Innovative Thinking – Failure Continues – Blog 011

The Failure Continues

Here are two more quick examples of failure from companies and products you are familiar with.


How about WD40.  It stands for Water Displacement, 40th Formulation attempt.  It was invented during World War II when the military was looking for a way to keep wires and other parts dry and water-free, but not use a petroleum product that would  corrode or eat through the wires.

Did you know that WD40 is made with fish oil and is edible? Angry Birds

How about Angry Birds?  did you know how much that that little app was worth?

Rovio’s company valuation in 2012 was around $210 million, but its real valuation is probably better assessed from a rejected buyout offer from Zynga for $2.25 billion.  Their IPO valuation is set at $2 billion dollars.  Their animated film based on Rovio’s Angry Birds has earned around $150 million in global ticket sales alone.

Angry Birds was the 52nd game Rovio created.  See…  Preparation, Opportunity, but you need the Luck Lightning?

Line Extensions That Failed

It seems like every major company (and individuals) have had their share of failures. 

Let’s take a look at a few more epic failures by the brands we know and love.

  • Fruit of the Loom laundry detergent

We’ll make them, you stain them, we’ll clean them (my slogan not their’s.)

  • Kleenex Baby Diapers

We’ll wipe both ends.  (Not their slogan, again.)

  • Heinz Cleaning Vinegar

We can clean up anything you ate. (mine.)

  • Vaseline Suntan Lotion

When you thinking sun and sand, your thinking being covered in Vaseline (yep, not theirs.)

  • Gillette Antiperspirant

We’ll keep them hairless and smelling fresh. (Armpits…)

  • Harley-Davidson Wine Coolers

(I don’t even know where to begin with this one…  Harley-Wine-Coolers?  really!)

These are all real brand extensions.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Sometimes when an idea fails, it’s just a bad idea.  Not all ideas are good ideas.  It’s up to us to be able to distingue the difference and not invest any more time or money into ideas that will never work.  Good luck knowing the difference.

Then friggin’ “Pet Rocks” come along and throws all that out the window.  Sometimes there’s just no telling what will be a success.

(In 1975, advertising executive Gary Dahl invented the Pet Rock  and Dahl sold 1.5 million Pet Rocks for $3.95 each, with discounts earned him $15 million dollars)

Lon Safko
Serial Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Innovative Thinking

Tags: innovative thinking, creative, creative thinking, Innovation, critical thinking definition, innovation definition, critical thinking skills, creative process

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