There is a safe haven for Heinz’s green ketchup, fat-free Pringles (is it still even a Pringle?), and Colgate’s frozen lasagna. Yes, you heard me, the toothpaste brand dipped their toes into the lasagna market.
The Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden is where you can find all these epic failures of items. All of them completely flopped on the market. The newly opened museum has filled the niche of a spot to relish in the memory of these products that completely flopped on the market.
Curator and clinical psychologist Samuel West is the founder of this museum. The idea came to him and he immediately purchased a web domain for the museum. Funnily enough, he accidentally misspelled “museum.” Even the name itself had some degree of failure!
Why did West feel like he needed to open up this museum? He states, “[w]e know that 80 to 90 percent of innovation projects, they fail and you never read about them, you don’t see them, people don’t talk about them. And if there’s anything we can do from these failures, is learn from them.” So this museum is not meant to be just a joke…But actually an entrepreneurial learning experience?
Many items in the museum come out of a company’s attempt to diversify their brand. There is Coca-Cola’s BlaK coffee drink and Pepsi’s Crystal clear soda. Perhaps diversification of a brand name went too far when Harley-Davidson made a men’s eau-du-toilette. LOL, does that smell like gasoline or leather?
But some of the items in the museum are actually pretty cool, they just flopped because they were too ahead of their time. Such as Google’s Glass headset, which has an augmented reality function and built-in camera. It was just a prototype and hit the market too early so it was full of bugs. It was a pretty cool and relevant idea nonetheless.
Another sorta success story of the museum is an Apple Newton personal “digital assistant” from 1993. It’s a bulky black device that may seem neolithic to some. But indeed it is an early edition that paved the way for iPhones.
So if you’re ever in this small town in Sweden, be sure to check out The Museum Of Failures. It’s pretty silly at times, but also interesting to see the out-there ideas companies have.