7 notorious flops that didn't flop as hard as Trump's Tulsa rally

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Monday 22 June 2020 09:45
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(Getty/Sony)

Donald Trump hates being humiliated.

Which is why the president is reportedly furious at the events that transpired at his first rally in three months.

Held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a “safe state” for the president, the rally was supposed to be packed, with Trump’s team boasting they had over one million people applying for a seat in the 19,000 capacity stadium.

The low turnout was in part thanks in part to teen K Pop fans. who reserved boatloads of tickets despite having no intention of attending. In the end, only 6,200 people turned up, That’s 32 per cent of people expected. It’s on par with Toby Young’s stag do.

But maybe some more perspective is needed. Here’s nine other major flops that still didn’t flop quite as hard as Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally.

1. Nintendo's Virtual Boy

Even in 2020, with all its technological advances, virtual reality has still not taken off as it was predicted to. So imagine how bad it was in 1995. Perhaps that’s why Nintendo’s Virtual Boy console, which offered a “3D experience”, flopped so hard. It was discontinued less than a year later and holds the dubious honour of being the company’s worst selling console. And yet, with 770,000 units sold, it’s still less of a flop than Trump’s rally.

2. Glitter

9/11 killed Glitter. At least that’s what Mariah Carey claims. And to be fair, having a scheduled release date of 11 September 2001 probably did not do any favours for Glitter’s box office takings. But it was also a terrible move. It has retrospectively become a cult classic however, a la Showgirls, which Trump’s Tulsa rally certainly will not.

3. New Coke

New Coke” has gone down in history as one of the biggest marketing failures of all time. In 1985, the Coca Cola Company announced it would be reformulating Coke. People stockpiled the “old” Coke, ran a targeted campaign for the formula not to be changed and there were even protests demanding Coke return to its beloved, familiar taste. But was this a “blunder”? In the 79 days it took the Coca Cola Company to return the old formula to shelves (which it had never really disappeared from anyway), their sales had skyrocketed, they’d received huge amounts of promotion and now they had two new products (the “old” Coke was brought back as Coca Cola Classic) that people were desperately curious about. More like a triumph of advertising strategy than anything else. History will not attach the same analysis to the Tulsa rally.

4. Sony Betamax

The war between Betamax and VHS was lost when Sony exclusively kept the Betamax technology for itself. It might have been better, but it wasn’t as widely adopted and cost more. Which meant VHS eventually won the fight. However, the last Sony Betamax was made in 2016, 40 years after they were first introduced. So someone was still buying them. Hence, less of a flop than Tulsa.

5. Charlie's Angels (2019)

Elizabeth Banks’ 2019 Charlie’s Angels reboot was too big to fail. It starred Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinksa. A single made by Ariana Grande, Lana del Rey and Miley Cyrus was released alongside the film. There were cameos from the likes of Laverne Cox. The film was meant to be a fun, frothy blockbuster. Unfortunately it was a giant flop, and made only $8.4m in its opening weekend, short of the $10m it was projected to do. Yet, this is still better than Trump’s 68 per cent drop in attendance against his projections.

6. Bionic by Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera’s 2010 dalliance with electronic music was considered a flop. But it still managed to hit number one in the UK, despite being the lowest selling number one album since 2002. Number one is number one. Still better than Tulsa.

7. Google Glass

What happened to smart glasses? For a brief moment they were predicted to be the next big thing. When Google Glass made a prototype that had a camera, a on-lens display screen and touchpad. They were the next step in "augmented reality". FKA Twigs even made a video using them. But then Google announced in 2015 they were discontinuing the product after poor sales. However, Glass made a surprise return in 2017 and is still going strong, with a new product released in the line this year. It’s not a mainstream item but it’s there.

And that resurgence places it above Trump’s sad little gathering.

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