Have a Nose for Flops? You Might Be a ‘Harbinger of Failure’
Loved the new “Fantastic Four” but hated the latest “Star Wars” movie? Are you a fan of the short-lived Diet Crystal Pepsi but not Arizona Iced Tea?
Then you’re at odds with many people but perhaps part of a group that scholars have labeled “harbingers of failure.”
“The people who are buying failures keep buying failures,” said Duncan Simester, one of the researchers and a marketing professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. While Simester and his colleagues studied shoppers’ decisions about packaged goods, the same tendencies could apply to choices in financial markets, with stock-picking, and among cultural offerings, such as books, music and movies.
That means that in addition to relying on focus groups and instinct to decide which creative endeavors to back, publishing houses, music labels and movie studios might want to gauge how harbingers of failure react to a new project. If it’s a unanimous thumbs-up, the house may well have a loser on its hands.
The study, published recently in the Journal of Marketing Research, refines the notion that when pushing a new product, any followers—and sales—are welcome. Instead, Simester said, the findings suggest that “you’ve got to think about who’s buying” the product—whether a new book or a bottle of shampoo. If shoppers with “mass-market” tastes are lining up for the new offerings, that’s “fantastic,” he said. “But if it’s these harbingers buying them….and if they keep buying them…then you’ve got a problem.”
The authors define failures, such as Frito Lay Lemonade, as products that didn’t click with shoppers within three years of their debut on store shelves. By contrast, successful items, such as the Swiffer mop, caught on after their launch....MORE
Oh he's got flop affinity:
Walk, with flop affinity
Talk, with flop afinity
Smile, with flop affinity
Charm, with flop affinity
Love, with flop affinity...