A few years ago, every sketch show and late-night talk-show host could only ever talk about the Shake Weight. This goofy looking exercise device comprised two weights on either end of a dumbbell connected to a spring. It also made the user look like they were doing sexually explicit activities when they were working out.
The Shake Weight was long thought to be a joke product before people discovered that it was a legitimate device created by an actual product.
Sometimes big companies make mistakes when coming up with their products. These mistakes can cost businesses millions of dollars.
Learn six of the worst products ever conceived and why exactly they went downhill.
Microsoft tried to enter the portable music player in the mid-2000s. Their product was called the Zune and it wasn’t that different from all the other types of portable music players in the market at the time.
Despite this, the Zune was largely ignored by consumers. This was because they entered the market too late and the go-to music player was already the iPod. No one was interested in the Zune because it didn’t give anything that the iPod wasn’t already doing well.
Mistake: Developed and made available too late.
Atari was the game system of the 1980s and every child wanted to own one because of the multiple exciting games available on the platform. In the early 1980s, Atari jumped at the opportunity to turn Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster movie “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” into a video game.
Atari spent millions buying the rights to the game. Unfortunately, they wanted to have a game out by the Christmas season. This meant that the game version of “E.T.” spent only months in development. The game was shoddy, buggy and generally unplayable, with less than a third of all units bought. The rest were consigned to the landfills.
Mistake: Rushed development.
Pepsi wanted to join the health drink boom in the early 1990s. To this end, they created Pepsi Clear. This beverage was essentially Pepsi but reportedly had less caffeine and was therefore much healthier. When it was first released, there was strong public interest in Pepsi Clear and they sold millions of units. However, sales quickly plummeted the year after its release because the public interest was gone. Consumers reported it was because they didn’t see much difference in taste from the original product.
Mistake: Unnecessarily different from the main product.
In the late 2010s, smart devices became all the rage as manufacturers computerized everything. One of the most egregious products ever conceived was the Juicero. Promised and manufactured by a small start-up company, the Juicero reportedly was a smart juicer that could synch with an app and mobile devices.
However, the Juicero could only produce juice from separate and expensive packets instead of fruits and vegetables. Eventually the company shut down and the Juicero became an expensive laughingstock.
Mistake: Expensive and unusually specific product requirements.
In 2007, Windows wanted to create a new operating system for their computers to replace Microsoft XP. This had been the operating system for years and needed an overhaul. But their new operating system, Microsoft Vista, had been developed in a rush.
The program not only had more bugs than expected, it also slowed down computers considerably. Microsoft Vista also interfered greatly with internet connectivity. It was so poorly made and abhorred that laptop manufacturers avoided installing it as their operating system.
Microsoft only recently stopped providing any support for this operating system, finally putting it into complete obsolescence.
Mistake: Poorly made product inferior to previous iteration.
“Cosmopolitan” is one of the most popular women’s magazines in publication. They cover topics from lifestyle to sex advice and fashion. Before the rise of internet publications and the decline of magazine subscriptions, “Cosmopolitan” was a publishing juggernaut. They had millions of dollars to spare, and they wanted to expand into food.
To this end, they whipped up with their own yogurt. “Cosmopolitan” branded yogurt hit the market shelves in the 1990s, much to the confusion of people. Consumers were familiar with “Cosmopolitan” as a magazine brand and were understandably not appetized by a yogurt. It remains a huge blemish in the magazine’s history.
Mistake: Expanding into an unfamiliar field.
Product development is an essential part of a company. If you want to conceive a great product, learning from the mistakes of the other businesses is essential in ensuring your own product’s success.