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An Anniversary for a Fabled Marketing Flop
By: Stuart Elliott
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One of the most famous product launches ever is about to mark a milestone anniversary – but don't expect much celebrating on Madison Avenue. That's because the product is the Edsel, widely considered the biggest flop in the annals of consumer marketing. Though the Edsel made its debut almost six decades ago, when Ford Motor brought out the car line on "E-Day," Sept. 4, 1957, its notoriety continues to this day; Edsel remains an ad-business Waterloo, a synonym for an epic blunder or American corporate failure. (Hat-tip to Reminisce magazine, published by Trusted Media Brands.  An article in the July issue about "the ill-fated Edsel" reminded me of the upcoming anniversary for the brand, which sold fewer than 110,000 cars – about a quarter of Ford's goal – before the poor Edsel was put out of its misery in November 1959.)

To be sure, there have been scads of other colossal foul-ups by marketing mavens. Examples include New Coke, the DeLorean and Premier "smokeless" cigarettes in the '80s; the Apple Newton and Olestra "fake fat" in the '90s; the Microsoft Zune and HD-DVDs in the '00s; and, recently, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.  But the Edsel remains the best of the worst, you could say, because it offers myriad lessons for peddlers of contemporary products.


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About the Author
This content was originally published on MediaVillage by Stuart Elliott. A link to the original piece appears after the post. https://www.mediavillage.com
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