If you haven't already heard, season 3 of Stranger Things was a rabbit hole of 80's Easter eggs. The series takes place during that decade and the show's creators try to keep it as true to that time era as possible. Season 3 took place in the summer of 1985 and it wouldn't really be 1985 if the show hadn't added in a callback to one of the major events that happened that year: the launching of New Coke, a Coca-Cola soda made with a new formula. You can spot cans of New Coke sprinkled throughout the season, like when Eleven dig ones up out of the trash to see if she can still use her telekinetic powers. In one scene, Mike even asks Lucas how he can drink New Coke, Lucas defending the soda's new taste. Mike was reflecting lots of soda-drinkers' opinions about the new formula at the time. The infamous New Coke turned out to be a total failure, but thanks to Stranger Things, the soda is having a moment again, this time mostly positive. If you're curious to know what New Coke tastes like, where you can buy New Coke and what New Coke flavors are available, I've got you covered.
What did New Coke taste like?
In 1985, Time's food critic Mimi Sheraton described the taste of New Coke as sweeter than the original formula. "However, it is sweeter than the original formula and also has a body that could best be described as lighter. It tastes a little like classic Coca-Cola that has been diluted by melting ice," she wrote.
People at The Daily Meal also described New Coke as being less bubbly than the original and having a taste that's pretty similar to Diet Coke.
Where can I buy New Coke?
New Coke, rebranded as Coke II in the 1990's, was discontinued in 2002, but Stranger Things struck a deal with Coca-Cola to bring the soda back as a limited edition pack for the show's third season.
For a limited time, you can buy a New Coke and Stranger Things 1985 Limited Edition Collector's Pack of New Coke for $19.85 (get it?) in the Stranger Things/Coca-Cola store.
What New Coke flavors were available?
New Coke didn't come in several flavors. It was simply plain old Coca-Cola soda with an altered flavor due to the change in its formula.
Why did Coca-Cola change its formula?
Coca-Cola changed their classic formula in order to compete with Pepsi. In blind taste tests, it seemed as if people preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi, so the company decided to alter the formula for Coke and do away with the classic taste. But the reception was not what they expected. While fans of New Coke did exist, there were tons of consumers angry at Coke for changing the formula and within three month, the company reintroduced Coca-Cola classic.
Why was New Coke a failure?
People, especially those that lived in the South, just really weren't there for the new taste. The company received countless letters and phone calls from people angry about the soda's new formula.
But the new formula wasn't all bad. Once Coca-Cola reintroduced the old Coke, the company's stock soared, from sales of both the classic Coca-Cola and New Coke. Though it was eventually rebranded, New Coke remained on shelves until 2002, when it was discontinued.
Plus, New Coke continues to live in infamy. That's why the New Coke/Stranger Things partnership is so iconic.
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