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[[quoteright:350:[[Disney/MeetTheRobinsons http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_124137_5919.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Uh, back to the drawing board.]]

In RealLife, a product's design may be rejected because it's not cost-effective to make, because it infringes on someone else's patents, because the expected market for it has diminished, or many other dull-but-practical reasons. In fiction, that's not good enough: for a product to be abandoned, something must go disastrously wrong at a meeting of investors or shareholders, or even at a press conference announcing the product's debut. This ''always'' results in the product being cancelled, even if the catastrophe has nothing to do with its quality or lack thereof.

May also apply to demonstrations intended to win a prize or a single sale, rather than to be produced en masse. In the former case, the contestant's entry will be disqualified for a disastrous failure, even if said failure was in no way its creator's fault.

A subtrope of GoneHorriblyWrong. The product, itself, is a mercantile equivalent of TheScapegoat. Compare SabotageToDiscredit and FlawedPrototype. If a competitor flagrantly stages one of these with an otherwise-safe product to make their own gadget look better in contrast, see TooIncompetentToOperateABlanket. See also TestingRangeMishap.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Invoked in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' with the Jet Alone demonstration. Gendo is worried the competing mecha will be a problem for NERV so he has Ritsuko sabotage the demonstration. Having a combat vehicle go out of control and nearly suffer a nuclear meltdown in a populated city was enough to get it scrapped.

* In the original ''Amazing Franchise/SpiderMan'', Dr. Octavius has problems during his new invention's demonstration, which sets him on the path to become supervillain ComicBook/DoctorOctopus. The movie ''Film/SpiderMan2'' carried over this element of his origin-story.
* Played with in the ''ComicBook/MegaMan'' comic. Blues' power failure during the test fight convinces the military to simply scale back the nature of the combat robots they want to order from Dr. Light instead of cancelling it outright.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* A famous New Yorker magazine cartoon by Peter Arno, which shows the disastrous aftermath of a test plane flight, is actually what popularized the phrase "Back to the (old) drawing board." with its caption.
* A common event in ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}''. For example, when Dilbert demonstrates his team's 3-D holographic interface for the new VP, the Dark Angel of Product Demos shows up inside the monitor (alongside Wally who's pretending to ''be'' the interface), tells the VP the product is a fake, and shows her some dirty photos the male engineers have been storing on the server.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars 2}}'', the Lemons exploit this trope, actively conspiring to discredit green fuels by engineering terrible wrecks during a worldwide racing demonstration by vehicles using the Allinol biofuel.
* In ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'', Bowler Hat Guy tries to pass Lewis' invention as his own to a corporate board. As he doesn't know the first thing about how to operate it, the meeting is a complete debacle.
** This also happened to Lewis with his earlier prototypes, as seen in the page image. He manages to cope well until this happens with his final model at a science fair [[spoiler: really a case of SabotageToDiscredit by the Bowler Hat Guy]] [[TheLastStraw at which point he snaps and tries to give up on inventing entirely]].
* Many of Flint's demonstrated inventions in ''WesternAnimation/CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs'', even the main plot is a case of one GoneHorriblyRight.
* Happens in the backstory of ''Disney/BigHero6'' - [[spoiler: the BigBad's daughter]] was lost during a demonstration of a prototype PortalNetwork.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/RiseOfThePlanetOfTheApes'', Bright Eyes escapes and rampages through the biotech company's facility, until she's shot right in front of its board of directors. The serum that made her intelligent is immediately shelved, even though her escape was a result of handlers' errors and her own MamaBear nature, not the serum.
* ''Franchise/RoboCop'' franchise:
** In ''Film/RoboCop1987'', the demonstration of a glitching ED-209 results in one of the company's lesser executives becoming LudicrousGibs. (Maybe using [[TooDumbToLive live ammo in a demonstration]] was [[{{Understatement}} a bad idea here]].) The ED design is sent back to the drawing board in favor of Robocop.
** In ''Film/RoboCop2'', the Robocop Mk. 2 prototypes end up committing suicide within seconds of being unveiled. The first one also shot several technicians, which is why they didn't give the second one a gun. Also, Robocop Mk. 2 goes berserk in front of a large press corps when [=OCP=] holds an event to promote its new police-cyborg.
