PRIME hydration drinks have taken the South African youth by storm. Hyped up by celebrity influencers Logan Paul and Olajide “KSI” Olatunji, it is all the rage and South African parents were either scurrying to find a bottle for their kids or complaining on social media about the price or supposed dangers of the drink. While it might not be the destiny of PRIME (the official drink of the LA Dodgers), such big-hype products often become one hit wonders. What are some of the best examples of one hit wonders and how do you move your brand to grow beyond that initial va va voom?
Music comes to mind first when talking one hit wonders. Tainted Love by Soft Cell, My Sharona by The Knack, Los de Rio’s Macarena and Come on Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners are just some of the best-known examples. But the one-time phenomenon is not limited to songs. (Read more)
Remember when everyone wore Crocs? While the elegant among us might not even remember the rubber shoe hype, Crocks launched in 2004 and the company’s stocks debuted at $14 per share in February 2006 and quickly surged to $68.98 by October of 2007. By 2008, however, Crocs stock plummeted, lost more than $185 million and had to cut 2000 jobs. But fashion is a funny thing and while there was a good tick over of Crocs between 2008 and 2018 with the sale of 700 million pairs globally, the brand was no longer top of mind. Having said that, since 2021, the brand has made a huge comeback. You’ll see young people wearing them again as fashion influencers and social media collaborations put them back on the map. (Read more)
Sometimes a one hit wonder is all you need – like game designer Alfred Butts’ one hit game: Scrabble. While the best restaurants in the world are rated by Michelin stars, the Michelin brand kept their focus on tyres and very successfully so. Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress was all she needed to establish herself as a globally recognised fashion designer. She’s quoted to say: “It will probably be on my tombstone: ‘Here Lies the Woman Who Designed the Wrap Dress.’” Being famous for one thing is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if it implies a focused approach and doing one thing exceptionally well.
Some one hit wonders last, but others fade. Remember the Rubik’s Cube or Cabbage Patch Kids? These products were so popular, but they didn’t stand the test of time and didn’t manage to introduce a follow up success. The reasons for only being able to introduce a single successful product are not only a lack of investment in another breakthrough product but can also be poor management, a lack of creativity, strategic planning and consumer research. These shortfalls often happen with startups with a lack of savvy and capital.
But even established brands might struggle to introduce new lines. Famous for their pens, Bic’s attempt at introducing an underwear line wasn’t a success neither were toothcare brand Colgate’s go at kitchen products nor Harley Davidson’s cologne. While one hit wonder wines aren’t that well recorded there is a Californian label, One hit wonder and South Africa has a One hit wonder wine club.
So, what to do to prevent being a one hit wonder?
As with everything else, good leadership is essential, but so is a combination of ingenuity, product knowledge and market insight. Brands that want to solve a problem rather than present a gimmick have a better chance of long-term success. But how much of the success lies in offering consumers what they want? Steve Jobs said, “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” According to CareerZot, “Innovation is built on perseverance and thoughtful leadership to foster long-term and compelling connections with consumers.”
In her blog, Mandy Wiener says that her whole experience trying to get her son some PRIME, turned out to be a teachable moment. “There are excellent lessons here in marketing and in how capitalism works.” (Read more) She continues to point out how Checkers capitalised on the opportunity, lessons of exclusivity, the value of money and the depreciation of goods. As someone who always feels that your marketing is only as good as your distribution, the inaccessibility for the enormous demand was an interesting perspective on marketing strategy.
One-hit wonder or not, I always enjoy it when my ideas are challenged and I’m forced to be more open-minded. Just didn’t expect lessons from an “energy drink”.