Jack Cieslak | CBInsights
From the DeLorean and New Coke to the Newton and Google Glass, here’s a list of the biggest product flops from corporate giants.
Product innovation is one way that large corporations stay competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace, but it doesn’t always work out when big brands attempt innovation.
Below are what we consider to be 102 of the biggest product flops of all time.
We combed through thousands of media articles to select these product flops across major industries including tech software and hardware, consumer packaged goods, fast food, and electronics. Let us know in the comments if we missed any that should be added.
Understanding failure is crucial since so many accounts of innovation focus on the successes and so are affected by survivorship bias.
1. New Coke, Coca-Cola (1985)
This was a change consumers never asked for and public backlash was a disaster. When the company went back to the original formula, Peter Jennings broke into hit TV show “General Hospital” to announce the news and US Sen. David Pryor called it “a meaningful moment in US history” on the floor of the Senate.
2. The Edsel, Ford (1957)
Renowned as one of Ford’s greatest flops, this ride had it all: weird body styling, unreliable controls (including a push-button ignition), and an ambitious run-up of ads that may have inflated customer expectations.
What the public got was the HTC First, an Android-skinned device whose main feature was being geared towards the Facebook Home application.
The phone’s exclusive carrier, AT&T, drastically slashed the price to 99 cents in a “temporary sale” that became permanent until the phone’s death.
4. Newton, Apple (1993)
Revolutionary for its time, this handheld PDA pinned its hopes on handwriting recognition. Jobs himself reputedly hated it, saying of the device’s stylus input device: “God gave us ten styluses … let’s not invent another.”