The power of television is a strang(er) thing.
Season 3 of the Netflix sci-fi drama is set during the summer of 1985, the year the beverage company debuted a new recipe for the classic soda that was so unanimously hated that Coca-Cola pulled it from shelves mere months later. Stranger Things creators Ross and Matt Duffers said the idea to include the flopped product in their show as a means of promotion came about pretty naturally and then Netflix ran with it. “New Coke was always going to play a role this season,” the Duffer Brothers said in a joint email interview with 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.”
With the ball rolling, Coca-Cola then had to dig out the old New Coke recipe in order to make 500,000 cans available via their website and in some vending machines. “One thing that makes Stranger Things so special is its commitment to authentically portraying the decade in which the show takes place,” said Stuart Kronauge, president, sparkling business unit, Coca-Cola North America in a statement. “When we heard that Season 3 would be set in the summer of 1985 and they wanted to integrate New Coke, we knew we had an opportunity to revisit that time period in a fun and unexpected way that would also allow us to be part of one of this year’s most anticipated pop culture moments.”
This isn’t the first brand-name product the Duffers have featured on the show. The first two seasons saw Kellogg’s Eggo waffles and Kentucky Fried Chicken pop up in pretty prominent ways.
The new season of Stranger Things drops on Netflix on July 4 with New Coke set to appear in several episodes.
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