7 Most Popular Product Disasters
Launching a new and innovative product is something which keeps you ahead of your competitors most of the times. But what happens if this dream product fails to launch or worse, the product fails? Here are the top 7 popular product disasters, some of them which proved disastrous to the organization, and some simply put them to shame.
- Sony Betamax
Many of you probably were not born in the age of video recording tapes. It was the era when the VHS format became popular. Sony launched Betamax, which was the first recording tape to hit the market in 1975. Later JVC launched the VHS format in 1976. Naturally, this was the beginning of the format war. As any person’s guess, Betamax lost this war. But, the question is why? Though there were many reasons quoted, there was one main reason for its failure.
First, the VHS format of tape could record two hours of video, while the Betamax tape could hold only an hour of video. Later, JVC also tied up with RCA extending its VHS recording capability to four hours. Naturally, over forty production companies preferred VHS over Betamax. This led to the failure of Sony’s Betamax.
- Ford Edsel
On September 4th 1957, Ford inaugurated its Edsel in a grand way. Despite this elaborate product launch, Ford halted Edsel’s production in 1960. What was the reason for this product disaster? The first reason was that people did not find anything “new” in that car, when compared to others. It was no more reliable than any other car. The second reason according to some market strategists is that the marketing campaign was so extensive that it may have actually killed the car instead of making it a hit.
With all its marketing hype, people didn’t see anything revolutionary but just another Ford car. The third reason is that people didn’t like the car’s body a bit. The final reason that drove the nail into the coffin was the economic situation in America similar to recession.
- Coors – Rocky Mountain Spring Water
Your company’s brand name really matters when it comes to the type of product you manufacture. Especially, if you are a famous beer brand and have a strong customer base, your customers do not expect you to come up with a bottle of water which contains no alcohol. But Coors, the famous beer brand did not realize this till their bottle of spring water took a massive beating by its own loyal customers.
The idea of Coors of bringing out a bottle of spring water may have been noble, but they probably missed out on their market research. The customers of Coors were not all that into packaged drinking water which contained absolutely no alcohol. It may have been a better idea for the company to come up with something else which contained barley and yeast.
- Coca Cola – New Coke
When it comes to brand wars, the war between Coca Cola and Pepsi is an epic one. In the 1980s, Coca Cola was losing its market share to Pepsi. Pepsi seemed to have gained more ground due to its sweeter taste. Seeing this, Coca Cola decided that it was time for a taste makeover. “New Coke” was its answer to Pepsi’s sweet taste. But little did it know that it was a horrible mistake it ever made.
The company completely removed the original formula and filled the shelves with its sweeter version. It took little time for people to become enraged when they found that their favorite Coca Cola was completely gone. Coca Cola realized its mistake when people started boycotting its new product. The company then decided to bring back its original formula. Though this disaster did not leave a lasting bitter taste in the company’s mouth, it definitely made the company realize the power of its brand.
- Crystal Pepsi
Crystal Pepsi earns its place in the top 7 most popular product disasters for its own reasons. This again had to do with the brand that Pepsi had already created in the public’s mind. The early nineties was the era of purity in drinks. Health and wellness was all the rage and Pepsi decided to jump on the bandwagon. The company found that more and more people were buying Perrier and Evian instead of Pepsi. Hence, it decided to come up with Crystal, the clear, caffeine-free cola. However, people just couldn’t relate to Pepsi’s clear version. They even hated the taste, which was nothing like cola. Crystal failed to gain any popularity and Pepsi had to withdraw its new product from the shelves.
- DeLorean DMC-12
This is an interesting case where the product was good enough, yet, it was a failure. DMC-12 was the only car manufactured by the “DeLorean Motor Company”. The car was nothing special in terms of engineering prowess (talk about an underpowered 130 horse power (hp) Volvo V6, and staff who lacked knowledge and experience), but this was made up by its sheer style. What more could one ask than the swing-up gull-wing doors, futuristic lines and stainless steel body panels? Yet, the company halted production in less than year and filed bankruptcy. Why?
The company began production of DMC-12 in 1981 and in less than a year went bankrupt. The reason was not the car, but the company founder himself. John DeLorean, the founder of the company was arrested on charges of drug trafficking. Though he was later acquitted as he was not guilty, a permanent damage had already been done. The company had lost millions of dollars. Today, a different company exists under the same name in Houston, Texas.
- Windows Vista
Windows Vista may not be a complete failure in true sense, but it definitely had difficulties in being accepted. Vista received harsh criticisms when it was launched in January 2007, which led to slow adoption. One reason for this was that people failed to identify any clear benefits of this operating system over Windows XP. Moreover, Vista came with some steep requirements in the hardware for its optimum effect. Vista also forced people to pay up more for an OS whose security features stopped people from doing what they really wanted to do. Though Microsoft has ironed out many of the kinks, Vista has still left a bad feeling in people’s minds.
So, here are the top 7 popular product disasters which made quite a buzz in the market and taught these companies some valuable lessons, the hard way.