Overhyped Products That Completely Flopped In The Past 20 Years


Just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean it will play out well on the consumer circuit.

Take for example Four Loko. Mixing caffeine and alcohol was perfect to market to college kids. But unfortunately, Four Loko was too dangerous, and caused hospital visits and even death.

But Four Loko wasn’t the only product that had a quick rise and fall, over the past 20 years, companies have produced some questionable products that left the shelves as quickly as they arrived.

Other big flops include “the future of walking” and “the future of email.”


The Pippin was Apple's only attempt of designing a gaming console and it is easy to understand why. With disappointing sales, the product was discontinued less than two years after its launch.

In 1995, the Piipin -- Apple designed and Bandai produced -- cost nearly $600 and was suppose to be a gaming console that functioned as a network computer.

The demise of the product came quickly after it couldn't compete with other gaming devices already dominating the market such as PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn.

The McDonald's Arch Deluxe

The McDonald's Arch Deluxe was marketed as a 'burger with grown-up taste.'

In 1996, the burger was marketed to adults as a more sophisticated burger, a burger with peppercorn bacon, served on a potato flour sesame seed bun, with lettuce, onion, tomato, cheese and a secret mustard and mayonnaise sauce.

The $100 million ad campaign quickly failed, as most people go to McDonald's for speed, and reliability, not gourmet meals.


Digital Video Express, or DIVX, was a video rental alternative created by the electronics retailer Circuit City. The promising idea became a reality in 1998 and died a short year later.

The idea brewed as a backlash to video rental giants such as Blockbuster. Circuit City would provide the players and DIVX discs -- which would cost approximately $4 in contrast to the standard DVD's $30. Once viewed, the DIVX would have 48 hours before 'expiring.' Customers could then throw away the discs or recharge it for additional fees.

But privacy issues were a concern and Circuit City was having a hard time persuading studios to release films on the DIVX format.

After it flopped, Circuit City announced it would give consumers $100 rebates on their DIVX players.


At the turn of the century, the XFL was suppose to be a great joint venture between NBC and the World Wrestling Federation featuring a professional American football league that played during NFL's offseason.

Formerly founded by Vince McMahon, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of WWE, the XFL suffered from low ratings and played for only one season. Similar to professional wrestling, suspicions circulated that the XFL was also rigged.

Levi's Type 1 Jeans

In the early 2000s, Levi's debuted the Type 1 jeans and aired an expensive Super Bowl commercial to go with it. The jeans features oversized rivets and buttons, bold stitching, and an accentuated red tab. The look never caught on (nor did it find a target audience) and Levi's quit making the jeans soon thereafter.

Heinz EZ Squirt

In 2000, Heinz entered the new millennium by introducing EZ Squirt ketchup. Purple and green ketchup in a fun-shaped bottle. Instead of kids eating the idea up (both literally and figuratively), the move backfired as Heinz discovered humans don't share a penchant for eating food covered in purple or green goop.

iSmell by Digiscents

Scent is the strongest scent tied to memory, so in 2001, Digiscents thought tying scent to computers would be a huge hit. The idea was when someone opened a webpage, or email, if they had the iSmell USB plugged in, a smell would be emitted.

Not surprisingly, the idea never made it out of its prototype stage.

Pontiac Aztek

The first 'crossover' SUV from General Motors, this ugly car debuted in 2001 and was in production until 2005.

Time magazine called it one of the ugliest cars of all time. Whoever designed it must have left their child's Fisher Price toys lying on the stove, because that's clearly where they drew inspiration from.


In the mid-2000s, a war broke out between Toshiba's HD DVD and Sony's Blu-ray. The winner quickly proved to be Sony.

The HD DVD player came out several months before the Blu-ray with good reviews and ratings. Then Sony's Playstation 3 -- doubling as a Blu-ray disc player -- launched a couple of months later and the demise of the HD DVD came shortly after.

After announcing they would discontinue production in 2008, Toshiba promised to provide service and product support to existing HD DVD players.

Cocaine Energy Drink

In the middle of the 2000s energy drink craze, one company decided to name their drink of choice after the popular (and illegal) stimulant. Almost overnight, outraged parents began a media blitzkrieg, calling for a ban of the drink. Some places, New York included, banned the drink outright with the FDA doing the same thing.

Four Loko

Since its debut in 2005, the line of caffeinated alcoholic drinks has been the focus of health concerns.

In 2009, an investigation probed the ethicality of four lokos' advertisements intended for a younger audience. The next year, some universities began to ban the drink after students became ill after consuming the product.

Many state liquor control boards have banned the product.

Now, Four Loko is produced without Guarana, Taurine, or Caffeine.

Breathable Insulin

In 2006, drug companies thought they had a device that would make the life of diabetics much easier.

The inhaler was the size of a can of shaving cream and on top of that annoyance, you had to truly breath in the insulin. If you got any on your tongue or swallowed it, it wouldn't work. As such, needles still rule the day.

iPod Hi-Fi

In 2006, Apple created one of its few products that wasn't a smash hit. Essentially, the iPod Hi-Fi was an overpriced stereo/iPod dock for your living room. While reviewers claimed it had decent sound, the price tag ($349) was too much for an iPod-only stereo. Apple sold the device for only a year and a half before discontinuing it.

Sony Mylo

In 2006, Sony produced a device called Mylo. It was a handheld all-in-one media device of sorts. You could browse the web, make VOIP calls, and watch videos. What seemed like a great idea (and still does), just wasn't executed properly.

Sony didn't have a good distribution deal lined up, meaning stores like Best Buy and Target didn't carry the device. Despite a device refresh in 2009, nobody bought it causing Sony to abandon the project entirely.

Phantom Lapboard

Infinium Labs (now Phantom Entertainment) once promised the Phantom game console. It would essentially be a computer connected to the internet and hooked up to your TV. Games would then be downloaded on demand rather than purchased at a store.

After years of delays, the project was canned and the only thing to emerge was the lapboard, a stupid-looking, obtuse wireless keyboard that you'd use while sitting on the couch. By the time it was released in the late 2000s, no one cared.

Palm Foleo

In May 2007, Palm, Inc -- makers of the Treo smartphone -- announced the company was manufacturing a subnotebook computer named the Palm Foleo. Three months later, Palm cancelled its endeavour.

Shortly thereafter, the netbook surge followed and eventually, the tablets.

Palm continued to perform poorly in smartphone competition and it was soon acquired by Hewlett-Packard.


In July 2008, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington mentioned an absolutely absurd idea of producing a $200 internet tablet with a touchscreen.

After pundits laughed for hours over the idea, Arrington set out to actually build the device.

Then in December of '09, it was revealed that it was mired in a legal fiasco, that it would cost $500, would be released as the Joo Joo, and was buggy at best. All hype and no action is how this story ends.

Windows Vista

Vista, released in 2009, broke (near) all hardware compatibility, was slow as molasses, and required beastly hardware to run on. The public outcry was so bad, that Microsoft rushed as quickly as possibly to get its successor, Windows 7, out the door.

Jimmy Dean Chocolate Chip Pancake-wrapped Sausage On A Stick

People love chocolate chip pancakes and people love sausage, so why not combine the best of both worlds and slap it on a stick? Jimmy Dean tried it out in the late 2000s.

That was the idea behind this Jimmy Dean creation, but this strange breakfast food disappeared off the shelves soon after it arrived.

Google Wave

Wave bye bye to the Google Wave.

After going public for a little more a year, the real-time messaging system shut down its operation in August 2010. The part IM, part email, part Twitter system was either too complicated or came too soon before its time.

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