Special Report

18 Worst Product Flops of All Time

1. Edsel
> Company:
> Year released: 1957
> Company revenue when released: $4.6 billion

Sometimes an aggressive marketing strategy can backfire and cause a product to flop instead of flourish when it does not meet expectations. The Ford Edsel, named after Henry Ford’s son, was one such case. Ford spent a year aggressively marketing the Edsel ahead of its 1957 release. The company promised that this would be the “car of the future,” and dubbed the day the Edsel was to be available on dealership lots “E-Day.” The car, however, was a commercial disaster. It was considerably overpriced, disappointingly not futuristic, and generally ugly. Ford ceased the car’s production after only two years. It lost an estimated $350 million on the car.

2. Touch of Yogurt Shampoo
> Company:
Bristol-Myers Squibb
> Year released: 1979
> Company revenue when released: $2.5 billion

In keeping with the trend at the time of incorporating natural food ingredients into beauty and hygiene products, Clairol — at the time a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb — thought a yogurt shampoo was just what the American consumer wanted. It turned out the company had grossly miscalculated, and Touch of Yogurt Shampoo quickly became one of the highest profile product flops of all time. Many consumers were apparently confused as to what they had bought as there were reported cases of people eating the shampoo and getting very ill. Perhaps Clairol should have known better. After all, the yogurt shampoo failure came only a few years after another failed shampoo called Look of Buttermilk.

3. Apple Lisa
> Company:
> Year released: 1983
> Company revenue when released: $583 million

Long before a series of tremendous 21st century successes, including the iPad, iPhone, and MacBook, Apple was responsible for one of the biggest product flops of all time. In 1978, the company began to develop a computer designed for business customers. After spending $50 million over more than three years of development, the Apple Lisa was launched in 1983. However, the new Apple Lisa with its $10,000 price tag — equal to roughly $24,000 today — was out of reach of many would be consumers. After selling only 10,000 units, Apple discontinued the Lisa in 1985.

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