WebTV offered consumers Internet connection through their television sets in the mid-1990s. A Cable World article by Andrea Figler describes it this way: The service grew quickly at first, attracting mainstream users that typically were not comfortable with computer technology. But to WebTV’s dismay, they became the dreaded consumer: a customer who failed to produce new revenue streams but insisted on creating expensive customer service problems. So Microsoft which bought WebTV in 1997, scrapped the brand. It never passed the one-million-subscriber mark.
If you’re one of the most popular beer brands in the world, it’s a pretty safe bet that even your most loyal consumers would not be interested in buying bottled water from you. Case in point — Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water. Spring water from the Rocky Mountains is indeed used during the brewing process of some Coors products. However, when bottled alone, it’s missing the key ingredient, alcohol. Apparently Coors customers just weren’t that into buying water when it wasn’t enhanced by additional ingredients like barley and yeast.
One of the most bizarre brand tie-ins ever was when Colgate decided to use its name on a range of food products called Colgate’s Kitchen Entrees. Needless to say, the products did not take off. The idea must have been that consumers would eat their Colgate meal, then brush their teeth with Colgate toothpaste. The trouble was that for most people the name Colgate does not exactly get their taste buds tingling.
Frito Lay Lemonade might seem like a good idea. Eating salty corn chips makes you thirsty, and lemonade can cure that thirst. Unfortunately, when people think Fritos, “thirst-quenching” is not an adjective that comes to mind. Therefore, Frito Lay’s “logical” brand extension turned out to not be so logical after all.
People tend to pamper their pets, so it’s not too far-fetched to believe consumers might serve bottled water to their cats and dogs. At least that’s what the makers of Thirsty Cat! and Thirsty Dog! apparently believed. But despite the fact that the water came in such delicious flavors as Crispy Beef and Tangy Fish, it never seemed to catch on. Go figure.
The way Maxwell House described its ready-to-drink coffee sounded appealing enough. It was “a convenient new way to enjoy the rich taste of Maxwell House Coffee.” Just one problem. The coffee could not be microwaved in its original container, virtually canceling out any “convenience” it may have offered. If you can pour the “ready-to-drink” coffee into a mug and microwave it, you can certainly pour yourself a mug of coffee from a coffeemaker. And that’s just what consumers continued to do.
In the 1970s and early 80s, Coke began to face stiff competition from other soft drink producers. To remain in the number one spot, Coke executives decided to cease production of the classic cola in favor of New Coke. The public was outraged, and Coca-Cola was forced to re-launch its original formula almost immediately. Lesson learned — don’t mess with success.