Green ketchup, anyone?
No one drinks Coca-Cola’s “Blak” coffee drink or crunches on low-fat Pringles anymore, because they were failures. But you can now head to a museum to look at the evidence of these flopped foods’ existence. The Museum of Failure, which celebrates 51 of the world’s most unsuccessful products, has recently opened in Sweden. Created by curator and clinical psychologist Samuel West, the museum essentially serves as a place to learn from mistakes—and maybe also to have a good laugh. I mean, what other reaction can one have to learning that Colgate (yes, the toothpaste company) once tried to launch a line of beef lasagna?
Spaces that celebrate popular snacks are certainly cashing in on nostalgia and the viral appeal of food recently. New York City’s pop-up Museum of Ice Cream was so popular last summer that it reopened this year in LA, and tickets for both locations were nearly impossible to snag. Last week, Ripley's Believe it Or Not opened a Cheetos Museum inside its New York location, and there’s still a massive line outside Chicago’s new Nutella Cafe. The Museum of Failure, however, seems to be the first venue to celebrate the unpopular achievements in food.
While the displayed items are pretty entertaining, West’s goal with the Museum of Failure is not to poke fun at failure, but to celebrate the creative process. "Even the biggest baddest most competent companies fail," West told Business Insider. "The trick is to create an organizational culture that accepts failure so that you can fail small... rather than failing big."
In addition to food flops like Heinz’s Green Sauce and Pepsi’s Crystal clear soda, the Museum of Failure displays other less-than-successful gems like Harley-Davidson leather-scented cologne, Bic’s sexist “For Her” pens, and the board game “Trump: I’m Back and You’re Fired,” box stamped with the face of none other than President Donald Trump.
Odds are always stacked against innovation projects—though I’m sure some of these products had more of a chance than others. West wants to shed light on the failures to help future inventors and businesspeople feel confident to continue after setbacks: “It’s liberating for us, when we try out a new skill or learn something,” he told the Washington Post. “It’s okay to fail.”