I just remarked yesterday about the fact that in the just-released clip from ‘Stranger Things 3’, Cara Buono’s Karen Wheeler is shown sipping a New Coke while lounging by the pool and ogling new lifeguard Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). But as it turns out, that wasn’t just a sly visual gag. Netflix and Coca-Cola are embarking on a partnership to bring New Coke back to the masses.
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What is New Coke? In 1985– the time setting for ‘Stranger Things 3’– Coca-Cola decided to change the flavor of the most popular soda ever, and the public was NOT feeling it. New Coke was a disaster, and less than two months later, the company switched back to “Coca-Cola Classic,” the regular flavor we have today.
Karen won’t be the only one shown enjoying New Coke. As part of this promotion, New Coke will be woven throughout the third season.
Coca-Cola senior VP of strategic marketing, Geoff Cottrill said:
“This is uncharted territory for us. We want to look for ways to work with Netflix, but only in ways that don’t interrupt consumers, and don’t get in the way of the entertainment. If we can find ways to integrate authentically and add value to the experience, then we want to be a part of it.”
In other words, this is a way for a major company to advertise on a hit series without actually airing a commercial. Netflix employs the marketing agency 1TwentyFour to find ways to court sponsors without interrupting its programming with commercials. (Of all the major streaming services, Hulu is currently the only one that offers an ad-supported option.)
Speaking of ads, the Duffer Brothers directed one, featuring the ‘Stranger Things’ cast, and based on an actual vintage commercial for New Coke. This will be shown in movie theaters. Check it out:
Coca-Cola will make 500,000 cans of New Coke available at CokeStore.com/1985, as well as at the World of Coca-Cola during the week of June 3. The company will also roll out ‘Stranger Things’ themed packaging on regular Coke, which will be available everywhere.
This isn’t the first revival of this type. Hi-C brought back Ecto Cooler in association with the 2016 ‘Ghostbusters’ movie, and who can forget the ‘Rick & Morty’ debacle surrounding McDonald’s Szechuan sauce? Though it wasn’t connected to a media project, Pepsi brought back its failed Crystal Pepsi for a limited time a couple of years ago.
I’m just too young to know what New Coke tasted like. Apparently, it was sweeter than regular Coke. I’m interested in trying it just to see what the fuss was over. I can guarantee it’s better than the new Orange Coke.
Are you excited by the return of New Coke?