Brow Beat

New Coke, the 1985 Disaster Drink, Is Coming Back in Honor of Stranger Things

Children sit around a coffee table with a TV.
A New Coke appearance in Stranger Things Season 3. Netflix

Now that Game of Thrones is over—and, along with it, all the absurd brand tie-ins—marketing teams must look elsewhere for inspiration. In the case of Coca-Cola, they won’t have to look far, because they can just turn to another wildly popular fantasy TV series. Variety reports that the company will revive its infamous bygone drink, New Coke, in honor of the third season of Stranger Things.

Because the show’s Season 3 is set in 1985 and will feature New Coke in several episodes, Netflix reportedly approached Coca-Cola about a co-promotion partnership. This led to the planned relaunch of the soft drink, which according to libation lore tastes both sweeter and more diluted than regular Coke—like a sugary version with ice melted in. After years in the company’s Atlanta vaults, the ill-fated formula, promptly sidelined after its fizzy launch efforts fell flat, will soon become available to sicken generations anew.* There will also be a limited-edition line of original Coke made over with Stranger Things design.


It’s unsurprising that the sci-fi series, which peppers its setting with nostalgic references and artifacts, would want to capitalize on New Coke’s appearance in Season 3, which will drop July 4. That said, we do have a few suggestions for other forgotten ‘80s culinary revivals that deserve appearances of their own:

Original New York Seltzer
• Jolt Cola
McDonalds’ McDLT sandwich
• Keebler Tato Skins potato chips
Kellogg’s Raisin Squares cereal
• Push Pops
Chef Boyardee Roller Coasters

Correction, May 22, 2019: This post originally misstated that the New Coke formula was promptly abandoned after its launch. New Coke was later rebranded Coke II and was not officially discontinued until 2002.