Thanks to Stranger Things, a retro soda beverage is being resurrected. New Coke, the much-maligned Coca-Cola product from 1985, will return to shelves starting this Thursday to coincide with the upcoming third season of the Netflix hit series.
As the new season is set during Summer 1985, the inclusion of New Coke was a no-brainer for creators Matt and Ross Duffer, who’ve done an exemplary job of capturing that era in great detail through the soundtrack and various product placements.
“New Coke was always going to play a role this season,” the Duffer brothers told the New York Times. “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.”
A really big deal may actually be putting it lightly. In hopes of drawing consumers away from their sweeter Pepsi rivals, Coca-Cola released a reformulated drink in New Coke. The change in taste was met with epic backlash, however. The Atlanta-based beverage company received over 40,000 calls and letters complaining about New Coke; Coca-Cola was even hit with a class action lawsuit.
The feedback was so intense that the company reintroduced the original Coke formula just months later, re-dubbed Coca-Cola Classic. New Coke, or Coke II as it was later named, eventually was discontinued in 2002.
According to the NYT, Coca-Cola has since unearthed the old New Coke recipe and is planning to make 500,000 cans available for purchase on its website and in select vending machines.
The cast of Stranger Things 3, which includes new faces in Cary Elwes, Jake Busey, and Maya Hawke, will have their chance to gulp down some (delicious? disgusting?) New Coke when the new season premieres on Netflix July 4th.
Revisit a trailer below, followed by a news segment on the ill-fated New Coke.