Strange new and old products

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

I am fascinated by people who create products or services that outwardly seem to have little chance of success, but somehow rise to the occasion. Equally fascinating are the big names that launch products that seem to stray so far for the knitting that you wonder what was going through their heads.

Ben gay mistepFor instance Cosmopolitan knows something about magazines but its  yogurt lasted 18 months. Life Savers, one of the top brands in non-chocolate candy and mints, failed miserably in the soda business. Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water failed because it was missing the key ingredients of barley and yeast. Colgate  Kitchen Entrees did not exactly get taste buds tingling. Pepsi AM and  Crystal Pepsi ignored the fact that consumers expected their cola to be brown. Bic tried to expand its disposable razors and  lighters to disposable underwear?  Ben-Gay cream, great for aches and pains, tried an aspirin but  the idea of swallowing Ben-Gay was not so appealing. And there was new Coke, the Edsel and the list goes on and on. See Top 25 Biggest Product Flops of All Time .

automatic-toilet-flusher-for-catsThen there is Strange New Products and they have a whole list of stuff that is, well, strange like this Automatic Toilet Flusher for cats. Or the hairbrush for bald men.  And Bacon Shaving Cream.

We all remember strange products that took off for a while like the Pet Rock?

Consumers loved these products.
Rubik's cubeThe website 24/7 Wall St. reviewed product categories that generate widespread attention and command lasting loyalty. It then identified individual products that had the highest sales in those categories – the 10 best-selling products of all time.
Rubik’s Cube
iPhone
Harry Potter book series
Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’
Mario video game franchise
iPad
‘Star Wars’ film series
Toyota Corolla
Lipitor
PlayStation
Then there are the misfits; the most unlikely to succeed like the Pet Rock.
Pet rockIn the 1970′s it was the  “perfect pet”.  No  need to be feed, water, walk or bathe. Gary Dahl, an advertising executive from California bought a bunch of stones from a builder’s supply store, packaged them in cardboard boxes with holes (so the rocks could “breathe”), and marketed them as serious “pets”.  Lorna Li lists nine other seemingly stupid ideas that made millions at 10 Stupid ideas that made millions.
Our world is changing exponentially and while services like Facebook and Twitter were inconceivable a generation ago, they are the driving force in promoting new ideas, services and products today.
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