Remember when Bluetooth headsets were a convenient, socially acceptable way to answer your cellphone without having to take it out of your pocket?
Now, many cheap pairs of headphones come with built-in microphones that don't make you look like an idiot, but imagine if you could answer your calls without needing to fuss with any accessory. That's what drove Darrin Johnson to enter the "Shark Tank" in the pilot episode of the reality pitch show.
He presented his Ionic Ear, a Bluetooth device that could be surgically implanted in the user's ear canal. It required a cotton swab-sized charger to be inserted every night.
In the past six seasons of "Shark Tank," no product has been so out of touch with what consumers needed or desired, and no presentation has been as awkward as Johnson's.
"That was the worst pitch," investor Barbara Corcoran tells Business Insider. Corcoran brought it up in a special retrospective segment on the series' 100th episode, and all of the investors agreed that it would be hard to top the Ionic Ear. (Johnson, a telecommunications engineer, did not respond to a request for comment.)
Here's a breakdown of the pitch.Darrin Johnson wants $1 million for a 15% stake in his proposed company, Ionic Ear. Funding would go toward developing the product.
As Johnson explains his implantable technology, Daymond John looks dumbfounded. The device is "implanted" into some other device, right?
No, the device is surgically implanted into the neck, below the ear.
The device is inserted at an angle into the ear canal, transmitting sound before the ear drum.
Corcoran, John, and Kevin O'Leary start laughing, but Robert Herjavec urges Johnson to continue. John is too freaked out and drops out of a deal.
Johnson demonstrates the battery charger with a disturbing image of a needle attached to a headset being inserted into an ear canal.
Herjavec, half jokingly, asks Johnson if additional surgery is required for upgrades. With a straight face, Johnson says yes.
Corcoran is out. "This is the weirdest damn thing I ever heard."
Johnson counters: "The first time that you heard of breast implants, what did you think?" John's answer: "I love it."
The Sharks have had enough. Johnson leaves without a deal.
In an interview, Corcoran said that the only other pitch that approached the insanity of the Ionic Ear was Mark Sullivan's plan to turn massive amounts of seawater into energy and gold. "He was at least friendly. He wasn't as scary as the Bluetooth guy. He smiled a little," she said. "But crazy things. They keep it interesting."
Now, check out the other strange pitches to appear on "Shark Tank"...
'Shark Tank' investors pick 8 of the show's most outrageous pitches >>
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