Actors in "Stranger Things" will be shown enjoying New Coke in a movie theater in the upcoming season of "Stranger Things."

New Coke returns (briefly) to celebrate season 3 of ‘Stranger Things’

Originally posted Tuesday, May 21, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

New Coke is new again. 

Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” shot in Atlanta, will launch season three fictionally around June, 1985, just a few weeks after New Coke launched. And the show will feature New Coke in multiple episodes as part of an integrated advertising package.

Coke even created an ad that incorporates the “Stranger Things” characters imbibing the drink. 

So the Atlanta-based beverage company today announced it will bring New Coke back in a very limited way to actual consumers as well. 

Coca-Cola, in a press release, said: “The exact recipe from 1985 will be available for a (very) limited time and in limited quantities this summer in the U.S. On May 23 at 5:00 p.m. ET, those based in the states can check out CokeStore.com/1985 to get their hands on New Coke, only available as a gift with purchase.”

Visitors of the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta on select days during the week of June 3 will also have a chance to get special New Coke cans as a gift, while supplies last.

The resurrected New Coke was packaged in a local Atlanta bottling plant. 

>>RELATED: “Stranger Things” turns Gwinnett Place Mall into a 1985 mall

Nearly two generations have missed out on what was considered one of the biggest marketing blunders in American consumer history. 

New Coke was created in response to blind taste tests showing drinkers preferred a sweeter Pepsi-like taste. 

That’s well and good but Coke made a huge mistake by taking away the original version. Loyalists were in an uproar inundating Coke with complaints. If they wanted Pepsi, they’d drink Pepsi! Bottom line: Coke under-estimated the attachment people had to the original formula. 

Coke brought back the original (briefly dubbed “Classic Coke”) after just 79 days. Many believed the entire kerfuffle was a big marketing stunt but Coke executives at the time acknowledged the entire mess was unintentional. 

“One of our growth behaviors is celebrating and learning from failure, and New Coke – for better or worse – is known as a failure,” said Michael Burdett, principal scientist in global category development for Coke on the Coke website. “Bringing it back in a fun, creative way to support the ‘Stranger Things’ partnership shows we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

>>RELATED: More details how Coke brought back New Coke with ‘Stranger Things”

The producers of “Stranger Things” were so intent on accuracy, they actually visited Coca-Cola archives last year to study New Coke packaging, memorabilia and advertising to ensure the script reflected the reality of the period. 

The Duffer brothers, who created the popular Netflix drama, have already incorporated Coke products in “Stranger Things” numerous times, including Eleven crushing a can with her mind. 

Here’s an original 1985 New Edition-based New Coke Ad: 

And here is a top Coke executive offering a mea culpa:

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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