HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Brand Failures

After reading the topic Brands that have not changed over the years I began to think of products under a brand that flopped: Cheeseburger Doritos and Purple Heinz ketchup come to mind.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Crystal Pepsi is the first and biggest that comes to mind. I grew up near a bottling plant, so the hype in the surrounding area was unbelievable. Also, Pudding Roll-Ups, even though I kinda liked them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: theferlyone

      I actually loved Crystal Pepsi and was disappointed when they stopped making it. I also enjoyed the Holiday Spice they had out about 5 years ago at Christmas. I stockpiled it while I could get it.

      02putt, my children would beg for the Cheeseburger Doritoes and I liked them better than some varieties.

    2. New Coke... can't think of anything that was a bigger marketing travesty.

      5 Replies
      1. re: iluvcookies

        'New Coke' was one of the greatest marketing campaigns in history. Coca Cola had millions of people demanding they bring back 'classic' Coke so they did and they had one of the biggest sales increases in company history. More han 25 years later, people are still talking about it. If they somehow could have anticipated the reaction, they still would have introduced New Coke.

        1. re: John E.

          Good point... though the actual product was a failure.
          Perhaps I haven't given Coca Cola the credit they deserve for such a smart move.

          1. re: iluvcookies

            Coke had lost a little market share to Pepsi at that time so they took the drastic step to sweeten Coca Cola, to make it taste more like Pepsi. I remember buying a six-pack of Coke in cans so I would have some of the old stuff. I dropped it in the parking lot and a couple came open and were squirting and the rest were dented. I just drank the damn stuff.

            1. re: John E.

              Coke became sweeter because that was when they switched from sugar to corn syrup...

              1. re: jlbwendt

                They actually switched to corn syrup BEFORE the New Coke thing happened.

      2. The Tropicana carton re-design debacle. $35 million and no focus groups to determine how consumers would feel about it. When they objected loudly, Pepsi Co. had to backpedal and bring back the old packaging.


        5 Replies
        1. re: Pedr0

          as far as failed packaging redesigns go, i'm not sure anyone can trump Sun Chips:

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            "The company is returning them to their former bags that can't be recycled — but won't wake the neighbors — while it works frantically to come up with a new, quieter eco-friendly bag."

            They might try using a "paper" bag. I've heard they're recyclable...

            1. re: Pedr0

              ha! i know, it's rocket science, right?

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Getting the chips out of those bags quietly was like trying to unwrap a piece of candy quietly during the sermon at church so your kids don't notice.

            3. re: Pedr0

              I loved the little orange as a cap, it was SO cute.

            4. I remember back at some point here in Canada that Hostess chips put out a bunch of fruit flavored varieties.

              2 Replies
              1. re: im_nomad

                Egad, I had forgotten (blocked?) those fruit flavours but just had a flashback to cherry chips...

                1. re: grayelf

                  I don't remember that one and am glad I don't ;P

              2. Does anyone remember clear Pepsi?

                2 Replies
                1. re: enbell

                  Yep... that's the Crystal Pepsi mentioned above.
                  Snapple also had a line of sodas that included a clear cola, which I happened to like. Not sure if the Snapple sodas were considered a true failure or just abandoned in favor of the teas/juice drinks, but I sure do miss them.

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    Every time I struggle to wash a purple stain off the counter, I wish those drinks were clear.

                2. "Purple Heinz ketchup"

                  Was the green stuff also Heinz?

                  6 Replies
                    1. re: enbell

                      yes there was green ketchup....i am sorry to admit it but i bought it!!

                    2. re: OldDog

                      Yes it was and I will let you use your imagine as to what it looked like. The only reason I bought the purple stuff was because my daughter was a toddler at the time and was a Barney fanatic. The whole bottle went in the garbage!

                      1. re: 02putt

                        You know it did taste the same as regular Heinz ketchup, but the color thing was a little hard to get past. I only tried the green stuff. I think Heinz though they might have a whole new market for kids when they first put it out. I suppose even kids can have a discriminating eye.

                        1. re: 02putt

                          Didn't Jimi Hendrix have a hit song called Purple Heinz?

                          1. re: Tripeler

                            I think you are confusing Jimi Hendrix with Prince Rogers Nelson.

                      2. "Tunies" were tuna fish hot dogs marketed to those observing the No Meat on Fridays rule of the Catholic Church in the early 60s. They were simply awful and disappeared, dying the death they deserved.

                        1. Don't know who wuz smokin' what in the Jimmy Dean head office, but a chocolate chip pancake, sausage on a stick thing was waaaay to wierd!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: hypomyces

                            They didn't help sales with the color green on the box. It makes it look like it's mint chocolate chip. My aunt made us chocolate chip pancakes once and they were good.

