Museum of Failure showcases flops at Hollywood and Highland

In Art, Arts & Entertainment, Lifestyle, Top Stories
A row of failed products lined up on display with descriptions of each at the Museum of Failures.
(Priscilla Carcido / Daily Titan)

Colgate has built a fail-safe reputation over the years with its iconic products, as its toothpaste has become an essential item in most homes.

But even Colgate will be the first to say it’s had its fair share of less-than-stellar ideas. The dental hygiene brand’s frozen food line in the 1980s is evidence.

Colgate’s beef lasagna is just one of the many items found in the Museum of Failure.

Originally displayed in Sweden, the Museum of Failure opened in Hollywood on March 8. The pop-up museum has over 100 fails and flops of the world’s most reputable brands: Gerber, Levi’s, Harley-Davidson, Kellogg’s, Nike and the list goes on.

Samuel West, Ph.D., is the curator of the museum. Interested in the dynamic between innovation and failure, West created the exhibit to inspire visitors to learn from failure and keep trying.

Julia Finch, an employee of the museum, said West was particular with the featured failures in the museum when they met.

“You can tell that it’s important to him that this isn’t just a random collection of things. It’s more of a learning opportunity,” Finch said. “(We can) grow and learn from our mistakes and feel like we can try new things.”

Kellogg’s OJ’s was on store shelves for only a year in the 1980s before the brand discontinued its orange-flavored cereal.

The 1995 Nike Magneto is a pair of sunglasses without the temples, and only a bridge, lenses and magnets to stay on people’s face. The only problem was people had to glue a magnet to their head for the product to work.

Nike nixed the product two years later in 1997.

Gerber’s Singles, released in 1974, were supposed to offer a solution to the struggle of cooking. Using its tried-and-tested concept of jarred baby food, the brand offered creamed beef and mediterranean vegetables for adults. The product lasted only a year.

Sammi Wallschlaeger, a Los Angeles native, heard about the museum a while ago and has been wanting to visit.

Finally deciding to check it out, Wallschlaeger was particularly intrigued by My Friend Cayla – a voice-recognition doll that could carry conversations and tell stories to children. It was later discovered that the conversations with children were recorded, sent to data centers and sold to marketers, which breached privacy, security and basic ethical standards.

“I’m just like ‘This is so bizarre. How did that ever get made?’” Wallschlaeger said.

The museum also displayed fails that were a little more epic more than jarred adult food.

The real-life Ship of Dreams that inspired the fictional love story between Jack and Rose in “Titanic” (1997) is also featured in the museum. Despite being designed with the latest marine technology, the RMS Titanic infamously hit an iceberg and sunk in the North Atlantic in 1912.

The museum also has a Failure Confessional booth where visitors can offer their own epic fails for others to read. Hundreds of neon Post-it notes decorated the walls as people revealed their humorous, sad and random fails. A few read:

“Walking around NYC looking for the Empire State Building only to realize I was walking around it and all I had to do was look up.”

“Starting my 1st semester in college as a geology major. It does not rock…”

“Choking on the final guy on Fortnite – worst feeling ever.”

By displaying the major and minor fails of companies that tried to cultivate the perfect formula for success, the Museum of Failure aims to establish the inevitability of failure and the necessity of perseverance.

“If you have an idea, it’s always possible that it might actually come into fruition, and it might totally epically fail, but at least it existed and at least you tried,” Wallschlaeger said.

The museum will be in Los Angeles until March 8, 2019. Tickets can be purchased online and cost $19 for adults.

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