** Averted in ''Film/RoboCop2014''. At first it looks like it'll be played straight -- Murphy suffers a HeroicBSOD while downloading the police database, including CCTV footage of the car-bombing that maimed him. Ordered to get him on his feet immediately for Robocop's first press conference, Dr Norton tampers with Murphy's neurochemistry to completely repress his emotions. Murphy stomps past his family and ignores the Mayor's outstretched hand, scanning them and everyone else in the crowd for potential threats. Fortunately he sees one - a man wanted for murder - and leaps into the crowd and tasers him. The event is then spun as an example of Robocop's amazing abilities in comparison to regular law enforcement, who failed to notice a wanted man in their midst.
* In ''Film/{{Splice}}'', the transgenic organisms Fred and Ginger tear each other apart during a live TV promotion for their creators' gene-splicing technology. The program that created them is cancelled because of the debacle.
* ''Film/YoungFrankenstein'': Freddy introduces his monster in a song-and-dance routine, which goes fine until a stage light bursts into flame, which scares the monster into going on a rampage.
* Something always goes wrong when introducing [[Film/KingKong Kong]] to the general public.
* Creator/CharlieChaplin's like this trope:
** ''Film/ModernTimes'' has a gag in which a salesman pitches a mechanical feeding device (to save time on lunch breaks) by testing it on the Tramp.
** In ''Film/TheGreatDictator'' the inventions by Adenoid Hynkel's scientists fail on demonstration. Played for laughs, but not without a jod of MoodDissonance.
*** The man in the bulletproof uniform receives an InstantDeathBullet and dies on the spot.
*** The man with a [[HammerspaceParachute parachute in his hat]] falls from a window to his death. We [[GoryDiscretionShot only see the reactions by Hynkel and Herring]].
* In ''[[Film/HoneyIShrunkTheKids Honey We Shrunk Ourselves]]'', Wayne's less-than-impressive presentation is implied to have lost a major deal, with the investors leaving looking dissatisfied.
* In ''Film/YoungEinstein'', Preston Preston steals Einstein's beer-bubble-maker and, in his ignorance, nearly nukes London in his attempt to demonstrate it.
* In ''Film/DealOfTheCentury'', when a UAV is launched at a military aircraft demonstration, it malfunctions and destroys the expo. The design is justifiably scrapped when these technical difficulties are found to have resulted from the drone not being water-resistant.
-->'''General''': This is a great day for the Air Force, Senator!
-->'''Senator''' ''(about ready to run for his life)'': Why is that, General?
-->'''General''': [[InterServiceRivalry Because the Navy ordered twenty of those disasters!]]
* Invoked in ''Film/IronMan2'', when the villain deliberately waits until the new military drones are being displayed at a massive product-premiere event before usurping control of them and siccing them on Iron Man. Tony also plays footage at the Senate hearing of this trope afflicting North Korea's, Iran's, and Hammer's attempts to build power armor.
* Hal's defeat of the drone planes in ''Film/GreenLantern'' came close to this, but Carol's fast-talking subverted her company's loss of its contract.
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Film/JMenForever''. Admiral Ballsy demonstrates the dangerous effects of rock & roll music to the FCC ([[FunWithAcronyms Federal Culture Control]]). The sound waves destroy a flask of milk being used as the target, then the window behind it, then an entire skyscraper.
* In ''Film/{{Scanners}}'', the famous exploding-head scene takes place at what was ''supposed'' to be [=ConSec=]'s official debut of its scanner program before representatives of other intelligence agencies.
* In ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'', Magneto hijacks the Sentinel prototypes at their public debut to provide a high-profile platform for his attack and NewEraSpeech.
* In ''Film/{{Joy}}'', the man hired to demonstrate the mop Joy invented live on a shopping channel obviously didn't bother to touch the thing before stepping in front of the cameras and trying to sell it. Needless to say, the demonstration went poorly.
* ''Those Fantastic Flying Fools'' (aka ''Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon''). [[MadScientist Professor Von Bulow]]'s wacky inventions include a Prussian Helmet Cannon that nearly kills the Kaiser, and a bridge that collapses during the RibbonCuttingCeremony.

