Stranger Things, set to return for a third season in just a few weeks, has never met something from the 1980s it doesn’t like. There’s no proof of this more convincing than its latest promotional spot: a tie-in with Coca-Cola that, as we first braced ourselves for last month, sees the show celebrating the ouroboros of nostalgic fervor that has led to the return of 1985's short-lived, despised New Coke formula this summer.
Watch the clip for yourself. It has scan lines and warbled audio.
Don’t let the Twitter account’s misleading use of “thirsty boys” fool you: aside from a girl flirting with Steve, this is just a tie-in commercial for New Coke’s impending, Stranger Things-inspired return. We see the gang goofing around together, then Steve walking into a movie theater to order, surprise surprise, the long-vanished soft drink. To complete the neon-drenched mise-en-scène, Steve sits down in a theater with a tiny, non-HD screen and comments on his pal Dustin’s denim vest. They knock their drinks together, New Coke-branded cups facing toward the viewer.
Given that Stranger Things has managed to use the sheer force of its cultural will to make New Coke at least temporarily resurface, we should also begin preparing ourselves for what other decade-defining landmarks it may include before its run is up. Enjoy the novelty of your strange cola this summer, but prepare, too, for a fourth season that sees Eleven and friends take part in the invasion of Grenada and argue in Mike’s rec room about the Iran-Contra affair before heading off to ruin the modern economy with high-paying jobs on Wall Street in the series finale.
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