Kinney Shoes - Failure Museum

Kinney Shoes

From 1894 to 1998, Kinney Shoes peaked at 467 stores was the largest family chain shoe retailer in the United States. Specializing in reasonably priced shoes, it spun out Foot Locker in 1974 and had a partnership with the NBA.

Pringles Croc Shoes - Failure Museum

Pringles Croc Shoes

Launched in 2024, the Pringles and Croc partnership “seamlessly combines the flavor-packed world of Pringles with the iconic comfort DNA of Crocs…Pringles’ first footwear collaboration delivers on what both of our brands do best, bringing ingenuity to fashion and flavor.”

Sharper Image - Failure Museum

Sharper Image

Launched in 1977 and closed in 2008, had 187 retail stores in 38 states with shelves stacked with high-end futuristic gadgets and electronics.  But other retailers and huge online stores began to sell similar high-tech toys, often at a better price or with a click of a button.

Gatorade Water - Failure Museum

Gatorade Water

In 2024, Gatorade launched its first unflavored water since consumers “expect Gatorade to meet all of their hydration needs.”

Synanon Products- Failure Museum

Synanon

Synanon, originally known as Tender Loving Care, was a new religious movement founded in 1958 by Charles E. “Chuck” Dederich Sr. in Santa MonicaCalifornia, United States. Originally established as a drug rehabilitation program, Synanon developed into an alternative community centered on group truth-telling sessions that came to be known as the “Synanon Game”, a form of attack therapy.

Described as one of the “most dangerous and violent cults America had ever seen”, Synanon disbanded in 1991 after several members were convicted of offenses including financial misdeeds, evidence tamperingterrorism and attempted murder.

The Synanon organization also developed a business that sold promotional items. This became a successful enterprise that for a time generated roughly $10 million per year.

Red Lobster - Failure Museum

Red Lobster

Founded in 1968, Red Lobster brought seafood to landlocked people at more affordable prices than fine-dining restaurants. In 2024, the debt-laden seafood chain announced it was considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Red Lobster was bogged down by increased labor costs and expensive leases on its restaurants. Some of the financial woes are due to its decision in 2023 to make its “Endless Shrimp” promotion, which used to be an occasional, limited-time offering, permanent.

Red Lobster wasn’t losing to a competitor in their space — they’re were losing to competitors outside their space. People who are hankering for lobster or fish are increasingly going to steak houses that offer those options.

Yikes! Pencils - Failure Museum

Yikes! Pencils

Released in 1993 since kids liked to customize their pencils with stickers or even their own inscriptions applied via thumbnail. The designer suspected wooden pencils that didn’t look like wood might have an appeal. They offered Yikes! pencils in a range of inventive colors though they were limited to black, orange, and pink at launch. The company also included a range of similarly themed erasers and a see through pencil sharpener so you could see the crazy pencil shavings.

However, the pencils were discontinued in 1996 since it was objectively terrible to write with a Yikes! pencil. The graphite smeared with a touch and the nifty polyurethane erasers didn’t erase. They just spread the graphite into a black blob. Yikes! pencils were a nightmare for homework worksheets in an era before digital copies.

 

Disco Demolition Night - Failure Museum

Disco Demolition Night

Disco Demolition Night was a MLB promotion on Thursday, July 12, 1979, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, that ended in a riot. At the climax of the event, a crate filled with disco records was blown up on the field between games of the twi-night doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. Many had come to see the explosion rather than the games and rushed onto the field after the detonation. The playing field was so damaged by the explosion and by the rioters that the White Sox were required to forfeit the second game to the Tigers.

White Sox officials had hoped for a crowd of 20,000, about 5,000 more than usual. Instead, at least 50,000 packed the stadium, and thousands more continued to sneak in after capacity was reached and gates were closed. Many of the records were not collected by staff and were thrown like flying discs from the stands. After they blew up the collected records, thousands of fans stormed the field and remained there until dispersed by riot police.

Outer Space Men - Failure Museum

Outer Space Men

In 1968, Colorforms released Outer Space Men, which was a series of bendable figures.  Using the basic constellations of planets in our own galaxy, each figure was given a name, and assigned a planet of origin.

It is speculated by several collector’s markets that the line was produced to compete with and also be incorporated with Mattel’s Major Matt Mason line from the same period.  Colorforms failed to find much commercial success with the line when it was first produced, and the line quickly vanished from store shelves.  This unfortunately meant that even though a second series was well into production, the line was cancelled before it would be released.

BIC Sport - Failure Museum

BIC Sport

Founded in 1979 and shut down in 2010, BIC Sport was one of the world’s leading windsurfing manufacturers and had best-selling boards on the planet.