* Subverted in the ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' series. Lando Calrissian founds a company to build high-quality battle droids to act as {{Elite Mook}}s against the Yuuzhan Vong invaders. They end the demonstration and the prototype promptly opens fire on the crowd ... revealing the Yuuzhan Vong infiltrators spying on the event. The droid did ''exactly'' what it was supposed to.
** Zigzagged when Lando reveals that, ''of course'', with the head of state and a half-dozen influential generals in the next hovercar over, the droid isn't carrying heavy ordnance and has a power regulator on its blasters (meaning it can't shoot much more than a laser pointer). When this reduced arsenal understandably fails to stop the infiltrators, YVH 1-1A demonstrates a further feature, [[ItCanThink its flexible heuristic combat routines]]. Translation: it bear-hugs them to death.
* In the original ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'', during the golden ticket hunt, a machine is showcased that is supposed to be able to grab at anything with gold inside of it, allowing the owner to find the golden ticket without unwrapping the chocolate bars. Instead, it immediately went for someone's [[TheToothHurts gold filling]] and was promptly destroyed by the outraged crowd.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* One episode of ''Series/HoneyIShrunkTheKids'''s TV spinoff featured an alternative-energy car (powered primarily by burping) that Szelinksi felt might revolutionize the industry ... however a traveler from the future warned them that something had gone wrong during its planned production, resulting in a Bad Future, and they had to find a way to stop it. It was ultimately the foul-smelling exhaust that turned investors off.
* In a blackout sketch on ''Series/TheBennyHillShow'' he plays a TV pitchman selling a new cleaning product; he tosses some liquid (juice?) on the wall and a man in a labcoat uses the product to clean up - except the product doesn't clean off the stain, it cleans the wall's decorative paint off while leaving the stain.
* In ''Series/TheITCrowd'', Moss's prototype bra that he is trying to get investors for production has a bad habit of spontaneous combustion.
** An even better example occurs in the "4th Season" special. Moss has developed his own personal Pepper Spray, and the IT Team decide to market it as a Pepper Spray for women. [[spoiler: Que bad packaging/marketing causing it to be mistaken for perfume at their product unveiling.]]
* Used on ''Dark Matters: Twisted But True'', to dramatize setbacks in TruthInTelevision research, e.g. dentist Horace Wells' pioneering use of nitrous oxide for anesthesia.
* When investigators on ''Series/CSICrimeSceneInvestigation'' visit an industrial shredding operation, the foreman explains that the piece of equipment they're shredding at the moment was a prototype that broke down during a promotional demo.
* On ''Series/HogansHeroes'', the prisoners invoked this trope when they arranged for a remote-control prototype tank to destroy an officer's car and then explode. In another episode, they sabotaged a prototype noiseless aircraft engine so that it made a hellacious racket.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' - in the second half of the Architect Sketch, Eric's presentation model for a high-rise block of flats lists over, partially collapses, then actually explodes and catches fire...but thanks to his Freemason connections, the planning board approves it. (Note: this sketch was done soon after a newly-built state-of-the-art highrise in London actually ''did'' catastrophically fall apart - hence the flashing caption "SATIRE" over this sketch.)
* In the shopping channel task of Series 3 of ''Series/TheApprentice'' (UK), the cliché shown below under 'other' really happened -- Kristina tried to sell a floor cleaner, but because it wasn't plugged in it only spread the dirt around. And that wasn't the most cringeworthy demonstration in that episode, either.
** Nor was it the most cringeworthy demonstration in the entire series, as the team demonstrating a risotto recipe kit (Series 13) found out.
* The Muppet Labs sketches from ''Series/TheMuppetShow'' run on this trope. Perhaps the most notable example is in the Gilda Radner episode, where Dr. Honeydew's new super glue is spilled all over the theater, causing problems throughout the remainder of the show.
** When Don Knotts guest-starred, he appeared in a skit as a scientist unveiling a newly discovered creature. He talks about how the cage the creature is in is escape-proof, only for it to slip through the bars immediately afterwards. As it runs amok in the lab, Knotts assures the audience that the creature is harmless, which is the creature's cue to attack him. [[MonsterIsAMommy And then the creature's mother shows up...]]
