Innovation is essential in the business world. For example, consider a former tractor manufacturer that switched to sports cars. That would be Lamborghini. Then there’s the entertainment company that used to make playing cards and switched to video games. That would be Nintendo. Unfortunately, for every successful pivot, there are many terrible missteps.
6. Cheetos-Flavored Lip Balm
Flavored lip balm has been around forever. It’s basically wax you spread on your lips. So it might as well taste like something, right? That’s what led to Cherry Chapstick, and a number of other pleasant flavors. But then there was Cheetos-flavored lip balm.
In 2005, lip balm manufacturer Lotta Luv gave this a try. Lip wax that tastes like food is their specialty. Some of their “flavors,” like bubble gum, make perfect sense. But according to a customer review, this little experiment “smells like moldy cheese.” It disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared. We imagine if you want to kiss some Cheetos-flavored lips, there should be an ample supply awaiting on the other side of the shutdown.
5. Zippo Lighter Fluid Perfume
Zippo brand perfume came in a little lighter-shaped bottle and was called Zippo the Woman. Whether or not it contained any butane isn’t known. If nothing else, the name gives it the benefit of sounding like both a fragrance and a circus attraction.
Most perfumes are just named for an abstract idea, as in, “Yes, Chanel, I agree this is what the number 5 could smell like.” But here, the bottle is to smell like a fluid that can kill you if you sniff too much of it.
Strangely, disposable lighter brand Bic also went this route by producing several different fragrances, designated by color. They were serious – in 1988, they released 16 varieties. Yes, they put them in little lighter bottles, so you knew that this Bic fragrance smelled nothing like razors or ink pens.
It was sold in pocket-sized bottles at $5 and it was enabling them to call it a “Fine French perfume that’s affordable.” While it was discontinued in the USA in 1991, it is still available in Iran. It is probably being exported as some kind of punishment.
4. Holiday-Flavored Pringles
As you are no doubt aware, the last 3 months of the year sees a major pumpkin flavor and peppermint dust craze. Some Starbucks worshippers only go there for peppermint mocha when the weather gets cold. Pumpkin Spice clothing is about the only place the spice hasn’t gone. However, the Pringles family’s children felt left out. They would sit solemnly beside the 18-foot-tall bay windows of their mansion and lament their holiday-neutral brand. How can you dress up potato chips for Christmas morning?
By going crazy, of course. Going crazy produced White Chocolate Peppermint, Pumpkin Pie Spice, and Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles during the 2012 holiday season.
A review of the White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles remarked, “It tastes similar to cocoa with a little shot of peppermint in it, inside a mug made from a raw potato.” Some may wonder if Santa intends to bring them back this year, and what would need to be done to talk him out of it.
3. Cap’n Crunch Ship Shake
Cereal cult mascot Cap’n Horatio Magellan Crunch has been around for more than half a century, so he should know numerous things about what people want out of their cereal. But in 1966, Quaker Oats decided what the world really wanted was Cap’n Crunch’s Ship Shake. Apparently, they missed the legions of people that were frustrated by the regular cereal turning into a puree if they didn’t eat it fast enough.
Quaker Oats even tried to market it as a healthy option to the regular stuff. They even claimed a cup of Ship Shake was as healthy as a bowl of oatmeal, if prepared as directed. Plus, if you’re throwing a party, you can invite the hard-drinking naval officer AND the hyper-religious teetotaler.
It came in flavors like butterscotch and chocolate. The parents who actually had to pay for it were skeptical. But it did provide a preview of what your meals might look like when the doctor is forced to wire your jaw shut as a last-ditch effort to make you lose weight.
2. Sylvester Stallone Pudding
Sylvester Stallone has his name on a lot of terrible things. Not enough, apparently. He created what has to be the slowest way to get protein – a protein pudding.
Protein shakes don’t have a great rep. Most see them as something you quickly plow through before a workout, doing so as fast as possible to get the agony over with. But Stallone decided to put the stuff into a pudding that you could methodically eat with a spoon, to really savor the awfulness.
Incredibly enough, someone claimed that Stallone stole his pudding recipe from him, starting a legal war. This sounds like the dream of a severely sleep-deprived insomniac. Considering that you can make your own protein pudding by just adding a mere chunk of the volume of milk or water you normally do to your protein powder, we’re not sure what the fight is about.
1. Vegetable Jell-O (for Salads!)
Who doesn’t appreciate Jell-O? This wiggling block of some vaguely sugar-flavored substance is or was part of everyone’s childhood. Why would anyone change it?
Well, in the 1960s the Jell-O people got cocky and tried to convince the world that Jell-O should be on the menu in every American home with bold, new flavors. New savory varieties included mixed vegetable, celery, seasoned tomato, and Italian. In an attempt to save you the trouble of figuring out how to best utilize this new vegetable-inspired gelatin, they wrote a cookbook. Some of these mouth-watering recipes featured seafood, and had to have created some of the most marvellous bowel movements in human history.
It was very short-lived. Why? Well, while it is a fun dessert, very few people were comfortable with seeing their daily allotment of vegetables wiggle in a bowl.