Supermarkets constantly introduce new products, many of these offshoots of big brands and household favourites. In most cases, market research prevails and the product seamlessly integrates with the rest of the trolley. But occasionally there are those spin-offs that appear to spin off their axis.
Earlier this month, Ben & Jerry’s announced its forthcoming craft beer, “Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale,” due later this year. Whether ill-conceived or the stuff of business class theory, this unusual foray left us hankering for more.
Incoming: 10 of the strangest, ill-fated brand spin offs, ever.
10. Life Savers Soda
In 1980, goaded on by almost 70 years of success, the hard-boiled sweet brand “Life Savers” launched its fizzy drink, “Life Savers Soda”. Taste tests suggested it’d be a real winner but it swiftly tanked with customers generally assuming the drink was liquid candy.
9. Bic perfume and panties
Ballpoint merchants Bic decided to stretch beyond the biro sphere and peddle perfumes, knickers and tights for a time. Remarkably, Bic’s disposable, branded panties failed to strike a chord with shoppers and the range was permanently binned.
8. Cosmopolitan Yoghurt
In ‘99, Cosmo magazine sidestepped its provocative ladymag rep and ventured into territory unchartered: potted yoghurt. Described as “Sophisticated and aspirational,” these peachy pots didn’t go down like Cosmo’s ‘10 steps to achieve a peachy bottom’ and the project was scrapped 18 months later.
7. Kellogg’s Breakfast Mates
Is there anything quite as frustrating as cornflakes and no milk? Or worse again, all the ingredients but no spoon? Kellogg’s Breakfast Mates tackled this head-on by including milk and spoons in every pack. And while non-refrigerated, room temp milk raised eyebrows, the child-friendly ads coupled with child-hostile packaging resulted in the cereal’s demise. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
6. Pepsi A.M.
For many, the morning routines pivots around that first cup of coffee but Pepsi’s Chariman, David Novak, wondered whether Pepsi couldn’t replace java as the people’s morning elixir. It didn’t, and neither did its caffeine-free successor, Pepsi Crystal. As the slogan goes: The joy of Pepsi is, well, Pepsi.
5. Clairol’s “Touch of Yoghurt” Shampoo
Customers were split down the middle with this one. One half squeezed it out and ate it with a spoon – blissfully unaware they were eating shampoo – while others failed to make the inexistent shampoo-yoghurt connection. Not the best.
4. Pets’ Bottled Water
Launched in 2008, bottled dog water didn’t get the response Thirsty Dog! banked on, and crispy beef-flavoured water was usurped by that trusty stuff from the tap.
3. Colgate Kitchen Entrees
Nothing says hors d’oeuvres like a tube of Colgate toothpaste. These ready-made stir-fries, while not mint flavoured, failed to titillate customers possibly due to Colgate’s reputation as a minty-fresh bathroom fave.
2. Cocaine Energy Drink
Yep, you read right. This highly caffeinated (cocaine-free) drink was pulled from stores when the Food and Drug Administration decreed that Cocaine "was illegally marketing the drink as both a street drug alternative and a dietary supplement". Eventually Cocaine was forced to rebrand, opting instead for the salubrious monicker, “No Name”.
1. New Coke!
By the mid-80s, Coke had lost ground to its rival, Pepsi. Coke’s own formula hadn’t changed since the days of Doc. Pemberton while blind taste tests suggested that customers preferred Pepsi’s sugary aftertaste. To ensure Coke stayed relevant, the company introduced “New Coke”, which was greeted by hate mail, protests, boycotts and public street pourings. Three months later, Coke capitulated and reintroduced the hundred-year-old formula. Things go better with (classic) Coke.