The LG Sphere TV
Capitalizing on the success and wonderment of the curved TV trend, LG went a little too far in 2014 when it unveiled the technical disastrous Sphere television design. Encasing the gorgeous 4K screen entirely within the bowels of a perfect metal orb may have seemed like a bold design choice, but it proved highly user-unfriendly, requiring the viewer to climb within the small circular chamber for a completely immersive 360-degree entertainment experience. The Sphere was scrapped shortly after release in the wake of an unprecedented barrage of class-action suffocation and skin cancer lawsuits.
With the tagline "Show us your SEO face," this clever innovation seemed like it had a pretty strong niche consumer base of hipster, tech-savvy Silicon Valley professionals just waiting to be tapped. At CES 2012, Google unveiled their irreverent take on the condom, featuring a Bluetooth-enabled wrapper for location beacon tracking, near-field communication to personal Google+ accounts, and a high battery life powered by repetitive kinetic energy. Interest in the UGC-inspired product diminished quickly after an infamous and awkward on-stage demo.
If there's one company taking risks in the wearables market, it's Apple. However, its foray into the jewelry world ended in disaster after the release of the Apple Anklet, a half-inch by quarter-inch tablet designed to be worn close to the metatarsals. Although undoubtedly beautiful, early adopters complained about the lack of useful functionality and speaker volume. Pivoting to more of an accessory for health monitoring in the subsequent weeks, the product still failed to gain traction due to an unfixable battery life of 10 minutes.
Amazon Prime Rib
Amazon has been at the forefront of strange and successful major company moves, but this is particular promotion ended in horrible fashion. Touting a free, fully cooked prime rib that shipped to new Amazon Prime subscribers in 2013 might have seemed an appealing idea in a marketing brainstorm meeting. However, in practice, all that this tactic managed to produce was a series of greasy boxes, lukewarm cow flesh, and an increased number of nauseated customer complaints. Amazon admits at the end of the day that its plan hinged on the freshness of the meat, and with a three-day shipping turnaround, the logistics of delivering anything but a sour carcass of rotting appreciation to anyone not living in a five-mile radius of the shipping center was realistically low.
The Internet of Thongs
This short-lived marketing trend hit CES in 2014 and enjoyed a lifespan of only a few months. The Internet of Thongs was a network of barely-there woman's undergarments embedded with electronics, sensors, and network connectivity that enabled these items to collect and exchange data. It was a bold idea conceived on the heels of the "smart home" trend -- but taken one step further. The Internet of Thongs was widely regarded as inappropriate, and ultimately failed to gain momentum for anyone with a boyfriend.
Most of us dream of sailing the open seas, and in 2013, the pioneering company Oculus attempted to make this a virtual reality. Putting the user in the perspective of the boat itself, Oculus Raft was a first-person experience unlike any other, as users were realistically embedded into the pulpy wood grain of a decaying life raft aimlessly adrift on the tumultuous waters of the Indian Ocean. While mind blowing in graphical detail and visual perfection of the raft's mahogany molecular structure, those lucky enough to have experienced this short-lived seafaring adventure unanimously complained about the lack of an actual ocean view.
The Way-Too-Connected Car
Everything in the automotive world is building for more connectivity, and this year at CES, Honda took it further than ever before. The Way-Too-Connected Car was not only equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE capabilities -- but also a strong and unforgiving need to be with its driver at all times. Built as a learning computer, the vehicle would grow so accustomed to the feel, drive pattern, and warmth of its user that it would self-regulate its desire for human companionship and connection. The self-driving feature and auto-dependency activation allowed the car to turn on by itself in order to follow its subject (within reason) and remain unnoticed to the unobservant eye -- easing itself ever so slightly into its driver's vicinity as to catch the beautiful whiff of their illusive scent until fate offered the everlasting gift of an amorous reunion. This product was discontinued in the weeks following after an unrelenting series of tragic vehicles suicides.