New Coke was a flop. When Coca-Cola Company introduced the reformulation in 1985, it sparked a backlash so swift the company went back to the original after just 79 days. It’s been called “the marketing blunder of the century”—by Coke itself—and yet, New Coke is back from the grave in 2019. Who’s to blame? Stranger Things.
What was once a fun Netflix series that tugged at our heartstrings and made us wistful for 8-bit arcade games and Eggo’s has swiftly become one giant commercial. No product is too obscure, random, or just plain bad not to receive the Stranger Things treatment, with New Coke just the latest float in the entertainment-industrial parade.
Season 3 of the show brings us the tie-in with New Coke, which promises to “take you back to the summer of 1985” for the low, low cost of $19.85. That nearly $20 gets you one glass bottle of regular Coke with a Stranger Things logo, a bottle of Coke Zero with a Stranger Things logo (why?), and two cans of New Coke.
I will give it to Netflix, though: The over-retailing of Stranger Things has made me nostalgic, but only for a time when fond memories weren’t an extractable resource to be mined by purveyors of sneakers, fast food, and crappy soft drinks. Those were the days.