There’s a fine line between innovative and absurd. Sometimes it just goes too far for reality to catch up. These16 duds were just a step short of un-American, honestly.
1. Kylie Lip Kits
In 2016, a 19-year-old called Kylie Jenner launched the Kylie Cosmetics line that quickly skyrocketed to the number one spot on the luxury cosmetic segment. Before long, everything was changing — business practices were going off-kilter and sales were plummeting. This was the end of the line. By the end of 2017, a reporter for Refinery29 called the company’s business practices “flawed” — with no mention of the looks. In November of 2018, eight of the company’s senior executives and ownership were let go.
2. Nike Free Clean Water Shoe
On June 12, 2010, Nike released the Free Flyknit, the world’s first shoe with no real structure or materials. The effects of this over-engineering are myriad: The shoes weren’t constructed well enough to withstand our unruly feet; they caused injuries; they basically split the webbing between your toes; and, inevitably, they became perishable. The Free Flyknit shoes sold for $95, the most expensive Nike shoes of their kind. They were gone in less than 48 hours.
YouTube revealed Fortnite: Battle Royale to the world in 2017. The streamy romp spawned an esports industry that continues to flourish today — and you know what that means: TV networks were paying a premium to air the channel (Fortnite can currently be found in over 50 territories worldwide). So far, the product was as simple as the game itself — a simple box that you insert your game cartridge into.
4. Intel’s Evolution of Motorsport AI Racing Simulator
When the first Intel Horizon Fan Racing simulator was released in 2018, the gist was simple: A computer program was used to create and film a racing scene, with the video automatically uploaded to the Internet after each race. A whole year later, the race had not officially been recorded and the setup no longer exists. Interestingly, Intel is currently doing its next round of fans — you’ll be able to film a Tesla lap as it drives through a simulated desert.
5. Bevel’s Razor
A powdered shaving cream known as Bevel was first released in 2012. Their razor was supposedly able to “remove razor bumps, knots, and inconsistencies” and “improve the feel of the cut and reduce irritation” (as Tech Insider quoted Bevel). It was expensive — $20 for one. It started out with a limited distribution. And it was a total disappointment. The reaction on social media was pretty savage.
6. Rapture (Mister Vincent)
In 2016, Vince Vaughn was trying to break into the highly-trendy game-playing market with a virtual reality headset. His device, called Rapture, was adored by some, but the culture critics thought that it was a total letdown. “Vaughn had no idea how to market the thing,” Computerworld reported, describing how the headset was never out of stock and, consequently, never completely sold out. “We [salespeople] figured we'd bomb the first week or two. Nothing could have prepared us for the traffic and response,” Vicarious Visions CEO Drew Creighton said.
7. AT&T’s DirecTV Unlimited
Apple released its own service in 2017, called DirecTV Now. This multi-platform service cost $35 per month for unlimited television streaming. It basically worked the same way as DirecTV Unlimited: You could watch a tiny selection of live television channels, but commercials or on-demand content were probably going to end up on your phone or tablet. (There were plenty of commercials!) AT&T’s content remained behind a “select” section of the TV packages: DirecTV starter, DirecTV Family, DirecTV XL, DirecTV Military and DirecTV Premiere. Yet the company was still charging $120 a month for the service. That’s $240 a year — $40 a month.
8. McChickens and Fingers and McRibs and Lemonade, McRib-style
McRib lovers and purists (you know, like sandwich eaters) flocked to McDonald’s in 2009 to get their very own McRib sandwich. At $1.99 each, the burgers were bad enough. People never knew when they would be getting one. On February 22, 2010, McDonald’s rolled out the McRib nationwide.
9. IKEA Pure Pro