Five of the worst product launches

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It hasn’t been a good month for Samsung, after they suffered the humiliation of having to recall all of their Samsung Galaxy note smartphones after battery problems caused some explosive results.

However, they are not the first, nor the last major company to suffer when it comes to launching a new product. Whether it’s a faulty design, a brand in a new market, or just a downright poor product, we’ve seen many companies suffer! Here are some of our favourites, beginning with Samsung’s unfortunate recent error.

The exploding battery

It would be a nightmare for any phone provider, the thought of having to recall your product because the battery is catching fire and exploding is as bad as it gets. Not only is it dangerous, but the knock-on effects could be devastating for the brand.

Thankfully, for Samsung we don’t think that their reputation is likely to suffer too much at the hands of this embarrassment, they have enough credit in the bank for this to pass as a one-off. Although, the timing could not be worse, with chief competitor Apple having just released the iPhone 7 and earning acclaim.

The actual issue arose after the battery would catch fire and in some cases explode, either when it was on charge, or shortly after it was taken off. Not ideal for all of you out there who would be trying to check out the slots on your Lucky Nugget Casino app!

The South Korean company had sold a whopping 2.5m of the models, before they had to be recalled, and the company have said that the majority or being returned to be replaced, as the customers are showing great loyalty, although only time will tell how detrimental this has been for the tech giants.

The good news is, the firm have identified the problem, which is believed to be a manufacturing error in the battery which leads to a short circuit that cause a fire. Over the long term, there could be benefits too, as Samsung will now surely take even greater measures to ensure that there will be no issues with products associated with them.

From toothpaste to… frozen food!

Another product that spectacularly failed, belonged to another well-known, highly respected brand that is still going strong today.

For many companies, diversifying the brand and reaching out to a new audience is an integral part of growing and increasing revenues. However, it’s often best to stick with what you know, or at least go with something similar to what you know.

But that’s not what Colgate did. You know, the company that provide a range of healthcare and personal products – notably toothpaste. When you think of the brand you immediately think of your teeth, getting the shiny white look – not frozen food!

Yet, back in 1982, Colgate were ready to branch out and launched their own Colgate Kitchen Entrees. Presumably, the link would be that you would enjoy one of their frozen dinners and then you would go and brush your teeth, at least that’s what we are hoping there thought process was.

Either way, it didn’t work out and their Kitchen Entrees didn’t leave US soil. It’s not hard to see why! Yet, to be fair, that hasn’t impacted the Colgate brand since, although we are pleased to report they haven’t opted for anything as extravagant since. Wise move.

The billion-dollar mistake

Sticking with the theme of looking at high profile companies that have suffered, we go next to Hewlett-Packard (HP). They are well-known and respected in the PC industry, even if they have suffered a bit recently.

However, that recent suffering can be tracked back to 2011, with their new TouchPad. The idea was that this device would be able to offer stern competition with the iPad produced by Apple. With powerful video capability and good processing speeds, they had hoped to make a real impact on the market.

But it wouldn’t work out like that. After a high profile PR campaign that had attracted interest and excitement in the product, the results were disastrous.

HP had to write off over $880m in assets and a further $750m in costs to close down the webOS operations, which finished all the work on the TouchPad’s failed operating system. To make matters worse, the product was discontinued almost immediately, meaning that a lot of red faces accompanied the massive financial hit.

Obviously, for a reputable brand like HP, the results weren’t terminal, but they have since struggled to get themselves near the top of the market like they once were. However, this prompted a review and change in the structure, and they are in the process of a multi-year plan to change aspects of the business. Whenever the next venture takes place, they will be hoping it’s a lot better than the TouchPad!

Don’t change a winning formula

When it comes to soft drinks, Coke are a major player. The iconic red cans and brand can be recognised from a mile off and it’s a drink that goes down well with people all over the world.

However, in 1985, the company released ‘New Coke’ which was obviously different to the original. It came in the face of an increase in competition, primarily from Pepsi, as the soft drinks market was beginning to get very competitive.

Blind tasting sessions would show that the people much preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi and with their market share beginning to dwindle Coke felt like they had to make a stand.

That didn’t come in the form of a new promotion or a slight tweak to the taste. Instead, they went the whole hog and changed everything about the drink.

New Coke, was a completely new taste, and the public did not like it. There was outrage at the new taste and it was a disaster for the company. They would have to re-launch the original formula straight away and New Coke would be no more.

It didn’t turn out too bad for them in the end though!

Ford pay the price with series of mistakes

Founded in 1903 by Henry Ford, Ford have gone on to be one of the most reliable and well-known names in the car industry, but that doesn’t mean they are immune from marketing mistakes, and arguably the biggest one came in 1957. The Edsel was named after Henry’s only son who had passed away years before, and it wasn’t exactly a fitting tribute.

The first mistake was the intense advertising campaign that surrounded this car – it was big news. Their expensive adverts may have only succeeded in raising the customers’ expectations beyond a reasonable level. The car itself was designed for higher-end customers who were seeking an upgrade with some new revolutionary designs.

Those designs were the second mistake, as the Teletouch pushbutton transmission and electronic controls were supposed to be the USP’s of this product but they were in fact unreliable which obviously didn’t go down well.

Then, the price, during a struggling economy put a lot of people off. You could pay anything from $2,500 to $4,000 which at the time was a lot of money! Bear in mind that in 1957, a lot of car companies would post lower than expected sales, so hoping to shift them at that price seemed unreasonable.

It would take four years for Ford to pull the plug completely on the Edsel and it was all over – at a cost. The whole process cost the firm around $350m, which is equivalent to $2.9bn in today’s market. Ouch!

So, there you have it, some of the biggest mistakes in the business world, from some very well-known names! It goes to show that even the best can make mistakes, but they all ensured that this only happened once. It can be damaging to your reputation as well as your pockets, as Samsung are finding out now. However, they can take some solace from the other brands on this list who have all come back from their errors. Just don’t let it happen again!

 

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