Deepashree Banerjee

Coca-Cola brings 80's nostalgia back with Netflix's Stranger Things

The upcoming third season of the Netflix original drama is set in 1985, the same year that New Coke was launched...

What usually comes to mind when you think of the eerie "retro" drama 'Stranger Things', written and directed by the Duffer Brothers? Old-school adolescent adventures (with a fair share of misadventures too); a new-age homage to the Goonies perhaps?

Coca-Cola brings 80's nostalgia back with Netflix's Stranger Things

Stranger Things characters enjoying New Coke at a movie theatre

Banking on the popularity of the series, Coke sees it as a great brand integration and product placement opportunity. The Atlanta-based beverage company Coca-Cola, is partnering with Netflix to promote the third season of its extremely popular original series - Stranger Things - by revamping New Coke.

Coca-Cola launched its new formula in 1985, the same year season three of the show is set in. Interestingly, the variant - New Coke - doesn't have a glorious past and many consider it a marketing failure. The beverage giant eventually had to withdraw the product from the market as it failed to click with consumers because of the difference in taste from the original Coke.

The American sci-fi-horror TV series is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s. The first season focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of a young boy amid supernatural events occurring around the town.

The third season of the show will premiere, once again, exclusively via Netflix's web streaming service on July 4, 2019.

But, is this what new-age marketing is all about? Leveraging a platform like Netflix with a generous dollop of nostalgia...?

Here's a sneak peek into a recent post from the brand's digital magazine which states, "In a first-of-its-kind partnership for Netflix, the Stranger Things team collaborated with Coca-Cola to immerse viewers in 1980s nostalgia. Executives from Netflix visited the Coca-Cola archives in Atlanta last year to study New Coke packaging, memorabilia, advertising and more to ensure the script accurately reflected historical events and that all props and visuals stayed true to the time period. New Coke will appear in several episodes. And (spoiler alert!) New Coke will be available this summer via a (very) limited promotional run to bring to life one of 1985's biggest cultural moments - both on and off screen."

Further, the post quotes Geoff Cottrill, senior VP of strategic marketing, Coca-Cola, North America as saying, "In a world of shifting media consumption, we continue to challenge ourselves to find creative and meaningful ways to participate in non-advertising platforms like Netflix to engage with the millions of fans who subscribe to streaming content services. We're excited to partner with Netflix and play a key role in recreating the summer of 1985 in a uniquely Coca-Cola way."

Meanwhile, Coke has been spotted helping promote the series by putting "Stranger Things" labels on bottles and cans as part of this global marketing initiative.

So, will this nostalgic move form the 80's end up creating a win-win situation for both the brand and the TV series or will it once again, die a tragic death? Have consumers' taste-buds evolved with time? Will they be up for experimenting with something that tastes somewhat different from the original Coke?

Well, only time has to tell!

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