Let’s face it, there are some seriously bizarre products out in the market today! Following up on our previous blog, let’s take a look at some products that exemplify just how profitable some crazy ideas can be. Now I am not saying that every crazy notion will make for a great product. In fact, I am not sure why some of these were so popular in the first place. At nuMedia we thrive on creative ideas and some of them can get pretty ridiculous, but we always listen to even the most outlandish notions, and we would like to hear some of yours, so make sure to check out the “Idea Box” at the end of the article!!!
8) Fake Wishbones
Coming in at Number 8 is the idea for Fake Wishbones! We’ve all done it, Thanksgiving bird is all gone and Dad is holding the “wishbone”… who’s wish is going to come true?
Turns out that Ken Ahroni thought families might need more than one for the holiday gathering, and it turns out he was right! With more than one million units sold and a lawsuit settled, Ken’s crazy idea was a real cash…um… Turkey?
If you've ever had a dog then you know how much they like to stick their head out the window of a moving car. However, did you know that your canine's favorite pastime can dry out your his eyes?
It's a good thing that there's Doggles – goggles made for dogs. Doggles were created by Roni Di Lullo for her sunlight sensitive pooch. Ever since then, people have been gong barking mad for them. Even the US military bought 120 pairs… the why of which, we can only hope was for a “special Operation”!
My dog is not a fan, but I have a friend with a happy go lucky bulldog and he simply will not go out without his Doggles!
6) The Flowbee
With origins nearly as bizarre as the item itself, the Flowbee was dreamt up by San Diego carpenter Rick Hunts in the late 1980s after he saw how the suction of an industrial vacuum worked to get sawdust out of his hair. The product itself is a hair-clipping device that attaches to a vacuum cleaner, allowing the user to cut their curls with minimal fuss. It sounds almost too ridiculous to be true, yet when Hunts took the Flowbee on to late night TV after selling out of the products at a country fair, a cult legend was born. Before long, the Flowbee had found itself a rival, and it was also the apparent inspiration behind a similar device seen in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World – albeit under the name “Suck Kut.” By the year 2000, two million units had been sold, and at least one barber has given it the nod, noting its ability to save on all the mess created when cutting hair. I am pretty sure they used something like this on me in Boot Camp, but that is another story . By the way, if anyone out there has a working Flowbee, I will buy it from you! Just contact me via our contact page!
5) Silly Putty
Most people probably played with Silly Putty as a kid, but for those less fortunate that haven’t had the opportunity, it’s a sort of pliable blob-like compound that can stretch and bounce and break and can actually life and copy new print and comics! Its creator is disputed – Harvey Chin, Earl Warrick and James Wright are all credited with its invention. However, it was a nearly destitute marketing consultant named Peter Hodgson who turned it into a money generating product. In 1950, armed with a vague plan and an emergency loan of cash and a whole lot of "gumption", Hodgson bought up as much of the stuff as he could lay his hands on and named it “Silly Putty.” The brilliant marketer moved 250,000 units at a dollar apiece in three days, and pretty much ever since then, Silly Putty has been big business. By the time Hodgson died in 1976, Silly Putty was raking in over $5 million a year. For the record, I convinced my brother that I had pulled off my finger and eaten it, all thanks to this wonderful invention!
4) The Snuggie and the Slanket
It’s only a wearable blanket with sleeves, yet it’s netted the people behind it millions. In winter 2008/2009, the Snuggie became a global phenomenon, thanks in no small part to its hugely popular direct-response commercial. Scott Boilen, the president and CEO of New York’s Allstar Product Group, which sells the cold weather wonder, admits that he doesn’t mind the product’s reputation, as it makes viewers pay attention – and become customers. By 2013 more than 30 million Snuggies had been sold, bringing in no less than $500 million for Allstar. Interestingly, the Snuggie wasn’t the first sleeved blanket to hit the shelves. The Slanket, invented by Gary Clegg in 1997, has been sold on QVC since 2007. As Clegg himself says, “In the U.K., The Slanket is their Snuggie – it’s number one. We also focus on delivering superior customer service and providing a quality product.”
3) Slinky ...for fun it's a wonderful toy
The Slinky may possibly be the most unlikely success story in business history. The toy was created in 1943 when a naval engineer by the name of Richard James unintentionally knocked over a spring while at work and watched as it “walked” its way down to the floor via objects at different levels before finally coming to rest. The plaything was developed by James before being launched in 1945, and that is when things broke HUGE for him within a very short timeframe. Although exact figures are hard to come by, it’s estimated that two years after he founded James Industries, the inventor had made the modern equivalent of $1 billion in sales from his toy. From 1945 through 2005, the company delivered over 300 million units – that’s nearly one for every single person in the United States today. After James and his wife separated in 1960, she took over the company and headed it until 1998. This almost absurdly simple toy had brought success beyond the James’ wildest dreams. Not bad going for a "crazy idea" and a repackaged spring!
2) Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pet
With well over 5,000,000 units sold, Chia pets are one seriously crazy idea that has made millions for the creators! In fact, I would say that the Chia Pet has been a serious blessing for the chia seed industry, which are quite good for you. With Chias ranging from Bart Simpson to Chia Cats and even a Willie Robertson beard (think Duck Dynasty) there is certainly a wide variety from which to choose. I still discover new ones all of the time and I am willing to bet I have yet to scratch the surface. If you get tired of growing green sheep and afros on your favorite characters (and who would ever get tired of that?!?!) you could always eat the seeds. You can buy a Chia Pet for around $20, but NEVER sing he jingle near me...
1) The Pet Rock
Long before the Tamagotchi virtual pets, and Chia Pets there was the undisputed world champion of useless pets. The brainchild of advertizing guru Gary Dahl, the Pet Rock reigned supreme and the ultimate useless expenditure of disposable cash. There has never been, before or since, a "pet" that served as little purpose as a Pet Rock and yet nearly 2 million units sold in record time. Thanks to the the era of counter-culture absurdity, the Pet Rock made history as the ulitmate expression inanity ever... anywhere...in history. No tircks, no sounds, no fancy colors, just a rock in a box and a brilliant mareting campaign. This ultimate expression of excess proves the no idea is too crazy when you put the right plan in place!
An interesting note, the Pet Rock resurfaced in 2012 as a USB device that did...umm... still nothing, it was a USB device that did nothing.
nuMedia believes no idea is too outlandish and some of the great device, products and companies have started with notions that many considered foolish and crazy. So don't be shy, contact us with your idea for marketing, techology, what have you, we would love to talk with you about it!