We're not sure what flavor you like your laxatives, PEZ and tortilla chips, but we're guessing these aren't them. The following are some of the biggest marketing missteps, all done in very bad taste.
PEZ that belong in a vase: The truth is, everyone loves the containers. But I, for one, am actually a huge fan of that chalky deliciousness of PEZ candy. Whether it's grape, lemon, strawberry or orange, one packet of the good stuff never seems to be enough. That said, it's only recently that I learned that PEZ had quite a few failures on the flavor front back in the 1960s (including a cherry PEZ that tasted too much like cough medicine). Specific recipes aside, however, their absolute worst idea has to be the psychedelic Flower flavored PEZ, introduced in 1968. I'm not sure what sort of marketing survey determined that people wanted to step up to this all-you-can-eat bouquet, but where flower power was a huge success in the 60s, PEZ's flower powder wasn't.
Vegetable Jell-O: Of course PEZ wasn't the only beloved kids treat to make a few missteps. One of the biggest flavor offenders seems to be Jell-O, who tried and failed with Coffee, Chocolate and Cola flavors (which latter went flat the soonest, almost immediately after it launched). Their most behated flavor, however, has to be Celery, which was apparently created for use in salads. And while Jell-O still sticks by their "There's always room for Jell-O" slogan, supermarkets didn't feel that way, and quickly booted it from their shelves.
(several more after the jump)
From the EX-LAX to the Next Lax: I'd read about Fig-flavored Ex-Lax and the bomb that it was a few years ago while doing a mental_floss story, but it's only recently that we found pictures of the tins. I'm not sure what inspired the unusual fruit flavoring, but I do like their effort. Of course, the only thing stranger than the fig flavor to me is how the inventor came up with the name for his product. Immigrant Max Kiss told everyone that Ex-Lax stood for excellent laxative, but the name actually came from the Hungarian newspaper, which used it as a slang term for parliamentary deadlock.
DORITOS inspired by LOL cats: While it hasn't bombed just yet, the super-secret Doritos X-13D are cheeseburger flavored and only available in taste test labs as of now. Apparently, the chips are brighter than the average Dorito (which I'm guessing means they glow?), and taste like an All-American favorite with a hint of pickle. I'm not a gambling man, but I'm guessing the Vegas odds on this one lasting a full year are pretty slim.
Unpopular POP-TARTS: Oddly enough, sometimes there are flavors that sound decently appetizing, but just don't work in the market place. Pop-Tarts forays into Chocolate Cherry Chip and Frosted Peanut butter and Jelly seem to be two flavors that neither kids nor mother approved. Without much in the way of shelf-confidence, the two normal tastes were quickly relegated to land of forgotten flavors. Similarly, Nestle Quik's surprisingly unpopular Cookies N Cream simply couldn't sway enough milk drinkers its way.
TOOTHPASTE and brushes of genius: That said, occasionally marketers reach to capitalize on silver screen potential. That seems to be the case with, well, REACH toothpaste, which decided what better flavor to brush your teeth with than banana flavored toothpaste. Of course, the cute monkey business that is Curious George tooth gel has nothing on Breath Pallette's, which come in the strange Sweet Salt, Darjeeling Tea, and Indian Curry flavors to name a few.
DISGUSTING FLAVORS THAT WORK: Of course, sometimes gross flavors are just part of the gimmick. Bertie Bott's Jelly Beans, straight out of Harry Potter for instance, feature yuck-inducing varieties like black pepper, earwax, earthworm and vomit. Kids, however, don't seem to be the only ones wiling to put their allowance on the line for a bit of disgusting. Fans of Jones Soda regularly shell out their Thanksgiving cash to get a sip of their limited-edition turkey and gravy flavored pop.
So, did we miss any gross flavor missteps along the way? Post "˜em in the comments already! I'm itching to hear more.
NOTE: special thanks to Kara and Sandy for their enormous research help on this post.