LOS ANGELES - “New Coke” is back, but you may not have ever known that it was gone, or that it even existed in the first place.
Coca-Cola and Netflix announced Tuesday that they will be re-releasing New Coke as part of a partnership to promote Season 3 of “Stranger Things,” which is set to take place in 1985, a year of infamy for the Coca-Cola Company.
Back in 1985, Coca-Cola suffered one of its worst marketing blunders when it changed the formula for Coke, creating New Coke. It was an attempt to combat declining sales numbers in a consumer market that was favoring the sweeter taste of Pepsi-Cola as well as non-cola sodas.
When the change was announced, some people panicked and started stocking up on as much classic Coke as they could get their hands on, with one man in San Antonio, Texas running out and purchasing $1,000 worth of Coke.
The 800-GET-COKE phone line and Coca-Cola offices across the United States were almost immediately inundated with calls from upset consumers. The hotline was receiving 1,500 calls a day by June of that year, compared to the usual 400.
New Coke was scrapped after a mere 79 days because of the backlash.
“The summer of 1985 did in fact change everything for us with the introduction of New Coke, which was also arguably one of the biggest pop culture moments of that year,” said Oana Vlad, director of Coca-Cola Trademark, Coca-Cola North America.
Workers had to retrieve the New Coke recipe from the safe for the “Stranger Things” partnership.
“All told, everything took about six months and was top secret,” said Peter Shoemaker, director of sparkling category commercialization.
Workers also had to recreate the logo and the slightly different Coke red for the cans from more than 30 years ago.
“The partnership with Coke gives Netflix the opportunity to reach a massive audience via one of the most recognizable brands in the world in a deeply authentic way,” said Netflix Head of Global Partner Marketing Barry Smyth.
Beginning Thursday, Coca-Cola will release a limited number of cans of New Coke as part of a “Stranger Things” package. An “upside-down” Stranger Things-inspired vending machine will also pop up in select cities this summer to dispense free cans of New Coke for a limited time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.