Coca-Cola revives its doomed 80s reformulation

Charlie Spargo's picture
New Coke in the Stranger Things trailer

Remember New Coke? Back in 1985 Coca-Cola released one of the most famous product failures in living history; and now it's back, to mark the launch of Netflix's Stranger Things.

This series of the enormously popular horror programme - which follows the lives of the residents of the fictional Hawkins, Indiana - is set in the same year New Coke was launched. Coca-Cola, after 99 years of creating the carbonated drink with precisely the same recipe, attempted in April 1985 to release a new recipe version.

It was created in response to the growing popularity of Pepsi in blind taste tests, but was such a high-profile failure it took just 79 days to be pulled and replaced by the old version of Coke, under the name Coca-Cola Classic. New Coke, a nickname given to it following the backlash, is now a byword for misguided attempts to change tried-and-true products, and an icon of failed innovations - to the extent that it's listed among the Museum of Failure's exhibits.

To mark the release of Stranger Things Series 3, Coca-Cola is producing a limited run of the rare drink - available in the US to those who buy two or more limited edition Stranger Things Coca-Colas. They will received one 12oz can of New Coke. A selection of cities across the USA will also have upside-down Stranger Things vending machines where consumers can buy New Coke.

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