Those who lived through New Coke’s short but terrifying reign in 1985 are still traumatized by Coca-Cola’s ill-conceived attempt to reinvigorate the iconic brand with a new formula. We can’t even talk about it. Actually, we don’t talk about it. Honestly, no one even remembered it until just now. That formula was swiftly locked away in a vault at the company’s Atlanta headquarters, where it lay dormant for over 30 years. The end of New Coke brought about a period of great peace, only briefly interrupted by the rise of the flavored Mountain Dews. But today brings news that will strike fear into the hearts of those who remember what New Coke was like, as Variety reports that Coca-Cola’s aborted formula—which has been hidden away like Rochester’s crazy wife in Jane Eyre—will return this summer as part of a tie-in promotion with Stranger Things season three. Behold the horrible synergy your nostalgia hath wrought, and tremble at New Coke’s resurrection.
The third season of Stranger Things is set in 1985—the year of Nintendo, the Wuzzles, Back To The Future, and the first version of Microsoft Windows. It was a pleasant time of questionable fashion choices, of Cabbage Patch children, Cocoon, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. It was also the year that Coca-Cola decided to get hip and “with it” by introducing a new version of its iconic formula. The consumer masses were repulsed by this pretender, and within three months, New Coke was gone, locked away in the Coca-Cola vaults, never to be heard of again...until now. New Coke will appear in a few episodes of Stranger Things’ third season, which premieres July 4.