Biggest FAIL! Business, marketing or creative idea or tactic that fell flat

It's just as important to talk about our failures as it is to talk about our successes - in personal, business and professional lives. Sometimes, you just don't know until you try. 

We can often learn more from our failures than our successes - so. What business or marketing idea fell flat? What did you learn from it?

For non-business owners, was there a project or idea that didn't turn out like you hoped? What did you learn from it?

If you've never failed at anything (Sweat smile), were your a front-row observer to something that didn't work so well?

Share your experience below!

  • In my art life, I had an amazing idea for a turkey painting around to thanksgiving. I do a lot of loose watercolor paintings and love painting animals. In my head, I saw the feathers fanning out to the left as the turkey poked his head into the frame from the right side. I have a tendency (that I am trying to break) of over-detail my work when I want less detail. So I started the painting and made beautiful loose feathers as I planned. But as soon as I started detailing his face, a big shortcoming came into focus: Turkey's ain't known for their beautiful mugs. 

    Turkeys have all sorts of flabby and bunchy skin. Lots of flaps and folds around their face with beady little eye balls. I got into deep detail on this little birdy and it just got worse and worse. When I stopped part-way through, his gizzard looked like a bunch of red and pink brains were pinned onto a creature of some kind - with all the surprise and disgust of a little boy who has to wear a suit and tie on a hot day. I stopped the painting then and there (there was no going back to fixing). It now lives in my bad art folder, with plans never to see the light of day again. 

    I learned something valuable that day - Ideas and concepts can seem rock-solid in my mind, but until I test them in the light of day, anything can happen! I thought I could make him cute when he was never gonna win hearts. Next time I have a painting with questionable textures, colors or composition, I will surely test it before devoting hours and money into a hopeless painting! 

    And no, I can't share it. It's terrifying!! 

  • I had a great idea for a rustic piece of wall art that would use stained wood to show a logo I was using for my personal brand. The logo was too complex for the method I was using. I ended up scrapping the whole thing.

  • One of my favorite Bible Verses is "Pride comes before a fall".  Whenever I've been proud about something, inevitably, I'm on the verge of failure.

  • Once upon a time, there was an advertising campaign that was too risque. The ads were deemed inappropriate and were pulled from the airwaves. Unfortunately, this means that the campaign never got to see the light of day and all of the money that was put into it was wasted.

  • For a small business like I had, it is better to not have a partner unless they are willing to put in as much time and effort as you.

  • Ooo, this is really good advice that sounds like you discovered the hard way. A good, committed partner makes a huge difference. 

  • That reminds me of an ad experience I learned about in the past. Market localization from geography to geography can cause a gap! Especially with language translation. 

  • One of my first larger pieces of furniture I built in my garage.  Got all the measurements figured out for its final destination, and after weeks of work it was ready.

    One problem, while it fit through the door to the house, it didn't fit around the tight walls to the designated room.  I had to dismantle it considerably, and finish construction inside the room.  That only added another week or so of frustrated labor :).

  • This is a constant issue in Japan! It's gotten better over the years, especially in big cities like Tokyo, but there are still those things which just don't translate/transliterate well...