue: 15.7 billion USD)
Frito-Lay introduced the fat-free olestra-cooked WOW chips back in 1998. Olestra was believed to be a dream diet at face value, but the result came out as stomach cramps leading to diarrhea. Initially, the product was branded as the best seller raking in the whopping sum of $347 million before totally wiping out by 2004.
The reasons for this rags to riches saga were mistaken dietary evaluation, stale taste, and FDA incursions. Had Frito-Lay read out the FDA guidelines before the inception of WOW chips, the situation would not have been so embarrassing.
9. Qwikster (Annual Revenue: 25 billion USD)
Qwikster was a subsidiary of streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) that stumbled headlong right after inception. Hence, Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) had to take back the initiative. The primary purpose of Qwikster was to provide rental DVD services. The flurry of customer complaints quickly accompanied the service, and Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) denotified the idea of separate business entities for live streaming and DVD websites.
The flop of Qwikster had had the potential of gobbling up the parent company that fortunately did not happen. Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) still remembers the scars.
8. New Coke (Annual Revenue: 37.2 billion USD)
On a fantastic evening in April 1985, Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc (NASDAQ: COKE) called the world press to huddle at Lincoln Center, New York. Then CEO Roberto Goizueta announced New Coke’s launch as, “The best has been made better”. Consumers could not agree with the boisterous claim and left Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc (NASDAQ: COKE) in tatters. Coca-Cola used fructose corn syrup as the base substance with stellar aspirations to give a knocking blow to PepsiCo. The launch also spent $4 million in R&D investment in the baggage.
In history, Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc (NASDAQ: COKE) tried to mitigate the loss by labeling multiple names as Coca-Cola Classic and Coke II. The result was more or less the same. Resultantly, Coca-Cola had to shrink by quarter to PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP)’s market sales, and it came out to be in the list of 15 biggest product flops in history.
7. HP TouchPad (Annual Revenue: 56.6 billion USD)
HP Inc (NYSE: HPQ) TouchPad was a bumper launch cell phone that got canceled within a few weeks of 2011. The sudden cancellation took the industry watchers by storm, leading to the dumping of entire inventory in clearance bin price. The mobile phone was launched to install a parallel rival against Apple. Thousands of journos initiated the trek to San Francisco for the much-hyped launch, but all the hullabaloo proved a damp squib right after the launch.
The two anticipated reasons for the HP Inc (NYSE: HPQ) TouchPad cellphone were unavailability in the market right after the launch as HP Inc (NYSE: HPQ) does not have its retail stores. Secondly, the unfamiliar webOS operating system. Overall, this big flop has shaken the aspirations of HP Inc (NYSE: HPQ) to thrust into the mobile market.
6. Pepsi Crystal (Annual Revenue: 62.5 billion USD)
1990 is the decade known for confetti cake, grunge vocal music, weekend sitcoms, and short-lived entry of PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) into the universe of crystal sodas. The shelf life of the mega launch of PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) Crystal was hardly a few years. Pepsi Crystal was branded as the panacea of digestive glitches, but in essence, it lacked the desired medicinal competency. The flavor side was also not very enchanting.
Consumer distress, realpolitik, shady competition, a flavor of corporate sabotage wreaked collective havoc on PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) Crystal’s launch and left the Pepsi Co. in shatters. The toll was so intense that the brand could not dare to launch another venture for long. The monetary loss might not be in a zillion, but the ripples of credibility loss were overarching.
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Disclosure: None. 15 Biggest Product Flops in History is originally published on Insider Monkey.