At work today, I was having a discussion with a coworker. He believes that there is a specific name for the scenario or marketing strategy where a company creates a product that was designed to resolve the problems created by one of their existing products, typically problems that didn't exist until the creation of the original product.

Google has failed me. Does such a description exist?

  • Are you talking about the product itself (as you indicate in the title of your question) or about the strategy (as you indicate in the body of your question)? May 10, 2018 at 21:25
  • 1
    Can you give an example? If it's software, the word you want could be "patch".
    – Laurel
    May 11, 2018 at 0:58
  • 1
    'Adjunct' ? Ambulances became a necessary adjunct to motor vehicles once road accidents became frequent.
    – Nigel J
    May 11, 2018 at 12:31
  • 1
    A less grisly example might be hot dog buns.
    – Phil Sweet
    May 11, 2018 at 17:04
  • 1
    I believe what you are asking is along the lines of a tobacco company creating a product to reduce staining on teeth caused by smoking. Effectively, a company producing both the disease and the cure.
    – SGR
    May 16, 2018 at 8:29

7 Answers 7


I think what you are looking for is a specific instance of Vertical Integration:

Vertical integration

In microeconomics and management, vertical integration is an arrangement in which the supply chain of a company is owned by that company. Usually each member of the supply chain produces a different product or (market-specific) service, and the products combine to satisfy a common need.

per: Vertical integration - Wikipedia

Vertical integration isn't used to describe the sale of consumer products with the intent of creating (then solving) a problem, but it is the structure that a company would use if it were to sell products with that intention.

This might not completely answer your question, depending on how explicit you believe the term you're looking for is. I'll explain my reasoning to let you decide for yourself.

When you think about the idea from the perspective of the problem itself and the 'chain' of purchases a consumer makes related to that problem, the term is accurate. If one product predictably creates a problem for a consumer, then that product could be described as the 'supply' for any different product made to solve the problem. This makes sense, since the first product is the precursor step to the second product in a chain of purchases the consumer makes. The control of this chain by a single producer -via the production of both products- is the vertical integration.

Vertical integration is definitely the structure you are trying to identify, but your situation is also explicit about the second product in the chain being a solution to a problem that the first creates.

When a producer's product is created by the producer with the planning for the product to experience problems that make the product obsolete, the design is called Planned obsolescence. I think the redundancy of that description clouds it, so I'll let Wikipedia give the definition again:

Planned obsolescence

Planned obsolescence, or built-in obsolescence, in industrial design and economics is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete (that is, unfashionable or no longer functional) after a certain period of time. The rationale behind the strategy is to generate long-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases (referred to as "shortening the replacement cycle").

per: Planned obsolescence - Wikipedia

This strategy creates a specific problem (the outdating of a product) where the only predictable solution is replacing the item. In this way, it the uses structure I've stated, but doesn't cover every possible problem-to-solution relationship.


You can say the situation you've provided is an application of a vertical integration structure by a company (think: a supermarket creating, then selling, store brands). Depending on the problem that was created, the specific strategy the company is using could be the application of planned obsolescence in the development of a product and the creation of its subsequent solution (think: iPhones). These terms could be used to help abbreviate the description of production strategies that fit the parameters you've set. They aren't universally applicable though, and using them to more easily describe every instance of this specific situation could slightly amend their definitions, but in a way that I feel does not detract a noteworthy amout of clarity or specificity. The use just might not always be linguistically perfect.


Until the original product was created and put into use, there was no apparent need for the second product. The second product is only to resolve problems, or upgrade, the original. I would suggest enhance or enhancement: An enhancement is any product change or upgrade that increases software or hardware capabilities beyond original client specifications. Enhancements allow software and hardware product performance scalability.^ This definition is in regards to software, but it can be used for about any consumer product from air fresheners to reclining chairs.



If it was simply referred to as a bug fix I’d say patch, but if they are claiming it is an “extension” to existing functionality perhaps augmentation would be a suitable weasel word.

From Augmentation in Computer Science a question on this site:

Augmentation means the same thing in computer science as it does in general English, which I would summarise as: extending something to make it better. Oxford Dictionaries Online gives this definition for the verb augment:
Pronunciation: /ɔːgˈmɛnt/ make (something) greater by adding to it; increase

  • "Patch" was also my first thought. However, I think the word describes modification of an existing product, as opposed to creation of a new product.
    – Quaternion
    May 25, 2018 at 4:15

A well-known and established company generates a demand for a product that hitherto never existed

Brand Extension or Brand Stretching

… a marketing strategy in which a firm marketing a product with a well-developed image uses the same brand name in a different product category. The new product is called a spin-off. Organizations use this strategy to increase and leverage brand equity […]. An example of a brand extension is Jello-gelatin creating Jello pudding pops. It increases awareness of the brand name and increases profitability from offerings in more than one product category.


hardware flaws

Lighter, slimmer, faster and more powerful laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. usually lead to easily cracked screens or cases, overheating, unreliable battery performance, fewer USB ports, etc. which means the company has to produce… what?

It could be called a "remedy" or a "fix" but that would be poor marketing as it would suggest there was a significant problem with the original product that needed repairing.

Software issues are easily solved by releasing patches, fixes, and updates. But in my experience, companies issue upgrades that happen to resolve unforeseen snags in its hardware. Apple seems to have done particularly well from it.

Raise (something) to a higher standard, in particular improve (equipment or machinery) by adding or replacing components.

Oxford Dictionaries


A "fix", a "remedy", or a "patch".

  • 2
    Please add sources to support your answer.
    – JJJ
    May 13, 2018 at 15:38

I can't think of a general term, but the prefix anti could be used with the original product's name/effect to form an adjective.

For example, to combat the effect of cigarette addiction, you might have anti cigarette, anti nicotine or anti cigarette addiction pills.


A close description would be a complementary good/product/service.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementary_good


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.