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  • Apple's product range during the tail end of the 1980s and early 1990s had degenerated from the insane greatness of the classic Macintosh to the extraordinarily bland Performa range; although the Powerbooks sold well, and the Power Macs and Quadras got good reviews, none of the company's products were particularly exciting. Strapped for cash, Apple even took to licensing clones of the Mac hardware, which raised money in the short term whilst eating into long-term Macintosh sales. The company was in pretty bad shape before Steve Jobs came back in 1997 and the original iMac was released in 1998. And it took them a few more years after that to finally get rid of the mess that the classic Mac OS had become.
  • In The Eighties, Coca-Cola decided to change its secret formula that most of the world had been drinking for the better part of a century. Ironically, the "New Coke" as the media dubbed it, tasted more like Coke's chief rival, Pepsi (part of the whole point, actually). Die-hard Coca-Cola drinkers said "They Changed It, Now It Sucks" and Pepsi drinkers kept on drinking Pepsi. This new formula actually made Pepsi the number-one selling soft drink for a while, partly because most of its advertising during the period was "hate the New Coke? Drink Pepsi!" Pepsi actually saw the New Coke blunder as such a major win, they gave all their employees a day off in celebration. New Coke was actually rebranded (quietly) as "Coke II" but quietly faded to its death in the late 1990s and finally perished in the early 2000s. This debacle became a running joke for years. Even in Futurama, the "Slurm" episode poked fun at it.
    • Of course, if they knew this would happen and that their sales would skyrocket once they re-released the formula in the form of Coca-Cola Classic, this would be one of the most successful Xanatos Gambits of all time. Considering all the other dumb ideas corporate executives have, it wouldn't be the one bit surprising if it were true; eventually a dumb idea has to pay off, right?
      • When questioned about that very possibility, an executive cryptically replied 'We're not that smart and we're not that stupid.'
      • It's not cryptic. Coke based its decision on one of the most heavily researched marketing investigations they could imagine, and everything came back saying that people preferred New Coke. As it happens, it became an object lesson that market research can't always get it right no matter how certain it seems. Coke did what pretty much everybody would have done in its place. Then, when they realized their mistake, did an about-face and restored the product. In fact, in many ways, it's the pinnacle of a good management team: smart enough to make the rational choice based on evidence and smart enough to change that when the evidence changes.
    • Dave Barry lampooned this in one of his books with a "test your business IQ" question that went something like "You are the world's largest manufacturer of soft drinks. You are using a tested and proven formula that has remained the same for nearly a century. Your product's name is virtually synonymous with 'soft drink' in many areas. You should:" Of the choices, one of them was "Immediately change your formula" (another, aimed at a more or less contemporaneous Pepsi PR disaster, was something like "Set a celebrity on fire").
      • New Coke's failure may have been averted had Coca-Cola made the decision to keep Coke-Classic and New Coke on the market at the same time, thus avoiding the backlash of Classic Coke drinkers and keeping fans of New Coke happy.
  • CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has one of these every five years or so, always as a result of network/government bigwigs trying to draw in new audiences by making it more "relevant". This naturally turns-off long term fans (who watched CBC precisely because it doesn't typically trade in Lowest Common Denominator fare), while "mainstream" audiences get their entertainment elsewhere.
  • In the early 1990s, Misaimed Marketing reared its ugly head in Las Vegas and the infamous attempt to expand its appeal to tourists by rebranding the city as a destination for family vacations resulted. Every Strip hotel built over 1990-93 had at least one theme park-esque attraction -- the new MGM Grand had an actual theme park -- and theme. Adult tourists who preferred to gamble and party without dodging kids were upset; hotel-casino staffs couldn't handle the unique needs of families; cases of parents rushing off to the gaming tables and leaving their kids to fend for themselves made the news (one abandoned child ended up kidnapped and murdered); and the theme park turned out to be a bomb. This age firmly ended with the debut of the very adult, classy Bellagio in 1998; while the hotels that opened to serve families are still around, they have had their interiors progressively dethemed in recent years and their entertainment mix mostly excludes families.
  • Disneyland had one in the mid-90s through 2003 when it was run by Paul Pressler. He thought people came to the parks for shopping and dining, cut off a lot of the upkeep budget, closed down classic yet expensive to maintain rides (like the Submarines, Skyway and Motorboats), an ugly, rusty and brownish redo of Tomorrowland and the poor replacement of the Main Street Electrical Parade with Light Magic. This was also the era in which California Adventure opened... fortunately, after the merger of Pixar and Disney -- and the appointment of Pixar creative head John Lasseter as Principal Creative Advisor of theme parks -- things appear to be turning around. California Adventure may even be Rescued From the Scrappy Heap!