* Several such mishaps occur in ''Series/StargateSG1''. A prototype energy weapon was canned after firing it once shut down the entire primary power system for Stargate Command. Played with in another occasion: they're demonstrating a new kind of body armor that should be resistant to the staff weapon blasts used by the Goa'uld. They demonstrate this by shooting Syler with a staff weapon. The blast knocks him off his feet and sets him on fire, which seems very bad... but it's then pointed out (after he's hurriedly extinguished) that other than slightly winded and a bit singed, Syler is just fine, whereas a staff blast at that range would otherwise have been ''lethal''.
* Some of the ghosts from the second ''Series/SapphireAndSteel'' story were civilian workers on a 1938 submarine prototype, who died of asphyxiation after the vessel they were running through sea trials got stuck on the sea floor in mid-demonstration.
* Invoked in ''Series/{{Dracula}}'' when Dracula's large-scale public demonstration of his wireless electricity device causes a deadly explosion, due to being sabotaged by [[spoiler:[[FaceHeelTurn Jonathan Harker]]]] on the AncientConspiracy's orders. It's intended to destroy Dracula's public persona and power base as a wealthy, visionary industrialist, but the series was CutShort at that episode.

[[folder: Tabletop games]]
* ''Tabletopgame/BattleTech'' has many, most of which are in the ''Experimental Technical Readout: Boondoggles'' - a collection of {{Flawed Prototype}}s. The LIB-4T ''Liberator'' had a torso design that made it incapable of [[OverHeating dealing with its hot engine]], leading to the battlemech's torso violently exploding during a live-fire demonstration when the heat caused its ammo to cook-off; the design was then canned and the prototype was later used as target practice (ironically by a descendant of the tank that ''it'' was using as target practice). The Bright Star jumpship was built to explore systems autonomously with no crew. Come demonstration day, the ship goes along its assigned 10 planned jumps before going off the rails, jumping from system to system for decades or possibly even centuries.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* One optional mission in ''VideoGame/StarcraftIIWingsOfLiberty'' begins with a public demonstration of [[TheEmpire the Dominion]]'s new super-high-tech HumongousMecha, the Odin, which unbeknownst to the crowd has been hijacked by [[LaResistance Raynor's Raiders]]. Emperor Mengsk's prerecorded speeches about how his scientists and engineers have created "the ultimate response to the [[BugWar zerg threat]]" play periodically as a counterpoint to the Odin stomping over parked cars and blowing apart military bases.
* VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheUnwoundFuture begins with Layton and Luke witnessing a public demonstration of a time machine. It explodes, with the prime minster as the test subject in it. [[spoiler:All according to plan, it was staged to capture him.]] It is later revealed that this isn't the first time a time machine has exploded.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''
** In the pilot, the "Lexo-Skel Suit 5000" is stolen by Kaznian mercenaries during its demonstration. Turns out, however, [[EvilPlan that this disaster was planned by Lex Luthor]] to get the military to buy even more powerful and expensive versions from him since there wasn't anything wrong with the machine itself. [[spoiler:Also, the "theft" was a sham; in fact, Luthor had illegally sold the suit to the Kaznians.]]
** In a later episode this is played somewhat more straight, with an anti-missile weapon called the Sky Sentry failing to activate during its unveiling. After Lex had ordered [[WhatAnIdiot two actual missiles]] fired at the building it was unveiled at. Ultimately it's revealed that Brainiac had sabotaged the machine to lure Lex to him.
* In the episode "Critters" of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' (Well, technically ''The New Batman Adventures''), Farmer Brown's demonstration of giant farm animals goes awry when the giant sheep he's presenting breaks out of its cage. The idea behind the giant animals was to create a means to end world hunger, but because of the incident Farmer Brown was ordered to stop his work. Which of course led to him becoming the villain of the episode.
* Almost every Sumdac Systems prototype in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', from the pilot episode onwards.

[[folder: Other]]
* The classic cliche is the door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, who starts by dumping dirt (or worse) on someone's carpet to demonstrate the amazing cleaning power of his vacuum, only for something to go terribly wrong.
