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Alkaloid is the name of a heartburn and indigestion remedy that never made it to market. For marketing purposes, to make the product stand out from the competition, the plan was to use all lower case in the name, although an exception was allowed if it was used at the beginning of a sentence.

The brilliant marketers at the firm that made alkaloid also felt that all lower case would have a more calming effect when contrasted with initial capital letters in the names of competitive products. And, of course, a calming effect was exactly the marketing image that a company would want for a purported heartburn and indigestion remedy.

Alkaloid successfully passed a full screen of rigorous safety and efficacy tests with, as they say, flying colours. However, before taking it to market, the company ran alkaloid through a number of focus groups. Almost to a person, all of the focus group participants said that alkaloid worked very well for them and, while the taste was not great, it was perfectly acceptable. However, the vast majority of the participants said that, rather than a pill they could swallow, as was the case with alkaloid, what they really, really, really wanted was a couple of tablets that they could plop individually into a glass of water, watch them fizz for a while, and then drink the resulting bubbly potion.

As a result of feedback from the focus groups, the company discontinued the development of alkaloid, changed its corporate strategic direction, and began making pinball machines instead.

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