    • Sadly, a new one started around 2015 under the thumb of Bob Chapek, which included the closure and demolition of DisneyQuest, gratuitous IP spam, and the very cheap makeover that is "Pixar Pier" that didn't amount to much of anything. Even Star Wars Galaxy's Edge, otherwise considered the best aspect of the Chapek era (with Pandora and Mission Breakout not far behind), was based on the infamous Disney trilogy.
  • Jack in the Box (the restaurant) had one between 1980 and 1994. Read more about it on Wikipedia. In short, what happened was originally Jack in the Box had a typical West Coast hamburger stand feel to it: you talked into the clown's mouth to order, and advertising featured an early version of Jack as well as several other characters. But in 1980, the chain ran a series of commercials where Jack was destroyed. New marketing was toward the "affluent yuppies". The menu expanded at an alarming rate of two new items a year. They even tried to rename the restaurant to "Monterey Jack's". After the e. Coli disaster of the early 1990s, the company managed to get back in place and relaunch Jack in 1994. It's been successful since.
  • Remember all those great cars Detroit came out with in The Seventies? No?
    • The Ford Mustang II, 1974-78. Basically a Pinto with a fancier body, no V8 option and enough mid-70s chrome, vinyl and fake wood for a much larger car. Ford was returning the car to its roots as basically an economy car with a big engine after the previous car had gotten larger and become decent road racing platform. Sales for the Mustang II were actually much better than the late 60s/early 70s Mustangs, but it alienated enthusiasts. Even after it got a V8, never before or since have so many car guys been so disappointed to see their favorite sports car get lighter and more nimble...
  • Food preservation technologies developed during WWII spawned a wave of food production emphasizing price and speed over quality. In America this nearly destroyed drip coffee's reputation and spurred the organic and slow food movements. Entire websites like Lileks Gallery of Regrettable Food show some of the awful recipes to come out of this era.
  • Many believe this is happening with newspapers. It doesn't help that many of them go through a version of the process described by Dave Barry above - they change their format to attract younger readers. The people who already read the papers don't like the new version, and the people the papers are trying to attract don't notice because they don't read papers.
  • You've probably seen an old picture of yourself and thought "Oh my God, I can't believe I thought that looked good."
    • Especially if you were born before the 80s, Afro/Perm, anyone?
  • Many people during their teenage years experiment radically with different lifestyle choices, only to feel regret for them later in life.
  • That painful time when Cartoon Network attempted to put more emphasis on live action programming.
  • Rede Record of Brazil suffered a very painful one from 1968 to 1990, caused mainly by the skyrocket trajectory of Rede Globo's telenovelas and the rise of another Brazilian TV network, SBT. Edir Macedo and a lot of investments' however, were enough to end this Dork Age and today, Record is now in second place in the ratings (a position once held by SBT). Surprisingly, Record's resurgence may have been a primary factor behind the downfall of subsequent closure of rival network, Rede Manchete (mentioned below).
  • Another Brazilian network, Rede Manchete also suffered one caused by the death of its founder, Adolpho Bloch, poorly performing telenovelas, and worker protests, and this led to its closure in 1999.
  • Nine Network of Australia was stuck in one which started in 2005 when Seven unleashed a successful line-up. They attempted to reverse it by relaunching Nine with a new logo, but it ended up in a disaster as Nine lost its dominance to Seven in 2007. However, they were able to end it with a more successful relaunch.
  • Because of poor ratings in its programs, unknown stars, and tremendous controversies, GMA Network of the Philippines may just be suffering from one.
    • Compare this big time with ABS-CBN (also from the Philippines), which only enjoys massive success in its life and only gets a short Dork Age. It may probably be because of the badass management skills of its chairman, Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III.
  • SBT, another Brazilian TV network, had a painful one, which was caused by the ratings advances of Rede Record and Rede Bandeirantes, and continued until 2009, and while it lasted, an unlucky event happened: SBT lost second place to Rede Record. However, they ended it with rebooting its shows (such as making Celso Portiolli host of Domingo Legal, formerly hosted by Gugu Liberato) and unleashing new versions of two telenovelas, namely Carossel and Chiquititas.
  • When TV5 (of the Philippines) was still ABC-5, it suffered a Dork Age in 2001, caused by the increasing competition between ABS-CBN and GMA, lack of funds, and failed programs. However, the relaunch of the network to TV5 ultimately ended it.
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