There’s a new teaser for Stranger Things Season 3 out…..sort of. It’s actually more of a commercial for Coca-Cola. The third season takes place during the summer of 1985, and if you’ve been paying attention to the REALLY important stuff in history class, you know that was the time when Coke made the biggest blunder of its entire existence.
With Pepsi eating into its market share, and sales of Diet Coke (introduced three years earlier) rising, the execs at Coke came to the conclusion that their classic formula needed to be updated. Both Diet Coke and Pepsi contained a sweeter taste than traditional Coke did, so the thought was that if they made Coke just as sweet, it would regain the customers it had lost.
So in ’85 Coca-Cola was retired and “New Coke” was brought out with massive fanfare. It was rejected immediately upon arrival, with customers weirded out by the different taste and angry they couldn’t purchase the original version anymore. Sales of Coke plummeted and the company had no choice but to walk back its mistake, re-introducing “Coca-Cola Classic” to shelves.
It’s a misnomer that New Coke left the market entirely at this point. It stuck around for a few years, sharing shelf space with the original, and was eventually re-branded as “Coke II” in the final years of its existence before fading away entirely in the early 90s.
That might have been the end of the story, but….Stranger Things have happened. Since New Coke factors into several key scenes of the new season, Coke is taking the opportunity to reissue New Coke for a limited time. These bottles will not be sent out to stores; they must be ordered through “select sales channels” (meaning online).
In the meantime, here’s the Stranger Things Coke spot, which will appear in theaters soon. It’s a remake of an actual New Coke advertisement from the era. It’s worth pointing out that Coke used Bill Cosby to promote the new drink, and this happens to be one of the few ads that didn’t have him in it.