HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Are you making a specialty food? Tell us about it

Brand Failures

02putt Mar 11, 2011 08:17 PM

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. m
    Maggie Larkin Mar 24, 2011 06:26 AM

    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. i
      Isobel_A Mar 23, 2011 06:39 AM

      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!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Isobel_A
        John E. Mar 23, 2011 09:31 AM

        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.
          monica1020 Mar 23, 2011 09:54 AM

          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
            Isobel_A Mar 23, 2011 09:57 AM

            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
              jbsiegel Mar 23, 2011 12:12 PM

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

              1. re: jbsiegel
                John E. Mar 23, 2011 06:02 PM

                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. j
          jbsiegel Mar 21, 2011 11:57 AM

          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. g
            gryphonskeeper Mar 21, 2011 05:15 AM

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

            6 Replies
            1. re: gryphonskeeper
              goodhealthgourmet Mar 21, 2011 08:42 AM

              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
                John E. Mar 21, 2011 10:03 AM

                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
                  Bob W Mar 21, 2011 11:41 AM

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

                  1. re: Bob W
                    gryphonskeeper Mar 21, 2011 02:50 PM

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

                2. re: gryphonskeeper
                  John E. Mar 21, 2011 06:25 PM

                  Here's another memory for you:


                  1. re: John E.
                    gryphonskeeper Mar 22, 2011 04:45 PM

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

                3. s
                  SherBel Mar 19, 2011 02:41 PM

                  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
                    02putt Mar 20, 2011 10:52 PM

                    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. LorenM Mar 15, 2011 04:55 PM

                    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
                      John E. Mar 15, 2011 06:01 PM

                      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.
                        LorenM Mar 19, 2011 04:42 PM

                        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. Pedr0 Mar 14, 2011 09:39 AM

                      • Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
                      • Oreo Pizza
                      • Bacon Cheeseburger Feast Pizza
                      • Philly Cheese Steak Pizza


                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Pedr0
                        Bob W Mar 14, 2011 10:47 AM

                        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
                          Plano Rose Mar 15, 2011 02:28 PM

                          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
                            ediblover Mar 15, 2011 04:24 PM

                            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
                            goodhealthgourmet Mar 15, 2011 03:29 PM

                            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
                              Bob W Mar 21, 2011 11:40 AM

                              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. hypomyces Mar 13, 2011 06:54 PM

                            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
                              John E. Mar 13, 2011 07:42 PM

                              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.
                                alliedawn_98 Mar 14, 2011 09:59 AM

                                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
                                02putt Mar 18, 2011 08:48 PM

                                I want some of what that person was on!

                                1. re: hypomyces
                                  nafrate Mar 20, 2011 11:35 PM

                                  That honestly sounds like something I would enjoy, hahaha.

                                2. s
                                  Sherri Mar 13, 2011 06:48 AM

                                  "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. OldDog Mar 12, 2011 08:59 PM

                                    "Purple Heinz ketchup"

                                    Was the green stuff also Heinz?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: OldDog
                                      enbell Mar 12, 2011 09:13 PM

                                      I think so

                                      1. re: enbell
                                        bermudagourmetgoddess Mar 14, 2011 08:46 AM

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

                                      2. re: OldDog
                                        02putt Mar 18, 2011 08:47 PM

                                        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
                                          John E. Mar 18, 2011 09:24 PM

                                          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.

                                      3. enbell Mar 12, 2011 07:55 PM

                                        Does anyone remember clear Pepsi?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: enbell
                                          iluvcookies Mar 13, 2011 06:19 AM

                                          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
                                            GraydonCarter Mar 13, 2011 06:34 PM

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

                                        2. im_nomad Mar 12, 2011 09:54 AM

                                          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
                                            grayelf Mar 12, 2011 07:58 PM

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

                                            1. re: grayelf
                                              02putt Mar 18, 2011 08:45 PM

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

                                          2. Pedr0 Mar 12, 2011 09:40 AM

                                            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.


                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Pedr0
                                              goodhealthgourmet Mar 13, 2011 10:22 PM

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

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                Pedr0 Mar 14, 2011 09:26 AM

                                                "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
                                                  goodhealthgourmet Mar 14, 2011 10:08 AM

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

                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                  John E. Mar 14, 2011 10:49 AM

                                                  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.

                                              2. iluvcookies Mar 12, 2011 09:21 AM

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

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: iluvcookies
                                                  John E. Mar 12, 2011 07:28 PM

                                                  '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.
                                                    iluvcookies Mar 13, 2011 06:16 AM

                                                    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
                                                      John E. Mar 13, 2011 07:34 AM

                                                      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.
                                                        jlbwendt Mar 13, 2011 09:53 PM

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

                                                        1. re: jlbwendt
                                                          John E. Mar 14, 2011 09:50 AM

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

                                                2. theferlyone Mar 11, 2011 08:51 PM

                                                  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
                                                    alliedawn_98 Mar 14, 2011 09:55 AM

                                                    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.

                                                  Show Hidden Posts