Commercial failures that had an impact on history

The Edsel 

The Edsel is most famous for being a marketing disaster.
Indeed, the name "Edsel" came to be synonymous with
commercial failure, and similar ill-fated products,
such as the Betamax tape format, have often been
colloquially referred to as "Edsels." Since it
was such a debacle, it provided a case study for
marketers on how not to market a product. The main
reason why the Edsel's failure is so famous was
that it flopped despite Ford?s investment of $400,000,000
into its development.?

New Coke

Public reaction to the change was devastating,
and the new cola quickly entered the pantheon
of major marketing flops. However, the
subsequent reintroduction of Coke's original
formula led to a significant gain in sales,
which some theorize was the original
purpose all along.?


The VHS format's defeat of the Betamax format
became a classic marketing case study, now identified
with the verbal phrase "to Betamax", wherein
a proprietary technology format is overwhelmed
in the market by a format allowing multiple,
competing, licensed manufacturers, as in:
"Apple Betamaxed themselves out of the PC
market." Sony's confidence in its ability
to dictate the industry standard backfired
when JVC made the tactical decision to engage in
open sharing of its VHS technology. JVC
sacrificed substantial potential earnings
by going the open sharing route, but that decision
ultimately won the standards war.?


The sinking resulted in the deaths of more
than 1,500 people, ranking it as one of the
worst peacetime maritime disasters in history
and by far the most famous. Titanic's design
used some of the most advanced technology
available at the time and the ship was
popularly believed to be "unsinkable".

Apple Newton
The Apple Newton, or simply Newton, was an
early line of personal digital assistants
developed, manufactured and marketed by
Apple Computer from 1993 to 1998.?

Although the Apple Newton was produced for
six years, it was never as successful in
the marketplace as Apple had hoped. This has been
attributed to two primary reasons: the
Newton's high price (which went up to $1000
when models 2000 and 2100 were introduced),
and its large size (it failed the "pocket
test" by not fitting in an average coat, shirt,
or trouser pocket). Critics also panned its
handwriting recognition. These initial problems
marred Newton's reputation in the eyes of the
public, and PDAs would remain a niche product
until Palm, Inc.'s Palm Pilot, which emerged
shortly before the Newton was

Apple Lisa ? ?The Apple Lisa, created in
1980, turned out to be a commercial failure
for Apple, the largest since the Apple III disaster
of 1980. The intended business computing
customers balked at Lisa's high price and
largely opted to run less expensive IBM PCs, which were
already beginning to dominate business desktop computing.?

Apple III
For a variety of reasons, the Apple III was
a commercial failure. With a starting price
of about US$3,500, it was more
expensive than many of the CP/M-based
business computers that were
available at the time.?

Microsoft Bob ? ?But there is at least one
Microsoft product that just, well, never
quite caught on. In fact, it bombed famously.
I am speaking of none other than Microsoft BOB.
In this review we take a
look at a product that sold so poorly it was
actually cancelled after
just one version, 1.0.?

Webvan was an online "credit and delivery"
grocery business that went bankrupt in 2001.
It is often considered one of the clearest
examples of misapplying Internet technology
to an existing form of business. It is also
considered a classic example of a company trapped
by sudden demands from venture capitalists for short-term
profitability, instead of growth and market share.?

The company subscribed to the dot-com philosophy
that making a brand name known was as or more
important than profitability. actually succeeded wildly in making
its brand name known.?

?However, despite their incredible web traffic
and well known brand name, sales of pet products
through the site were nowhere near
profitable - their strategy had been based around
conquering the market on pet supplies without
adequate research on how many pet
owners would genuinely use the service.?

Europa rocket
Failed to launch five times. It never had a
successful launch.

Spruce Goose ? An aircraft commissioned by
the US to be built by Howard Hughes. It wasn?t
used by the military and Congress killed it
the project after spending government funds on it.

N1 Rocket
N1 or N-1 was the Soviet rocket intended to
send Soviet cosmonauts to the Moon, preferably
ahead of the Americans.?

As a result of its technical difficulties, in
turn due to lack of funding for full-up testing,
the N1 never successfully completed a
test flight. All four unmanned launches out of
12 planned test launches ended in failure, even
before first-stage separation.?

Tacoma Narrow Bridge
The final destruction of the bridge was
recorded on film. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Collapse (1940) is preserved in the U.S.
National Film Registry, and is still shown to
engineering, architecture, and physics students
as a cautionary tale.?

The bridges spectacular self-destruction is
often used as an object lesson in the necessity
to consider both aerodynamics and resonance
effects in structural and civil engineering.?

Supersonic Transport
High fuel costs and low passenger capacity
(due to the aerodynamic requirement for a
narrow fuselage) have combined to make SSTs
an expensive form of transportation compared
with the cost of subsonic flight.?

Heavens Gate
Heaven's Gate (1980) is a big-budget western movie,
depicting a fictionalized account of the Johnson
County War between land barons and European
immigrants in 1890s Wyoming. The biggest
Hollywood flop of the 1980s, Heaven's Gate
became synonymous with
troubled and overbudget film disasters.?

?The movie's unprecedented US$40 million cost
sent United Artists into bankruptcy and
eventually led to its purchase by MGM.?

Cutthroat Island
Made the same year as Waterworld, Cutthroat Island
was actually a much bigger financial failure.
The budget approached 100 million dollars and
the total US gross was approximately 10
million dollars.?

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within - ?It was
released on July 11, 2001 in the United States
and was the first animated feature to seriously
attempt photorealistic CGI humans. It is also
one of the biggest box office bombs in film
history, with losses of over $120 million,
effectively bankrupting Square Pictures.?

The Adventures of Pluto Nash - ?The film was
a tremendous flop: the film's budget was estimated
at $100 million, the marketing cost was
$20 million and the domestic box office (of
which the studio typically receives about 50%)
was $4,420,080 (U.S.) and $2,683,893 (overseas)
for a total worldwide gross of $7,103,973.?

DIVX ? ?The DIVX rental system was created in
1998 in time for the holiday season and was
discontinued on June 16, 1999, exactly 1 year
later, due to the costs of introducing the format,
as well as its very
limited acceptance by the general public.?


?List of famous failures in science and engineering?

?List of commercial failures?

?List of films generating losses?

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