new coke

Does nostalgia also apply retroactively to things most people hated? Perhaps Stranger Things can pull it off with its upcoming tie-in with New Coke, the infamously despised new recipe of the classic soda that debuted in the summer of 1985, the setting for season 3 of the Netflix sci-fi drama. That’s right, New Coke is back, courtesy of a partnership between Coca-Cola and Netflix, which is hoping to build anticipation for its third season of its flagship sci-fi series with the release of a limited number of New Coke cans. But judging by the history of the drink, they probably won’t be flying off the shelves.

Variety reports that Coca-Cola is bringing New Coke back to the soda market for a limited time in a partnership with Netflix, which has already featured Coke in the hit sci-fi series Stranger Things. But it may be testing the goodwill of the series by introducing a tie-in with the failed New Coke soda brand, which so badly failed that it’s become an industry-wide cautionary tale and a bitter memory for many soda lovers.

But the Duffer Brothers, who created the ’80s-set sci-fi series, told the New York Times that “New Coke was always going to play a role this season.” They added in an email to the outlet:

“It was one of the first ideas in our Season 3 brainstorm. It was the summer of ’85, and when you talk about pop culture moments, New Coke was a really big deal. It would have been more bizarre to not include it.”

The third season of the series is set in 1985, the year that Coca-Cola infamously debuted a new recipe for the classic soda that was so unanimously hated that it was pulled from the shelves mere months later. Based on the Russo brothers’ statement, you can count on New Coke getting prominently woven into select episodes — so expect a whole subplot where Eleven tries New Coke and is driven into a murderous rage by its flavor.

This isn’t the first time a brand-name product has been featured in the show and saw an unprecedented boost in popularity — Kellogg’s Eggo waffles and Kentucy Fried Chicken both appeared in the show’s first and second seasons, with the former’s appearance even causing a brief uptick in sales for Eggo waffles. Coca-Cola will probably see a similar brand boost, and perhaps even some sales in New Coke from the show’s young audience who weren’t alive to witness the infamy of the sweeter recipe’s reign of terror.

“When we heard that Season 3 would be set in the summer of 1985 and they wanted to integrate New Coke, we knew we had an opportunity to revisit that time period in a fun and unexpected way that would also allow us to be part of one of this year’s most anticipated pop culture moments,” said Stuart Kronauge, president, sparkling business unit, Coca-Cola North America in a statement.

To do that, Coca-Cola then had to dig out the old New Coke recipe in order to make 500,000 cans available via their website and in some vending machines. Crack open a cold one in anticipation of the release of Stranger Things season 3 on Netflix on July 4, 2019.

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