When you miss your chance and realize later that you could have become rich, famous and taken coke on a yacht for the rest of your life, you inevitably feel a little stupid. It happened to a lot of brands and some companies went bankrupt just because of this disastrous choice. At least, it has benefited others… who have been digging into it.
1. M&M’s refused a partnership with the movie “ET, the extra-terrestrial”
At the start of the film’s production ET, the extra-terrestrial, Spielberg sends the Amblin Productions teams to approach the Mars group in order to offer them product placement for their M&M’s sweets. We don’t know the reason but we know that the Mars group refused the idea. Spielberg therefore proposed the contract to the company Hershey Foods which produces Reese’s Pieces: the company then proposes to spend 1 million dollars in an advertising campaign if it can use the image of ET absolutely everywhere. The operation was a huge success as sales exploded in the weeks following the film’s release. It is in large part due to this partnership that Reese’s has become so popular today.
2. Western Union refused to buy the telephone patent from Alexander Graham Bell
IN 1876, Western Union had already existed for 25 years and refused an offer that could have changed everything. Alexander Graham Bell comes to approach the bosses of the company to try to sell them the patent for his new invention: the telephone. He offers them $100,000, specifying that the telephone could be installed in all the cities of the United States. The Western Union representatives laugh in his face and Alexander Graham Bell has made his way without them.
3. Decca Records refused to sign the Beatles
At the start of the 1960s, Decca Records was one of the biggest record companies and they saw young people parading every day with dreams in their heads. When yet another group of young guitarists with wicks arrives in their office, Decca employees are not impressed and refuse to follow up. No luck since this group was the Beatles.
4. Kodak completely rejected the idea of the digital camera
Kodak received gold on a silver platter with a few bonus diamonds and they threw it all away. While Kodak was number 1 in sales in 1975, one of the company’s engineers (Steven Sasson) invented the digital camera. Everything could have gone perfectly but Kodak preferred to refuse the project so that it would not be a threat to their existing products. Big mistake, the digital camera still saw the light of day and Kodak was never able to catch up.
5. Xerox made one of the first PCs…but didn’t sell it
Even before the birth of Microsoft or Apple, the Xerox brand created Alto: the very first personal computer with a graphical interface. It’s so revolutionary that the market for computers doesn’t exist yet… so Xerox doesn’t quite know what to do with it. Instead of marketing it to the general public, the brand decides to use it only in its research laboratories and in certain universities. At least they were the first.
6. Blockbuster Video turned down Netflix’s offer to sell
In the 90s and until the end of the 2000s, Blockbuster was one of the largest chains of VHS and then DVD rental stores. To give you an idea, there were nearly 9,000 Blockbuster stores in the US in 2004 and today there is only one left. In 2000, Netflix was a struggling small DVD rental business and its CEO offered to sell the business to Blockbuster for $50 million. You guessed it, Blockbuster refused and Netflix was able to adapt by innovating with a streaming service that is still a hit today.
7. Excite didn’t want to buy Google for a million dollars
In 1999, two Stanford students want to sell their revolutionary search engine called Google because they find that this hobby takes up too much of their time when they should be studying. So they go to the CEO of Excite, a web portal company, and offer him Google for a million dollars. The CEO refused and today, Google is everywhere when no one knows what Excite was (which filed for bankruptcy in 2001).
8. Motorola didn’t want to adapt to the smartphone trend
There are inventions that no one believed in and the smartphone was somehow one of them. At the time, the idea was to have the smallest phone possible and the clamshell was super classy. In 2000, Motorola was one of the leaders in mobile telephony and refused for years to switch to smartphones. They took it badly.
Moral of the story: Whatever you do, it will never be the best choice. So when in doubt, do nothing at all.
Sources: Sportern – LoveMoney – Wikipedia