Archive for the ‘Bad Concepts’ Category

Harley Davidson has a powerful image that is deeply engrained into the American psyche. You think of the company, and you imagine a manly biker dressed in a black leather vest riding down a stretch of open road, the wind blowing through his hair, tattoos on his arms, a shotgun by his side, and “Born to be Wild” blaring loudly in the background. You usually don’t think of majestic fragrances to dab upon your neck before picking up some flowers and going out on a date.

That didn’t stop Harley Davidson from releasing a perfume line to the masses. They believed that their brand name would be sufficient to draw in customers, failing to grasp that most people *didn’t* want to smell like a biker who’s been chased by the police for three days. Nor did the bikers have any strong urge to pretty themselves up for Rhonda the chain-smoking cocktail waitress. As such, sales were pretty horrible, and the product line was discontinued. You can still find bottles of it on Ebay, but it might be simpler to just stop showering altogether.


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Digital Video Express was a calculated attempt by Circuit City (now deceased) to replace conventional DVD players in most people’s home. The basic idea was this: a person would purchase a copy of the movie ‘Kazaam’ for, let’s say, four dollars. Once the movie was placed inside the player, they could watch it for 48 hours, after of which it would threaten to self-destruct unless they paid a continuation fee. This would grant them another 48 hours. The whole concept of “ownership” and “buying a movie so you don’t have to go out and get it again and again and again” were thrown completely out the window.

Circuit City tried to tout this as a good thing, because there would be no returns or late fees, but they overlooked the fact that this wasn’t intended to replace rentals, but purchases. Suffice it to say, the general public wasn’t buying, and the product was discontinued a mere six months after release. Short-sighted customers were given a $100 refund on their systems, and the hordes of unsold discs were consigned to a land fill. The concept was bad from the start, but that didn’t stop corporate executives from spending $114 million on the unfortunate experiment.

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Most modern beers are designed around such factors as taste, brewing technique, and the quality and origin of the hops. Billy Beer was based upon Jimmy Carter’s younger brother. Famous for once urinating in an airport full of press and foreign dignitaries, he was a natural choice. The Falls City Brewing Company (based in Kentucky) made him the beer’s spokesperson and namesake, and Billy drank it eagerly in magazine advertisements and TV commercials while offering the following words of support on each cardboard box:

“I had this beer brewed for me. I think it’s the best I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve tasted a lot. I think you’ll like it too.”

Despite this powerful endorsement, sales of the product were awful, and the beer was discontinued after only a few years. The fact that Billy Carter was known to actually prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon probably didn’t help very much either. People just didn’t seem to be interested in drinking a beer that was based upon a president’s sibling, though a newspaper advertisement would appear some time later offering to sell cans of Billy Beer for several thousands of dollars apiece. Sadly, it was a hoax, and many people lost their valuable collections of half-empty beer cans to the scam.

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