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'New Coke' Is Coming Back For the First Time in 34 Years Thanks to 'Stranger Things'

Even if you were just a glimmer in your parents' eyes back in 1985 when Coca-Cola unleashed "New Coke" to thunderous criticism, odds are you've at least heard of the ill-fated revamp of the beloved cola that briefly appeared on shelves...

Even if you were just a glimmer in your parents' eyes back in 1985 when Coca-Cola unleashed "New Coke" to thunderous criticism, odds are you've at least heard of the ill-fated revamp of the beloved cola that briefly appeared on shelves. It's been cited as one of the biggest marketing mistakes of all time, so you'd think the company would never consider bringing it back.

You'd think wrong, though, because Coca-Cola is in fact giving "New Coke" another go for a limited time starting this week, all thanks to the upcoming third season of Stranger Things.

The forthcoming season of the mega-hit series, which takes place in the summer of 1985, prominently features New Coke, so the brand decided to team up with Netflix to revive it for the first time since it was swiftly discontinued after just 79 days 34 years ago. They'll be releasing a limited number of 12-oz. cans made from the original New Coke formula starting Thursday, May 23 at 5pm via a special online store

When New Coke debuted, it was met with such an uproarious backlash that the brand pulled it from the market after less than three months and returned to the original "classic" recipe. So, why on Earth would they want to bring it back?

Well, it's all about nostalgia. 

“When Netflix told us season 3 was going to be set in the summer of 1985 -- with the tagline that ‘one summer could change everything’ -- that rang so true for us,” said Oana Vlad, director of Coca-Cola Trademark for Coca-Cola North America, in a statement.  “Ultimately, we looked around the room and said, ‘Why wouldn’t we do this? No one would have ever thought we’d produce New Coke again after what happened in 1985, but we all agreed that if we wanted to partner with Netflix and Stranger Things in a truly culturally relevant way that would resonate with our fans -- and theirs -- then we had to make the New Coke story come to life.”

If you're jonesing for a fix of the stuff, or want a taste for the first time, you'll need to act fast once they hit the e-store on Thursday. The release is very limited and expected to sell out quickly. Cans of New Coke will be available as part of a bundle when you buy at least two limited-edition Stranger Things Coca-Cola classic or Coke Zero 8-oz. glass bottles. You'll also have the chance to snag one from special Stranger Things-themed vending machines that will be popping up in select cities starting this week.

Otherwise, you'll just have to wait another three decades for a chance to sip a legendary failure. 


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.