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Why Coca-Cola chose to relive the New Coke disaster for Netflix’s “Stranger Things”

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It’s a marketing campaign that has lived in infamy. Back in April 1985, Coca-Cola launched its first new recipe in 99 years to help put a modern spring back in the brand’s step . . . and it spectacularly backfired. The sugar water-loving public revolted, demanding the company reverse course. It took 79 days, but eventually the company reissued the original formula as Coca-Cola Classic, and soon the new formula disappeared forever.

Until this week.

The upcoming third season of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things takes place in 1985, and the show’s creators the Duffer Brothers included the infamous New Coke. Eyeing a potential brand partnership opportunity, Netflix reached out to Coca-Cola to see if it may want to revisit what’s widely considered its greatest failure. And in uncharacteristic fashion for a giant heritage brand, Coca-Cola marketing execs ended up embracing the idea enthusiastically.

“They wrote us into the third season in a fairly meaningful way, so they brought us the idea. And you can........

© Fast Company