Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Touch of Yoghurt shampoo anyone?

Great article from The Guardian this weekend by Oliver Burkeman about the GfK Custom Research North America facility in Michigan that is widely known as the Museum of Failed Products. It has relics including Pepsi AM Cola, A Touch of Yoghurt shampoo by Clairol,  caffeinated beer and a mint range that inadvertently looked like crack. Burkeman has written a new book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking.

An short snippet from the article: "You might have assumed that any consumer product manufacturer worthy of the name would have its own such collection – a carefully stewarded resource to help it avoid making errors its rivals had already made. Yet the executives who arrive every week at Sherry's door are evidence of how rarely this happens. Product developers are so focused on their next hoped-for success – so unwilling to invest time or energy thinking about their industry's past failures – that they only belatedly realise how much they need to access GfK's collection. Most surprising of all is that many of the designers who have found their way to the museum have come there to examine – or been surprised to discover – products that their own companies had created, then abandoned. They were apparently so averse to dwelling on the unpleasant business of failure that they had neglected even to keep samples of their own disasters."

And another: "Another problem with our reluctance to think about or analyse failure – whether our own or other people's – is that it leads to an utterly distorted picture of the causes of success."
Read the full article here