13 Hilarious Inventions That Failed Spectacularly
Sometimes a new product makes you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Other times, they make you wonder, “Why on earth did anyone think of that?” Here is a look at some spectacular product failures.
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Ugly and overpriced are usually not hallmarks of a successful product launch. Alas, such was the case of the Ford Edsel, which debuted in 1957 and enjoyed only two years on the production line. According to How Stuff Works, the Edsel had aesthetic and reliability issues, and its $2,500-$3,800 price tag timed with the beginning of a national recession put it immediately on the skids.
McDonald’s Arch Deluxe
With a promotional budget estimated at $150 million to $200 million—the largest ever in fast food history—McDonalds was all in on their new burger back in 1996. You know who wasn’t all in? Customers. Turns out, people who eat at McDonald’s weren’t all that interested in paying more for an upscale sandwich, and the Arch was discontinued faster than you can say, “I’m hatin’ it.” Check out these foods that were invented by accident.
Wearing a computer monitor on your face that records and transmits everything you look at might seem like a good idea…until you factor in little things like privacy and safety. Soon after being introduced in 2012, the glasses were banned from being worn in places like casinos and movie theaters, and behind the wheels of cars. In 2015, Google threw in the towel and hung-up their nerdy spy devices for good.
What do you do when you sell one of the most popular soft drinks on the planet? Change the formula, of course. That’s what the makers of Coca-Cola did back in 1985. After getting flooded with letters from angry customers, the company did a face-palm and announced the return of Coca-Cola “classic.” This was such a big deal that, according to TIME, news anchor Peter Jennings interrupted an episode of General Hospital to break the news.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, this machine went to war with the VHS…and lost, badly. But, despite dismal sales and complete irrelevance, Sony continued to make the machines until 2002 and didn’t stop manufacturing Betamax videotapes until 2016. Talk about commitment! Learn about the 10 accidental discoveries that changed the world.
No fat, no calories, no problem, right? Wrong. This food additive promised to transform America’s expanding waistlines, but all it did was send people to the bathroom doubled-over in pain. Side effects of eating Olestra include intense diarrhea and anal leakage, according to ABC. (Sincere apologies if you are eating lunch while reading this story.)
Before there was Nintendo DS or Sony PSP, there was this: a handheld game system that could also make calls and send texts. While that sounds common now, it wasn’t back in 2003. On paper, this device seems like it would have been a slam dunk, but in reality, it was an airball. Users complained about its odd shape, weird screen dimensions, and awkward keyboard design. And also, the price. The N-gage sold for $300, which was a lot then but, honestly, sounds like a complete bargain now. Don’t miss the 8 most ironic inventions ever.
Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water
Some Coors Light drinkers complain that the beer is so light that it tastes like water. Seeing an opportunity, the makers of Coors decided to turn a problem into an asset and sell water minus the beer in 1990. This wasn’t an idea that beverage drinkers could stomach, and the line of sparkling flavored waters quickly fizzled out.
Going bald, but don’t have time for toupees or Rogaine? Enter “spray-on hair.” Multiple manufacturers produce variations of this bottled bad boy which promises to fill in sparse spots on your dome. Is it pretty much like spray painting your head? Yes. Would it be more dignified to just embrace baldness? Absolutely, but who needs dignity when you have aerosol on your side?
These things are a blast—literally. Not too long ago, shoddy manufacturing caused many boards to burst into flames, resulting in massive recalls. These days, hoverboards that are UL 2272 certified have been deemed fire-safe by experts, who say they cause no greater risk to your home than your laptop. That’s all fine and well, but riders should know that the UL 2272 certification does not, however, guarantee you won’t look like a giant dork riding one.
Bic for Her
As Bic learned, the pen is mightier than the sword when it comes to outraging the buying public. In 2012, they released a line of pens that were “designed to fit comfortably in a woman’s hand.” The absurdity of a pen needing to be specially-designed for female scribblers was met with hilarious backlash on online reviews. Adweek compiled some of the funniest, including this gem: “I’m confused. I thought this would work like all the similar products I’ve bought in the past, but I keep urinating on it and it won’t turn pink *OR* blue!”
As detailed by Milwaukee Magazine, the iconic motorcycle maker’s attempt to get in the scent business turned smelly fast. In 1996, they released a line of perfumes and colognes called “Hot Road” which featured perfumes called Black Fire, Destiny, Legendary, Hot Rod, and Territory. Bikers—and nearly everyone else—turned up their nose at this misguided attempt to sniff up some profits, and the eau de toilette went right in the toilet. Find out about the 7 inventors who majorly regretted their inventions.
LEGO Fiber Optics
According to Business Insider, the clear tubing and battery-operated LED-light system of this special LEGO set “cost more to produce than the entire set was being sold for.” (For those of you who didn’t go to business school, that’s bad.) Next, find out the most famous invention from every state.