There are plenty of products on the market that are nothing short of amazing. Of course for every fantastic and ground breaking product that hits the shelf of a shop there is at least ten products that are so bad you will want to stab yourself in the eye just to distract you from their existence. These terrible products really do make you wonder what the research and development department was thinking when they invented such products. Maybe they were just still suffering the effects of excessive alcohol the night before.
1 – New Coke
Back in the 190’s the cola market was highly competitive with Coke-a-Cola and Pepsi both desperately trying to get the upper hand and boost their sales. It was in 1985 that some lunatic with in the Coke-a-Cola company decided that the way to boost sales was to completely revamp the company’s flagship drink.
This was with no doubt an idea that seemed good at the time but when it comes to choosing a particular soda drink people tend to do so because of the unique taste which is as much part of the brand as the company’s logo. The ‘New Coke’ hit the market with a new and sweeter flavour than the original and was described as ‘rounder and bolder’ by Cokes marketing department. The new taste never took off and millions of fans all over the world were appalled with the new taste. Several news channels likened the change of taste the equivalent of making Santa Claus wear a blue suit.
Faced with the very real possibility of losing millions of once loyal customers Coke-a-Cola were quick to relaunch their original product under the name ‘Coke-a-Cola Classic’ which resulted in a massive increase in overall sales. In fact the whole switch to ‘New Coke’ and back again seemed to happen so quickly many people suggested that the whole thing was nothing more than a very clever marketing ploy to generate controversy and therefore a wealth of publicity.
2 – Nintendo Power Glove
If you were ever on the lookout for a cool looking game console peripheral then you could do a heck of a lot worse than Nintendo’s Power Glove. Released in 1989 the multi-buttoned, flexi-fingered Power Glove was released as a new method of controlling Nintendo’s hugely successful NES. Promising to be a revolution in the way game consoles were controlled Nintendo managed to sell more than 100,000 Power Gloves before users and critics figured out the thing was a complete waste of time. Users and critics of the Power Glove quickly began to complain about its very poor functionality along with the lack of games designed to utilise its features.
A company by the name ‘PAX, was responsible for manufacture and marketing of the Power Glove paid the ultimate price for its failure and went bankrupt as a direct result of the gloves failure.
3 – Microsoft Windows 8
Microsoft have produced their fair share of great and much loved computer operating systems over the years but they have also produced their fair share of terrible operating systems. One of the worst happens to be the tablet and touchscreen orientated Windows 8.
Even though Windows 8 boasted a relatively low upgrade price user uptake was exceptionally low with many PC users stating that the non-touchscreen interface was extremely difficult to navigate.
For the Windows 8 operating system Microsoft even went as far to remove the famous Windows Start button. This caused a backlash from the few users who opted to use the operating system and Microsoft scheduled for its reinstatement by the end of 2013 in the operating systems first major patch.
4 – Zip Disks
Nothing gets a PC enthusiast excited like the advent of a new portable data storage medium. Back in the late 1990’s something known as the Zip Disk was creating mild erections in the pants of geeks everywhere. Although the Zip Disk was fundamentally nothing more than an oversized floppy disk the technology was capable of holding hundreds of megabytes of data which meant one zip disk was capable of holding the same amount of data as hundreds of floppy disks.
Although Zip Disks were said to be extremely robust they were notoriously unstable and were often reported to kill off and lose all the data stored upon them. In a world where safe and reliable data storage is very important the Zip Drives days were numbered especially when combined with the birth and widespread use of USB storage.
5 – Smokeless Cigarettes
The cigarette industry has for a very long time been worth a ridiculous amount of money and has always looked for new ways to make their market even larger. Long before e-cigarettes came along there was, for a brief time, the smokeless cigarette.
It was the late 1980’s when the smokeless cigarette hit the market as the invention of big tobacco’s RJ Reynolds. The smokeless cigarette cost a whopping $325 million to develop and bring to market with the intention of eliminating the problem of second-hand smoke. They were also said to be much healthier and cleaner than regular cancer inducing cigarettes.
Unfortunately for Reynolds no one bought the smokeless cigarette and no one got behind the idea. Even Reynold’s very own CEO described the smokeless cigarette as ‘tasting like shit’. The product only lasted four months before sale was withdrawn and they were removed from shops.
6 – Crystal Pepsi
Coke-a-Cola is not the only cola product to make it onto our list of terrible products. Crystal Pepsi was Pepsi’s answer to the health food kick that came about in the mid 1990’s. Offering a new, healthier and purer alternative to their regular flagship soda Crystal Pepsi came out with all guns blazing in the form of a caffeine-free and clear cola which the company believed would appeal to health freaks all over the world.
Unfortunately for Pepsi consumers were unable to get their heads around the new drink and many said they were confused by the drink being both clear and cola. Crystal Pepsi stayed on shop shelves for little more than two years before being withdrawn from sale.
7 – The McAfrika
When it comes to marketing McDonalds is head and shoulders above most other companies. This however does not mean that McDonalds is immune to its own product and marketing disasters.
In 2002 McDonalds launched the McAfrika, a pitta-wrapped beef, cheese and salad sandwich which gained nothing more than mixed reviews for its culinary quantities.
What really made the McAfrika one of the biggest product flops the company has ever seen was the timing of its release. When the McAfrika was released it was accompanied by a huge Africa related marketing campaign. This may not seem like any big deal but when the McAfrkia was released it just so happened that parts of the African continent was suffering from a widespread famine which had already claimed the lives of over 12 million people. This is like Al-Qaeda sponsoring American Airlines.