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5 Worst Product Rebrandings

[digg-me]Every now and again a company will attempt to widen the market for their product with a gimmick or a slick ad campaign. And roughly 90% of the time it fails utterly because there’s a reason their product wasn’t attractive to those demographics in the first place.

The golden standard for this kind of misstep is the campaign that tried to rebrand Las Vegas as a family destination (eventually they recognized their error and went back to the old slogan “Kill a hooker, we won’t tell”), but there are several lesser known examples that we wanted to bring attention to.

1) Disney World’s “F-ck a Disney Princess” offer

Effort: Upon realizing that his park was practically overrun by children, Michael Eisner tapped his “Imagineers” to come up with something that would attract childless adults. Seeing as how Imagineers are just engineers who get laid even more infrequently, their minds immediately went to paying for sex and weird cartoon porn. Combining the two, Disney enacted a policy in the mid nineties that allowed park visitors to pay $100 in Disney bucks for a throw on any of the park’s dress up princesses. For $500 a group of seven could gang bang Snow White (dwarf costumes included).

Reason for failure: The policy was eventually canceled after it was the subject of an EPA lawsuit over the mercury content of Ariel’s vagina.

2) Hooters’ “Free Mammogram with entree” offer

Effort: Long a destination for guy’s night out and a thorn in the side of girlfriends and wives, Hooters attempted in 1993 to double their customer base by offering free mammograms at all of their locations. Upper management believed that it kept with the “breasts” theme they had spent years cultivating while presenting the chain as a more female friendly restaurant.

Reason for failure: The offer ended after four women died of breast cancer less than a month after a Hooters mammogram had declared them cancer free and the ensuing investigation revealed that the mammogram machines were really just windows into the kitchen.

3) Natty Ice matures

Effort: In 2002 market research at Natty Inc indicated that nearly half of all beer was sold to drinkers over 21. Wanting a piece of this previously untapped keg-ographic, Natty Ice rebranded itself to appeal to older drinkers.

Reason for failure: The rebranding effort failed when they were sued by Guinness for simply copying Guinness’ packaging.

4) Library of Congress’ Porn-o-palooza

Effort: It’s a little known fact, but the largest pornography collection in the United States is actually housed at the Library of Congress. National copyright law stipulates that any copyrighted material must submit two copies to the Library of Congress for archiving, including all copyrighted magazines and videos. Think of your most perverted friend who owns literally every porn video and issue of Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, etc ever. Now double the size of his stash and you’ll get the magnitude of the Library’s dirty little secret. In an effort to increase library traffic, Congressional librarians (that sounds like a porn in and of itself) put the library’s porn out front and available for circulation in February, 1993.

Reason for failure: The policy was suspended after a first edition Huckleberry Fin signed by Mark Twain was found with all but four of the pages stuck together.

5) Maximus Pads

Effort: Armed with a lucrative deal with the producers of Gladiator and the notion that there was a need for men to urinate and masturbate on long road trips without making pit stops, Kotex (makers of maxi-pads) unveiled Maximus Pads in late 2000. Touting an ultra absorbency lining and protein controlling enzymes they stormed into drug stores and sporting goods stores where the ironically constipated-looking face of Russell Crowe extolled the virtues of sitting in one’s own filth for hours at a time.

Reason for failure: Depends adult diapers quickly cornered the new market and outsold Maximus Pads by a ratio of 20:1.

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