The latest season of the show is set in the summer of 1985, the same summer that that Coca-Cola launched its new beverage to almost-instantaneous backlash.
According to the Coca-Cola website, the new formula was the first time the beverage had been changed in 99 years – and it “spawned consumer angst the likes of which no business has ever seen”.
In addition to country-wide protests, Coca-Cola fans “filled their basements with cases of Coke” after New Coke was released.
Although the new recipe was such a failure that the company pulled the product from shelves just 79 days after it was first launched, the soda company and the Stranger Things creators believe the second time around will be more successful.
According to senior vice president of marketing for Coca-Cola North America, Stuart Kronauge, who spoke to CNN, the campaign is a way to “not take ourselves too seriously”.
The marketing campaign will make it possible for consumers to purchase New Coke, made from the same recipe as the 1985 version, for a limited time as part of a bundle.
To get the 12-ounce can, consumers must also buy at least two limited-edition Stranger Things Coke-Colas in eight-ounce glass bottles.
The soda will go on sale online at 5pm ET Thursday at cokestore.com. Free cans will also be available via upside-down Stranger Things-inspired vending machines in certain cities, starting in New York City on Thursday.
According to Oana Vlad, director of Coca-Cola Trademark, Coca-Cola North America, the decision to launch the campaign stemmed from the show’s tagline: “One summer could change everything.”
“When Netflix told us Season 3 was going to be set in the summer of 1985 – with the tagline that ‘one summer could change everything’ – that rang so true for us,” Vlad told USA Today. “The summer of 1985 did in fact change everything for us with the introduction of New Coke, which was arguably one of the biggest pop culture moments of that year.”
Barry Smyth, Netflix’s head of global partner marketing said: “The partnership with Coke gives Netflix the opportunity to reach a massive audience via one of the most recognizable brands in the world in a deeply authentic way.
“It also gives Stranger Things fans the chance to expand their engagement with the show into their lives like never before.”
Since the announcement New Coke would be returning after more than three decades, the reaction on social media has been mostly confusion – and concern.
“New Coke was terrible, one of the greatest blunders a company ever made,” one person wrote.
Another said: “But, it was gross back then. Why would it be any good now?”
However, others are excited to try the despised beverage.
“I’m totally going to buy New Coke and pretend it’s 1985,” someone tweeted.
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