                            1. re: John E.

                              We used to get the pancake sausage on a stick for breakfast at school. I haven't had them in a long time. I don't know about the chocolate chip ones but my family likes chocolate chip pancakes.

                            2. re: hypomyces

                              I want some of what that person was on!

                              1. re: hypomyces

                                That honestly sounds like something I would enjoy, hahaha.

                              2. Domino's
                                • Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
                                • Oreo Pizza
                                • Bacon Cheeseburger Feast Pizza
                                • Philly Cheese Steak Pizza


                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Pedr0

                                  California Pizza Kitchen has a line of frozen flatbreads/pizzas/whatever. One of them is a cheese steak thing and the smell of it indeed almost made me barf.

                                  1. re: Pedr0

                                    We actually tried the cheese steak pizza. Not good. And now they've got the new improved sauce, which we think is ghastly.

                                    1. re: Plano Rose

                                      I like the kick to their sauce. And, given the positive response to their recent (well, somewhat) changes, it's far from a flop.

                                    2. re: Pedr0

                                      i just saw an ad for Domino's new line of *chicken* offerings, and all i could think was that they've been at it for more than 50 years and STILL haven't figured out how to get pizza right...now they're gonna screw up chicken too?

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Domino's "Chicken Chef" has good reason to be worried about the ability of customers to rate the chicken on the box. He could be Mario Batali, but by the time the chicken gets to the ultimate consumer, it's likely going to blow.

                                    3. Does anyone remember "Chicken By George"? They were chicken breasts cooked personally by former Miss America, Phyllis George or something and they came in all sorts of flavors. I remember coming home from high school (so it must have been the late 80's or very early 90's) popping one of those things in the microwave and making nice sandwiches out of them. My Mom used to get kind of pissed cause they were kind of expensive. I might buy them occasionally today if they were still around.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: LorenM

                                        Hormel bought Chicken by George in 1988. I don't know when they stopped using the name but I know they sell products similar to it.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          I looked around. If I recall correctly (which I may not be) they were raw, thin chicken breasts that were marinated and seasoned. I looked on Hormel's website and they have some cooked turkey stuff but nothing similar. They were vacuum packed. I think even the directions said "Not recommended for microwave" but I used to poke a couple holes in the package and nuke away. Throw them on some Roman Meal with some cheddar for an after school snack. Yummy! Can I make better ones now? Of course , but I sure liked 'em a lot and it was nice to have 4 or 5 different flavors to choose from at any given time.

                                      2. There was for a while a canned lunch meat product (like Spam) sold in Canadian dollar stores; it was "Holiday" brand. Sounds fairly innocuous, yes?

                                        Unfortunately, they decided to brand the lunch meat with that icon of Canadiana...the RCMP Musical Ride. So the product was called "Holiday Meat", with a picture of a horse's head on the front of the can. Wrong message. Although come to think of it; God only knows what kind of meat was actually in that can.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: SherBel

                                          I know quite a few Mounties (a couple of which did the Musical Ride). I'm going to look in my buck store for it. What a hilarious gag gift!

                                        2. Remember "I feel like Chicken Tonight" That disgusting sweet jarred sauce you poured over chicken? Yuck!

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                            that came to mind for me when Chicken By George was mentioned - i think it was around the same time. but would you believe that Chicken Tonight crap is still around, *and* they also make Beef Tonight?! blurgh.

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Is it still in American grocery stores? Thankfully, I was only subjected to it a couple of times. Here's the Wikipedia entry on the subject.

                                              The American version of the product quickly failed; however, it is still sold in Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, where there exist spin-off products such as "Beef Tonight", and more recently "Sausages Tonight".

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Based on another thread, they should try Tofu Tonight. At least it's alliterative.

                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                  Anyone who likes to eat tofu (myself included) would never put that nasty stuff on it.

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  ROTFLMAO... Rubber chicken porn... only on YouTube. o.O

                                              2. I just saw TastyKake Brownie Kandy Kakes the other day. I think I predict Brand Failure for them! I didn't try them, but looking at them, they are simply a brownie covered in that thin layer of chocolate. No peanut butter layer - no nothing. I would think either a peanut butter layer or a fudge layer (or heck - even a mint layer) would make them more appealing.

                                                I LOVE the regular Kandy Kakes (and the dark chocolate ones)...

                                                1. There were things called pretzel Flipz that launched in the UK and bombed massively. They were chocolate covered pretzels, and I think they're quite popular in the US?

                                                  I wasn't a fan, I like my pretzels pretzelly and my chocolate not, thank you very much!

