• 04.01.10

Remember: When Bad Products Happen to Big Companies

Twenty-five years ago today, Coca-Cola execs tried to give their flagging brand a lift by replacing the original drink with New Coke. Turns out people preferred the old taste, and the reformulated soda quickly lost its fizz. Here’s a look at other product launches that got lots of buzz — and majorly flopped.

Remember: When Bad Products Happen to Big Companies

Apple Newton

(1993, Estimated development cost in 2010 dollars: $1.5 billion) It’s no iPad. Apple’s first handheld computer was announced two years before its launch date. The result: a rushed, buggy product.



(1975, $400 million) Sony’s Betamax beat VHS to market and in picture quality, but its tapes held only 60 minutes of playback. Um, an hour does not a movie make, Sony.


(1957, $2.2 billion) Overhyped as the “car of the future” and unveiled on “E-Day,” the pucker-faced Edsel attracted curious drivers but very few buyers.

McDonald’s Arch Deluxe

(1996, $350 million) Aimed at more sophisticated palates, the burger featured a new “secret sauce” of mustard and mayo and a weird round slab of bacon. Nonfancy marketing move? One-dollar coupons and commercials of kids calling it “yucky.”

New Coke

(1985, $200 million) Infuriated Cokeheads had to whine and wait only 79 days before the original Coke was reintroduced.