Identity Crisis – Knowing Your (market) Place

In November, Coke announced that it would be releasing its own brand of milk which it claimed would be so popular that it will “rain money” for the company. Fairlife, which launches in the US next month, will cost twice as much as regular milk and will contain 50% more protein and 30% less sugar. No offense to Coke, but this sounds a bit like milk on steroids.

While Coke certainly has the clout to pull off such an ambitious launch, these claims are sure to raise a few eyebrows and this got me thinking… what other products have failed epically over the years? After a bit of research and a lot of cynical chuckling here is my pick of the top five product flops:

1/ Cosmopolitan Yoghurt – Yep that’s right, Cosmopolitan. As in the magazine. The one published in 36 languages and distributed in more than 100 countries. God only knows what possessed them to move from the world of publications into dairy based products but after being pulled from the shelves after just 18 months, I think a valuable lesson was learnt.

cosmopolitan yoghurt

2/ Coors, Rocky Mountain Spring Water – After having firmly conquered the world with its beer, Coors decided to set its sights on expanding into producing bottled water. Unfortunately if you are a conscientious water drinker, as many millennials like to think they are, you’re unlikely to turn to a brand of beer for your aqua. Likewise, if you’re a conscientious beer drinker you’re probably not looking to buy water from your favourite brand of beer because of, well you know, the lack of alcohol. Within two year the product was pulled.


3/ Bic Underwear –. Bic, synonymous for their pens, lighters, razors and other disposable goods, decided that their next big thing would be underpants. I’ve absolutely no idea where Bic was coming from with this one unless we are talking about disposable underpants but needless to say this product well and truly fell on its backside.


4/ Colgate Kitchen Entrées – Once upon a time across the pond in the USA, Colgate decided that it would stray away from its usual offerings of toothpaste and household health care products and try its hand at a range of food products under the name Colgate Kitchen Entrees. Unsurprisingly these products never left US soil and were biined within 12 months and once again were a complete failure.


5/ McDonalds Arch Deluxe – Wanting to attract a “higher” calibre of clientele, McDonalds attempted to spruce up its menu by introducing the McDonalds Arch Deluxe to appeal to a more sophisticated palate. Unfortunately if you’re eating at McDonalds, chances are you’re not looking for fine dining or you’re too drunk to care. Either way, the Arch Deluxe was binned within 12 months


So what did all of these big players all have in common? They tried to be something they are not.
As a business, you work desperately hard to forge your unique identity. It’s what separates from you the pack and attracts your clients and affords their loyalty. It’s hard to imagine what convinced these giants step outside of their comfort zone and misrepresent their customers in such a bizarre way but it has certainly provided some light relief. Thank God it wasn’t our job to be marketing these products!

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