Stranger Things has always been a show that's evoked the spirit of the '80s, and soon, it will be responsible for bringing a product from the era back. No, it's not Shark Bites or Jello Pudding Pops, but a product that was so unpopular it made headlines in the '80s for how much people disliked it. Now, the younger generations will get a chance to try it as New Coke is coming back to shelves thanks to the Netflix series.
This time, Coca Cola won't be replacing their original recipe with the sweeter concoction that caused a massive outcry, but instead, will produce around 500,000 cans that will go in vending machines and go up for sale online. The drink caused quite a stir in the summer of 1985, which is when Stranger Things Season 3 will pick up. The Duffer Brothers told The New York Times the inclusion of the drink felt mandatory, and a fun nod to the year.
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.
Will the kids of Hawkins enjoy the taste of New Coke, or will they feel the same way as many other Americans who actually phoned the Coca Cola Atlanta office to complain? For those who weren't around to experience the taste, many have likened it to a sweeter version of Coca-Cola that tasted closer to its long-time rival Pepsi. Consumers were not fans, especially considering the old recipe was believed to be gone in this switch.
It's impressive that Netflix was able to convince Coca-Cola to bring its notoriously failed recipe back on behalf of Stranger Things, especially considering no money was exchanged between the two for the promotion. Netflix’s head of partnership marketing Barry Smyth said the idea first surfaced in 2017 in a meeting, and was meant as an unrealistic joke. As Smyth explained, his team didn't take it as a joke.
We asked the question, ‘What would really blow it out of the water for this campaign?' They jokingly said, ‘Bring back New Coke.’ They thought it was a joke. We took it as a brief.
The collaboration between Coca Cola and Netflix is just one of many product placement deals the streaming service will pursue in an effort to better promote its content. In addition to New Coke, H&M will carry clothing lines that mimic the clothes of the show's characters, and Baskin Robbins will feature some of the flavors from the ice cream shop Steve is working at in Hawkins' new mall. What's next, Christmas Lights that act as a Ouija board?
Stranger Things Season 3 is set to hit Netflix Thursday, July 4 at 12:01 PT. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more details on the upcoming season, and more on other shows that are set to make a splash this summer.