There are obvious reasons as to why purple ketchup, celery soda, and 6 other crazy foods flopped terribly. Some of these products you may know, others were so outrageously unsellable that they didn’t last in the market for more than a year, while others have been flopping for decades, but have managed to remain in production to this day. Nor were these flops only from unknown companies trying anything to get noticed, but from major brands like PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) and Kraft Heinz Foods Co (NYSE:KHC), among others.
Of course, this level of abysmal flunking usually happens with manufactured products rather than natural ones. It’s way harder to get it wrong with vegetables, so if you sleep on the healthy side of the bed, you might care to read about the 12 Most Consumed Vegetables in the US.
There’s a long list of marketing or contextual reasons for why products may not succeed, and from the most assorted varieties. Timing is one of them; it is important to adapt to changing times and a shifting market. Being unable to target the correct audience is also a classic mistake; it doesn’t matter how much you put into advertising, people will realize if you’re trying to shove down their throats a product that makes no sense for them.
In other cases, the products have proven to be a disaster themselves. People may be stupid, but when merchandise advertises the risk of “loose stool” on the package, they don’t tend to come around very easily. Oh, how many disastrous food fails you are in for! Are you curious? Step right up and find out why purple ketchup, celery soda, and 6 other crazy foods flopped?
Along with Purple Ketchup, Celery Soda is the perfect example of crazy food ideas that flopped, but shockingly remain on the market. Its tale began long, long ago, back in 1869, in the faraway kingdom of Brooklyn (because when you move by carriage, Brooklyn is actually far away). Invented by Dr. Brown, it was primarily served in New York delicatessens, and somehow not-so-surprisingly it achieved great success among the Jewish community by the 1930’s. Here’s where the Cel-Ray people got it right; it’s not easy selling celery soda, you can’t get too ambitious, just find a target and stick to it. Still, it’s shocking to me how these guys are still on their feet; people who actually consume this drink must be absolute hardcore fans who won’t drink anything else.
Even today it is still possible to find this drink in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and South Florida, and it’s usually sold at old-school Jewish delis. To tell you the truth, I have never tried this product, but it scares me a bit.
Equipped with a special nozzle for drawing, in 2000 Heinz, now Kraft Heinz Foods Co (NYSE:HNZ), released not only purple, but also orange, teal, blue, and pink-colored ketchup. It was an instant hit, and a years’ worth of sales was peddled in just three months. However, despite its initial success, by the mid 2000’s, its popularity began to decline, for the simple reason that kids -who are known for their short attention spans- grew bored of it.
Also, the parents began to develop concerns about feeding their children what looked like colored glue, and decided that it was not worth paying more for food that, even though it might have been OK health-wise, looked potentially harmful. Furthermore, since the objective of the product was to allow children to draw on their food, they logically needed several colors, and moms soon realized that no one needs that much ketchup. The same goes for purple ketchup, celery soda, and 6 other crazy foods flopped terribly.
Issued in 1989, Pepsi AM, as its name indicates, was an attempt to convince the public to consume fizzy drinks in the morning. Needless to say, their failure was absolute, and the product disappeared within just a few months of being released. Let’s face it, nothing is ever going to beat coffee in the morning, and I don’t know any healthy people that enjoy drinking cola before lunch. It just feels terrible no matter how much you like it in general.
However, I think the idea itself was great. The big mistake was the market they were trying to conquer, since it was not early birds they should have aimed at, but tired people in general, no matter the time of day. Just imagine the success they could have achieved by promoting this product to college students who have to stay up all night studying! I know if it were me, I’d just fill a bag with the sugary, caffeinated liquid, stick a needle in my arm and use it as an intravenous serum. You definitely missed the boat on that market PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP)!
Not long before the purple ketchup, celery soda, and 6 other crazy foods flopped, came another crazy idea that also flopped. It was in 1998 that Frito-Lay (also a part of PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP)) began manufacturing Lay’s, Doritos, and Ruffles WOW Chips. These were all variables of fat-free chips, the recipe for which contained Olestra. This last component is a substitute for fat that contains no calories, but causes some unpleasant side effects, such as abdominal cramping, loose stool, and anal leakage. The FDA dictated that all products with Olestra would have to print a disclaimer on the package, informing consumers of the possible consequences.
