Special Report

50 Worst Product Flops of All Time

Source: Courtesy of Frito-Lay

6. Cheetos Lip Balm
> Company: Frito-Lay
> Year introduced: 2005
> What it was: Lip balm

Popular lip balm brands such as Chapstick, Blistex, and Burt’s Bees, have successfully sold their products to Americans for decades. Many prefer such flavored varieties as cherry, mint, and vanilla bean. Not every popular flavor can be successfully turned into a lip balm, however, a lesson PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay learned the hard way in 2005. While Cheetos has been a popular snack for more than six decades, Cheetos-flavored lip balm failed to catch on with consumers.

Source: Fox Network / Wikimedia Commons

7. Terra Nova
> Company: Fox
> Year introduced: 2011
> What it was: TV show

Every year, TV shows are cancelled before the end of their first season. While Terra Nova, which aired for one 13-episode season, is not unusual in this regard, it may go down as the most costly cancelled television show of all time. Documenting the time-traveling adventures of a 22nd century family fleeing a dystopian society for a prehistoric past, the pilot of the show alone cost Fox between $16 and $20 million to make. Terra Nova encountered numerous production mishaps while filming in Australia, including a flood that nearly killed a crew member. Ratings failed to meet expectations, and the show was not renewed for a second season. Fox is estimated to have spent more than $50 million on the failed show, not including marketing costs.

Source: Courtesy of Clairol

8. Touch of Yogurt shampoo
> Company: Clairol
> Year introduced: 1979
> What it was: Shampoo

In keeping with the 1970s trend of incorporating natural food ingredients like lemon, herbs, and honey 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. Many consumers were apparently confused as to what they had bought, as there were reported cases of people eating the shampoo.

Source: Courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company

9. New Coke
> Company: Coca-Cola
> Year introduced: 1985
> What it was: Soft drink

Over the 15 years leading up to 1985, Coca-Cola’s flagship cola drink had been losing market share to Pepsi Cola. To compete, the company changed the drink’s formula for the first time in 99 years — but the move today is considered one of the greatest flops of all time. New Coke was met with public outrage and lasted only a few months. The company reintroduced its older formula, rebranded as Coca-Cola Classic.

Source: Courtesy of Microsoft

10. Windows Vista
> Company: Microsoft
> Year introduced: 2007
> What it was: Operating system

Introduced in 2007 as a follow-up to Windows XP, the Windows Vista operating system was everything its popular predecessor was not — in all the wrong ways. Panned by customers and IT professionals alike, Vista reduced PC performance and caused a number of internet problems for users. As a result, Dell began offering Windows XP again on new laptops a few short months after Vista was introduced. Windows announced this month that it would no longer provide support for Vista, driving the final nail into the operating system’s coffin.

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