The Biggest Product Failures of All-time Quiz

By: Bambi Turner

The Biggest Product Failures of All-time Quiz
Image: Bettmann/Corbis

About This Quiz

The majority of new products disappear as quickly as they showed up, so it's no surprise that even big-name companies miss the mark at times. Take our quiz to see how much you remember about some of the biggest flubs and failures of all time.
What year did Microsoft introduce its Zune music player?
1999
2003
2006
The Zune, which Microsoft produced from 2006 to 2011, never really posed much competition for the iPod. While the Zune controlled just 2 percent of the music player market share in 2009, the iPod represented a whopping 75 percent of all music player sales around the world.

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Crystal Pepsi was caffeine-free.
TRUE
Released in 1992, the caffeine-free, clear-colored Crystal Pepsi did little but confuse cola lovers and was pulled from shelves the next year.
FALSE

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How long did New Coke last when it was introduced in 1985?
77 days
After replacing its 99-year old formula with New Coke in 1985, the company switched back to the Classic Coke recipe just 77 days later.
77 weeks
77 months

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Gerber released a line of pureed food in jars for adults in 1974.
TRUE
Deciding that single adults and college students would enjoy the ease of pureed food in a jar, Gerber released a line of products aimed at adults, but quickly discontinued the line due to poor sales.
FALSE

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What is the major reason the United States Football League failed?
It tried to compete with the NFL head-to-head.
The USFL was doing just fine running during the NFL off-season. When investor Donald Trump pushed for a switch to fall — resulting in direct competition with the NFL — the league quickly failed.
Players preferred to sign with the NFL.
It couldn't get investors.

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What company was responsible for producing Betamax?
Apple
Sony
Sony's Betamax, which was produced from 1975 to 2002, never quite caught on the way JVC's VHS system did with consumers.
JVC

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How much did McDonalds spend to advertise its Arch Deluxe?
more than $10 million
more than $100 million
McDonald's invested more than $100 million in advertising its Arch Deluxe burger to adults, but the pricey product never took off with fast food lovers.
more than $1 billion

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What was Orbitz soda famous for?
high caffeine levels
sugar-free
floating blobs of gelatin
Orbitz featured suspended blobs of gelatin, which created a lava lamp-like effect, but lasted less than a year due to its bad taste.

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How many units did Segway sell in its first two years?
10,000
After planning to sell 10,000 units per week, Segway ended up selling just 10,000 units in its first two years of operation.
100,000
1,000,000

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When did Ford release its famous Edsel — perhaps the biggest product fail of all time?
1937
1947
1957
On September 4, 1957, Ford released the Edsel to great fanfare. Just two years later, the car was discontinued and the company wrote off $250 million — around $2 billion in today's dollars.

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How long did HP produce units of its Touchpad tablet?
7 days
7 weeks
The Touchpad lasted a miserable 7 weeks before HP pulled the plug, resulting in a $3.3 billion loss for the company.
7 months

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When did Pepsi release its "morning drink" Pepsi AM?
1969
1979
1989
Pepsi AM had 28 percent more caffeine per ounce than regular Pepsi, but consumers were unimpressed and the company pulled the product a year later.

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Levi Strauss released its very own knockoff version of its high-end Levi Red line in 2002.
TRUE
The Type 1 jeans were a disaster in their own right, but also confused buyers with their wide range of prices. One pair of the jeans cost anywhere from $35 to $95, while the original Red line jeans were priced around $150 per pair.
FALSE

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What name did Frito-Lay give its line of low-fat chips, released in 1998?
WOW!
The company's WOW! Chips had little to no fat and were meant to appeal to health-conscious snackers.
YUM!
CRUNCH!

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What unwanted side effect came to buyers who consumed an excess of WOW! chips?
digestive issues
The addition of olestra made WOW! Chips lower in fat, but also led to cramps, gas, bloating and loose bowels in those who over-indulged.
excessive hair growth
weight gain

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Which company released the Newton mobile computer in 1993?
Microsoft
Apple
Apple's Newton device was a very early mobile computer. Due to poor handwriting recognition and other shortcomings, it was discontinued in 1998.
Sega

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Jell-O released a line of vegetable flavors especially for salads in the 1960s.
TRUE
In the 1960s, buyers could choose from four Jell-O vegetable flavors, including celery, mixed veggie, seasoned tomato and Italian seasoning.
FALSE

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What candy brand launched its own short-lived soda in the 1980s?
Airheads
Nerds
Life Savers
Life Savers soda turned off buyers, who didn't necessarily want to drink liquid candy.

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What was the name of the 2014 phone released by Amazon?
Fire
Just three months after its 2014 debut, Amazon charged off $170 million to cover losses associated with its failed Fire phone.
Apple
Earth

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Which toothpaste brand introduced a line of ready-to-eat meals in 1982?
Crest
Colgate
Colgate assumed that consumers would eat the company's meals then follow-up by brushing their teeth with Colgate toothpaste. They didn't.
Aquafresh

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What beer brand released its own line of spring water in 1990?
Budweiser
Guinness
Coors
Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water lasted just two years before the company pulled it off store shelves.

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How long was the battery life on Google Glass, released in 2013?
45 minutes
The original Google Glass came with a battery life of just 45 minutes, which is just one of the reasons Google discontinued sales in January 2015.
3 hours
24 hours

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McDonald's sold pizza under the name McPizza.
TRUE
FALSE
While the company did sell a failed line of pizzas starting in 1989, the product quickly disappeared and was never actually named the McPizza.

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What was the name of Apple's failed 1996 video game console?
Lisa
iGamer
Pippin
Released in August 1996, the Apple Pippin is rumored to have sold just 42,000 units in total.

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Hershey's Swoops were chocolate-coated potato chips.
TRUE
FALSE
This 2003 Hershey product resembled potato chips, but were entirely made of chocolate, with no chips involved.

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Clairol released a product called "Touch of Yogurt Shampoo" in the late 1970s.
TRUE
This product meant confusion for consumers, who weren't sure whether to wash their hair or pick up a spoon. Clairol soon discontinued the product.
FALSE

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What was the name of Google's alternative to the "Second Life" game?
Voyager
Simulator
Lively
Google Lively, an online role-playing game, lasted just a few months before the company pulled the plug in 2009.

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What percentage of new retail products exceed $7.5 million in sales — a modest benchmark — in their first year?
25 percent
Just 25 percent of new products sell in excess of $7.5 million the first year.
50 percent
75 percent

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How many standard items does the average household regularly buy?
185
The average household buys just 185 standard products, making it difficult for manufacturers to sell them anything new.
585
985

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How many new products sell in excess of $50 million in their first year?
3 percent
Just 3 percent of products sell in excess of $50 million their first year, while the vast majority sell much less, and a large number fail completely.
11 percent
20 percent

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You Got:
/30
Bettmann/Corbis

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