** One joke goes like this, after the victim repeatedly telling the salesman he has no use for a vacuum: "If this vacuum can't clean up this pile of garbage, I'll eat it!" *click* *click* *click* "They cut the power a week ago... you want some salt and pepper?"

[[folder: Real Life]]
* A man fell to his death from his law firm's high-rise office building while attempting to show off the sturdiness of the glass windows [[WhatAnIdiot by ramming into them.]] In a way, he was right, for it wasn't the glass that broke - the window ''popped out of its frame.'' This story won a Website/DarwinAward.
* The original launch of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Passenger_Train Advanced Passenger Train]] in the winter of 1981 was a publicity disaster from which the project never recovered.
* One of the reasons why "bat bombs" -- real bats rigged with minute explosive charges -- were never deployed in WWII was because the wrong ones were released during a demonstration, and carried their ''live'' explosives into the rafters of the building where their military potential was being studied. Ka-boom.
* [[http://www.couriermail.com.au/archive/news/horvaths-hydrogen-fairlane/story-e6freoro-1111119160884 Australian politician Joh Bjelke-Petersen's farce with the so-called hydrogen car]].
* When the Columbia Mark IX, a prototype automobile with the Entz Magnetic Transmission, was taken out on its test run, the transmission threw out a spark which hit the gas tank. The resulting fire destroyed the car.
* In February 1982, a RealLife version of the ED 209 incident in ''Film/RoboCop1987'' occured during a demonstration of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M247_Sergeant_York#DIVAD DIVAD]] automatic anti-aircraft gun. As soon as the computer was activated it aimed its guns [[EpicFail at the VIPs attending]]. Thankfully, the only injuries were the ones the brass got while scrambling for cover.
* Windows 98 infamously crashed during its [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73wMnU7xbwE 1998 COMDEX Unveiling]], showing the consumers the first of ''many'' [[BlueScreenOfDeath Blue Screens Of Death]] to come. Rather than being cancelled, however, this didn't even so much as slow its release.
* A tool-assisted {{Speedrun}} of ''VideoGame/{{Gradius}}'', running on an actual UsefulNotes/NintendoEntertainmentSystem, desynced at the 2014 WebVideo/AwesomeGamesDoneQuick.
* The ''Vasa'', a huge warship built at great expense at the orders of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. When tested during construction it turned out to be too top-heavy and unstable, but the king was impatient for the ship to be launched and no one had the courage to tell him it was too dangerous. On 10 August 1628 the ship embarked on its maiden voyage from Stockholm in full view of hundreds--if not thousands--of local residents as well as several foreign ambassadors. A few minutes after it encountered any wind stronger than a breeze it heeled so far to the side that water got in through the lower gun ports, ruining its ability to right itself and quickly causing the ship to sink. The King was furious and there was a huge BlameGame during the inquest into the cause of the sinking, but ultimately no one was punished for the fiasco.
* In the late 1930s, Lockheed was developing a new interceptor, the twin-boomed XP-38 Lightning. The Army was so impressed with the secret project, that they made it public and arranged for Lockheed to perform a transcontinental speed run to demonstrate the new aircraft's performance. Unfortunately, the pilot undershot the runway and crash-landed, totaling the plane. In a {{subversion}} of the trope, the Army was still delighted with the aircraft, and ordered a development run of thirteen more YP-38s with various changes and improvements. The P-38 Lightning would go on to be one of the most successful American fighters of the war.
* Similarly to the Lockheed XP-38 Lightning, Boeing had a crash with one of their prototypes, the Model 299, being developed to compete for a new Army requirement for a long-range heavy bomber. The prototype crashed on takeoff on 30 October, 1935, resulting in the deaths of two of the crew. A crash investigation revealed that a safety pin had not been removed from one of the control surfaces, resulting in the plane being uncontrollable. One long-term result of this is the modern aviation practice of using checklists to ensure no minor or major detail is overlooked. Like the Lockheed Lightning, the Boeing 299 was still able to enter service as the B-17 Flying Fortress, one of the most successful bombers of the war.