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Product launches are expensive. As a result, one of the earliest steps in the process tends to be market research to make sure that the potential product is viable. Unfortunately, companies can mess this up for a wide range of reasons. Sometimes, they are overconfident, or they make bad assumptions with their market research. Whatever the case, the result is a wide range of product launches that managed to fall flat on their metaphorical faces, which often make for hilarious stories.

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Harley Davidson Cologne

Harley Davidson cologne isn't quite as insane as it sounds on initial consideration. After all, the motorcycle manufacturer isn't just about selling motorcycles; it is about selling a lifestyle associated with motorcycles. As a result, a considerable chunk of its income comes from Harley Davidson merchandise rather than Harley Davidson motorcycles, which is a great example of a company capitalizing upon the power of its brand. The problem is that cologne isn't exactly what most people would associate with the popular image of a motorcycle-riding out upon the open road. If anything, it is associated with the opposite in their minds, which explains why the Harley Davidson cologne launched in 1990 proved to be such a failure.

Embroidery on the back of a biker jacketHarley Davidson.
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Microsoft Zune

Remember the Microsoft Zune? For those who are unfamiliar, it was Microsoft's intended challenger to Apple's iPod, which failed for a couple of reasons. One, it came out five years after the iPod, meaning that it was going up against a much better-established competitor with a very powerful brand of its own. Two, the Zune didn't do anything that the iPod didn't, meaning that it failed to differentiate itself from its chief competitor from the very start. Under those circumstances, it was no wonder that it winded up being the butt of jokes before meeting a silent, unlamented demise.

Microsoft Unveils Zune To Challenge iPod Handout / Getty Images
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Amazon Fire Phone

Microsoft is far from being the sole tech-titan to get burned by jumping into the consumer goods market. For proof, look no further than the Fire phone, which was launched by Amazon in 2014. Simply put, it was expensive, it had limited features, and it was most useful for Amazon users but not for other consumers. Combined with the fact that it was sent into a contentious market already packed full of experienced competitors, it is no wonder that the Fire phone has long since burned out.

Amazon Unveils Its First Smartphone David Ryder / Getty Images
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Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Speaking of which, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was a complete and utter disaster for the smartphone manufacturer, particularly since it was supposed to be their flagship product for 2017. Said product was prone to overheating, which was a real problem when combined with the exploding batteries. As such, Samsung winded up recalling 2.5 million phones, which didn't do wonders for its financial statements in that year.

Visitors visit the stand of Samsung to watch the Galaxy Note 7 at the 2016 IFA consumer electronics trade fair on September 2, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. IFA is among the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and home appliances and runs from September 2-7. Carsten Koall / Getty Images
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Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick

Just because two things taste good on their own, that doesn't mean that they will taste even better when put together. Jimmy Dean learned that lesson with their Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick, consisting of a sausage coated in pancake batter with chocolate chips. Perhaps unsurprisingly, people didn't take very well to the creation, with the result that it was discontinued after just a short time on the market.

Organic CornDog on a stick
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Pre-Brewed Coffee

At one point in time, Maxwell House sold pre-brewed coffee packaged in a cardboard box. It was an interesting idea that had both upsides and downsides. Certainly, it wouldn't taste as good as fresh coffee, but its convenience would more than make up for that particular flaw. Unfortunately, Maxwell House proceeded to sink its own product by suggesting that customers heat it up before drinking, thus ruining the entire point of the product.

Fresh cup of coffee. GeorgHanf / Getty Images
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Ford Pinto

The Ford Pinto is one of those disastrous products that get brought in case study after case study at every business school. In short, a design flaw meant that a rear-end collision had a high chance of puncturing its fuel tank, which in turn, meant a high chance of the car catching on fire. However, the real outrage came when it was revealed that Ford knew about the flaw but went ahead with the Pinto anyways because it figured that the inevitable lawsuits would be cheaper. Thanks to this, the car has been immortalized, though for a less than admirable reason.

wheelsage.org
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Betamax

Older individuals might remember the use of VHS for videos. However, it is interesting to note that it wasn't the only option when it came to magnetic tape because there was also the Betamax. VHS won out for the simple reason that it could record for a longer period of time, though it is amusing to note that Sony continued to make Betamax recorders and Betamax tapes into the 2000s and 2010s.

Vintage style of abandoned pile of old useless
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Hannah Montana Cherries

Disney makes a lot of its revenues from branded merchandise, so it makes sense for it to slap its brands on as many products as possible. However, they have been known to overdo it from time to time, as shown by the excellent example of Hannah Montana cherries. Yes, the show was very popular. However, it is hard to imagine that anyone would have chosen to buy cherries based on it when there wasn't even the most tenuous of connections.

Bowl of yellow cherries ATU Images / Getty Images
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BIC for Her

At one point in time, BIC decided that it should start marketing pens for women. This met with a less than enthusiastic response from its intended market. After all, ballpoint pens worked just fine for both women and men, meaning that the whole thing came off as a very cynical cash grab at best.

Blue and red BiC pen

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