Post details: List-er-ino Fridays: Who thought THAT was a good idea?

03/09/07

Permalink 10:24:12 am, by Email , 1158 words   English (CA)
Categories: List-er-ino Fridays

List-er-ino Fridays: Who thought THAT was a good idea?

Ross Perot once said, "Failures are like skinned knees, painful but superficial." Well, here's five "skinned knees" to me. Some more "skinned" than others... but none-the-less, these are five things that someone thought was a "good idea" that, realistically, was not...

Space! The Final Frontier!

Microsloth BOB!

Microsoft BOB!

Microsoft developers and marketers knew that people would need to upgrade their hardware that was running Windows 3.1x to run Windows '95... but how to convince people to do that?

The answer was something we ALL would LOVE to have... a friendly interface for Windows 3.1 that featured talking dogs and the like... and it was named, cleverly, "Bob".

It was released with a lot of fanfare in March of 1995 and was advertised as effectively "Windows 3.2"... it did come with some built-in tools like a reasonable word processor... but ALL of it's application were "documented" with an animated "helper" all the way along... imagine NEVER being able to turn of the damned paper-clip in Office.

At that time, I was working at a computer store as a purchaser*... and knew that interest was... well... sketchy.

Thinking ahead, I only ordered five copies of "Bob".

I sent back all five months later with not a single sale.

This product was SO misserable, it ranked 7th on PC World's WORST twenty-five products of all time.

Interestingly enough, the "Bob" project was managed by Melinda French... who went on to leave Microsoft when she became Melinda Gates.

"Bob" sucked.

Space! The Final Frontier!

* - Of special note about the purchasing job I mentioned above... I sold director David Cronenberg his first copy of Windows '95 at the store... What a claim to fame, eh? Oh, and yes, of course I got his autograph... sadly, it was stolen a few months later on a trip to London when my hotel room was burgled.

If you ever read this, I'm sorry about that sale, Mr. Cronenberg... but I did warn you, didn't I? I believe I used the term "lemmings off a cliff".

Space! The Final Frontier!

Brawl for Stupid

WWE's "Brawl for All"

Here's a good idea... When you're still back in the day when "professional wrestling" is being marketed as "real", openly admit it ISN'T by having a series of legitimate fights on television with your workers!

Now, don't get me wrong, wrestling is kinda real... the endings, sure, are predetermined as are the "feuds"... but the athleticism is real as are, in many cases, the injuries.

Well, "Brawl for All" took a bunch of men used to "working" fights (faking the actual attacks to protect their opponent but make it "look good",) and put them in legitimate fights!

The concept was to "get over" a legitimate tough-guy named Steve "Dr. Death" Williams... who, being a legitimate bad @ss, would go on to be known as the super-tough guy of the (then ) World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment).

Seemed like a good idea... except one problem... the fights were REAL.

Bart Gunn

Above is a picture of Bart Gunn, (real name Michael Plotcheck,) one-half of the tag team, "The Smoking Gunns", he made a bit of a real boo-boo... and knocked the heck out of Dr. Death Steve Williams in the quarter-finals of the contest in two rounds. In fact, the knock-out was so convincing, it killed William's "tough guy" persona dead.

Gunn went on to win the contest... which resulted in people scratching their heads as Gunn wasn't truly considered an "A" list competitor in any fashion.

The end result for Gunn for his boxing prowess was a match at Wrestlemania with big legitimate fighter/boxer Eric "Butterbean" Esch... who knocked out Gunn in thirty-seconds.

Butterbean

With this knock out, Gunn's image was now also ruined... and he was shortly terminated from WWF's roster.

During the initial "Brawl for All" fights, wrestlers Steve Blackman, Road Warrior Hawk, and Savio Vega were all badly hurt and couldn't wrestle for the promotion in their normal capacity for some time.

What a great idea! It squashed TWO careers and injured three men!

...and it was REAL!

Real dumb.

Space! The Final Frontier!

Egads!

Grape and/or Cherry and/or Orange Flavoured Potato Chips (Crisps)

This sounds like a joke, doesn't it?

Well, nope.

Hostess Potato Chips here in Canada in the 1970's figured people were bored with their salty-snacks... so the re-jigged their machines and Voila! Fruity potato chips!

They sold almost, but not quite as well as Microsoft Bob.

Space! The Final Frontier!

Look at my fake braces!

Grills

This is a NEW thing... but is thankfully already waning in popularity... probably because, BOY it's dumb.

Let's say you're a nice person who, for whatever reason, wanted a smile that literally sparkled... but sadly, lack chrome braces across your teeth.

Well, WORRY NO MORE!

Welcome to something that in ten years will be looked at the same way people look at pet rocks and hanging-bead doors!

Yup, effectively fake-braces... but more like jewellery... and some are REALLY expensive!

Sound dumb? It is!

Space! The Final Frontier!

New Coke!

New Coke

Imagine you have an all-time, best-selling, brand-name product. A product with a history and a heritage! Heck, many people (mistakenly) think your product's marketing invented Santa Claus!

What do you do with this?

Well, if you're the venerable Coca-Cola corporation in 1985, you CHANGE IT and remove the original from the market!

Oh yeah, that was smart...

Yup, you release a new and improved formulation (make it sweeter) and herald the NEW product!

...and have literally BILLIONS hate you while destroying the "believability" of your once highly-bankable spokesman, Bill Cosby, with consumers.

Now, many wonder if perhaps, in order to "build" sales, the Coca-Cola corporation released "New Coke" in order to RE-introduce "Coca-Cola Classic" a while later to the (hopeful) cheers of the masses... sort of a "product release/re-release" wrestling style angle... an attempt to get people to care about the product.

Did it work? Not really.

Sales are about where they were... and during the "new" launch and the "re-launch", sales were actually hurt.

Dumb idea? I'd say so.

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