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: Isobel_A

                                                    While I've seen them, I have never had Pretzel Flipz. I couldn't say how popular they are without seeing sales figures, so I would have to guess they may have steady sales but not necessarily steadily increasing. It does look like a product my family would enjoy however.

                                                    I still miss Juicefuls. I wish they would either make them and sell them or sell the product line to someone who will.

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      I love Flipz!!! I love the salty/sweet combo--also love chocolate and peanut butter. I did try the white chocolate Flipz but they were just way too sweet.
                                                      When my son was first starting to eat baby cereal (1992), Gerber had a line of baby cereals that were flavored with mango, papaya, and guava. He loved them. When my daughter came around a couple of years later, I looked for them again but Gerber had stopped making them.

                                                      1. re: monica1020

                                                        I have recently discovered sea salt chocolate, which I love so I do get the salty/sweet thing. I think I'm just a pretzel purist and not much of a fan of chocolate (except very dark choc).

                                                        I do like chocolate and peanut butter, though.

                                                        1. re: monica1020

                                                          I love Flipz too. Even better, though, is the Take 5 bar - ever tried that one?

                                                          1. re: jbsiegel

                                                            I like the Take 5 bar too. Have you ever made them at home? It's kind of a candy shortcut that one of my kids came across at a friend's house. Take some mini pretzels, spread them on a plate, put a Rolo on each and microwave for about 10 - 15 seconds, just until the Rolo gets soft. Then put a cashew, almond or other kind of nut on top of the Rolo and press down. They taste pretty good.

                                                      2. re: Isobel_A

                                                        They are very popular in Japan, where they are called Pretz. They come in tons of different coverings besides chocolate.

                                                      3. i remember the colored ketchup. they were soooooo gross. parents bought it & wouldnt let me use the regular ketchup until i tried the nasty green stuff. i swear it tasted differently & has scared me for life :)

                                                        1. Kudo's I used to love the chocolate and peanut butter bars. I remember when they first came out in 1988. I was in 3rd Grade. Also those Chicken By Georges been eating those when they first came out. My mom didn't like the fact they were like $6.99 each at HEB. Those got discontinued in 1988. Found them again at Rice Epicurean down in Houston in 2001. Don't know if the Chicken by George is still around though. As for the Kudo's bars they discontinued them in 2007. 1 year after Wesson stopped producing Sunflower Oil. I used to also eat Quaker Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal with a half a stick of Fleishmann's margarine. Back then they used liquid corn oil, for that great flavor. But they got cheap at ConAgra and replaced the corn oil with soybean oil in 2008, and the taste is not the same. Haven't but Fleishmann's margarine since.

                                                          I know back in 1993 they had a reduced fat version of that margarine, some guy came to our house and let us to a test of the new product before it came out to our shelves. We baked cookies with the reduced fat version of the margarine and the original margarine. Needless to say we liked the original

                                                          Remember those chocolate fruit roll ups circa 1989?
                                                          They also had butterscotch. I liked those as well. It flopped a year later.

                                                          I miss the Kraft Parmesan cheese that was in the can not the cheap plastic. You could taste the difference.

                                                          Then it comes to Tropicana orange juice, they got rid of the 64 fl oz card board and replaced it with plastic 59 fl oz bottles back in 2008.

                                                          Then there was the Little Caesars attempt at Big Foot Pizza back then they used quality ingredients back in 1993. Now a days since 2006 it tastes like cardboard with grease.

                                                          Pizza Hut soon followed the cheapness and lack of quality in 2012.

                                                          Then you had the no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies at WalMart back in 2001 discontinued 2 years later. They were so good.

                                                          Here is another product that flopped, Tostitos Hot Salsa. Now they only have medium. It took them a while to get rid of the wussy mild.

                                                          Pace used to have the Extra Mild Salsa (might as well eat ketchup)

                                                          Ever since they taken the animal shortening out of the Oreo's in the late late 80's they never taste the same.

                                                          The same with McDonald's. Their fries and chicken McNuggets now taste awful. They need to bring back the Shortening and Tallow if I wanted healthy, I would go to a health spa, thank you very much.

                                                          Never touched a vegetable before in my life, and I am not fat believe it or not.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: willdav713

                                                            I still buy that wussy mild Tostitos salsa...

                                                            1. re: jbsiegel

                                                              They have mild here too, I have to be careful when shopping because they look exactly the same.

                                                            2. re: willdav713

                                                              Oh funny. I was part of the brand development team that introduced Kudos Bars to the market (in 1986). We researched the market opportunity for years before launching them. They are still available with limited distribution, but the flavors are now Kudos with M&M's, Kudos with Dove and Kudos with Snickers.