Whether it’s something brand new or a revamp of an old favourite, design can make or break a product. Phrases and logos that could have done with a decent proof-reader are one thing but what about companies that genuinely had a good idea that fell flat due to a design flaw that no one seemed to spot?
Read on for our top three design fails:
In 2010 SunChips (sold as sun bites in the UK) wanted to flex their green credentials with an all new type of bag. It was touted as being 100% compostable. Ideal when you consider that crisp packets are notoriously difficult to recycle and the UK alone goes through about 6 billion a year.
However, after 18 short months the new and compostable packets were taken off the shelves. Why? They were incredibly noisy. So noisy and crinkly in fact that scores of American crisp lovers called and wrote to parent company FritoLay demanding they switch back. At one point there was even a Facebook group with over 44,000 users who couldn’t stand the noise
Remember Susan Boyle, the wholly unexpected singing sensation? After winning X-Factor she went on to release multiple albums. Her publicity team could have done with an outside eye when they hit upon the hashtag #susanalbumparty…
Simple and to the point I bet they thought…it didn’t take long for the hashtag to go viral for all the wrong reasons!
Coors sparkling water
Wanting to jump on the bandwagon of the skyrocketing sales of bottled water in addition to a general feeling that drinking less alcohol was the way to go.
Coors beer embarked on a short-lived venture into sparkling water in the 90’s. With their beer marketed as being crafted from crystal clear Rocky Mountain spring water, it made sense to use that same water (not to mention their extensive and already in place bottling and distribution mechanisms). So, in 1990 Coors sparkling water hit the American shelves. This plan had many things going for it- brand recognition, loyal customer following, stockists aplenty so what went wrong?
Well the powers that be at Coors decided that the label of their first non-alcoholic beverage since prohibition should look pretty similar to their (alcoholic) beer. This move was their downfall. Consumers did not know how to react to the similarities in look and branding. Was this some sort of clear beer? Was it alcoholic water? The uncertainty was off putting, and this showed in the sales figures. Production was stopped and in 1997 Coors cancelled the trademark.
These design fails could be summed up as so close yet so far! As funny as they seem now the cost of these fails was huge and often in more than just monetary terms. They truly show the importance of good design and why having an outside and expert look can save you thousands (as well as a red face). For innovative design that does the job, take a look at the success stories on https://www.pearlfisher.com/work/life/mobility.
Here you can see the depth of research that goes into both creating something new and revitalising well-loved products to create a brighter future and not a quickly shelved one.