Now, even though no one should consume anything that says “anal leakage” on the package -as stated in this hilarious “The Sweetest Thing” scene- I would like to point out that if you’re eating fat-free chips because you’re looking to lose weight, diarrhea might be helpful. I know it’s not a healthy thing to say, but let’s not kid ourselves: no chips are healthy, ever, no matter what. Furthermore, the side effects come with the exaggerated ingestion of Olestra, so if you actually get them it just means that you’re a serious over-eater lying to yourself.
Why Reddi-Bacon is on the same page with purple ketchup, celery soda, and 6 other crazy foods flopped terribly? Let’s see. When you just can’t be bothered with the extenuating task of picking up a pan and home cooking good old-fashioned bacon, use Reddi-Bacon and set your kitchen on fire! This pre-cooked bacon first appeared on the market in 1964, and is today considered “ahead of its time”. The sachets consisted of absorbent paper wrapped in foil, and went straight into the household toaster; within 90 seconds you’d be eating crispy bacon. However, the envelopes were soon found to malfunction, since the grease melted by the heat was too much for the packages to hold, and therefore dripped into the toaster, ruining it, and possibly starting a grease fire.
What surprises me the most is how poorly they addressed the grease, not as a problem, but as an attribute. The reason bacon is so delicious is precisely that it’s fried in its own fat, so how could they be so sloppy? Better package=more fat for frying=yummier! It’s basic! Also, it’d be cool to still have a working toaster by the time breakfast is over, you know, in case you want some toast with your bacon or something.
Allegedly tap water, bottled water for cats and dogs is a good way of expressing how stupid you think your consumers really are. This fad appeared in the mid-’90’s, with the product being released in 1994. Under the pretense of aiding the pets’ skin and fur by being vitamin enriched, these carbonated drinks aimed for a feeling of exclusiveness for the owners. Feeding your cat a “Tangy Fish” beverage, or “Crispy Beef“ to your dog seemed to mean that you were a better owner, when in reality, you were just a moron.
The reason why this product beside purple ketchup, celery soda, and 6 other crazy foods flopped and failed is that it didn’t take long for people to realize that their pets don’t give a crap about fish flavored water or exclusiveness, to them it’s just the same as toilet water. Also, it didn’t offer any practicality, no special nozzle or anything, so when it came to bringing the bottle along for a walk, half of it would be wasted. Nevertheless, they were not the only one to have the idea of making special drinks for pets, believe it or not; here’s an entire list.
In 1974, Gerber, a company that made baby food, put forward the grown-up version of said chow, meant for college students and other people who had never lived alone before. Of course, they didn’t want it to be baby-associated, so they named them “Singles” (meaning single servings). It came in many flavors, such as “Mediterranean Vegetables”, “Beef Burgundy”, and “Blueberry Delight”. Oddly enough, it was not the fact that the product was actually poo-brown, beef flavored baby-goo that prevented their success, but the label on the bottle. Being that the brand wanted to reach young people, the sticky tag looked old, unappealing, and on the whole, not cool at all.
If you ask me, however gross the product was, it should have been aimed at old people, not young! That’s why its among purple ketchup, celery soda, and 6 other crazy foods flopped before. They got it all backwards! Why would a college student want to swallow Mediterranean Vegetable sludge from a jar? Shouldn’t we leave that kind of stuff to people with no teeth? Coincidentally, this same public would probably be attracted by the outdated, almost “retro” label on the product. The correct market was in front of their eyes, and they missed it entirely.
I don’t think I even need to clarify why this is number one in the ranking of crazy food ideas that flopped, but let’s break it down anyway. Ayds Reducing Plan Candy was an appetite suppressant diet treat that came in several flavors and was supposed to be eaten before meals. Born in the early 70’s, its success grew quite large over the next decade, but by the mid-80’s its demise was nigh. It was then that the disease caused by HIV, previously nameless, was titled AIDS (which sounded the same) by the medical community. From there on, the drop in sales was catastrophic, and the candy was eventually pulled out of the market.
Now for the good part: the infomercials are hilarious. Of course, back in the day they were just regular TV ads, but today they’re a joke. We can appreciate several hysterical phrases, such as “Ayds possesses one of the most effective appetite suppressants”, “With Ayds I ate less, so the weight came off,” “Ayds helps put me in control,” “Try peanut butter Ayds,” and my personal favorite: “Ayds lets you taste, chew, and enjoy,” because that’s how you get AIDS, people. So give it up for the most unfortunate product name ever!
So, did you find out why purple ketchup, celery soda, and 6 other crazy foods flopped terribly?