First it's New Coke, then it's ... Cheetos lip balm? 

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
Updated: May 22, 2019 @ 2:37 pm
Netflix

If you were around for the 1985 launch of Coca-Cola's New Coke and felt bummed when they quickly stopped producing the beverage, then you're in luck. The company announced yesterday that it will briefly revive New Coke as part of a collaboration with Netflix's Stranger Things, according to Variety.

So, why bring it back? The show’s third season is set in 1985, and well, that was about all Netflix producers needed to approach Cocoa-Cola about a partnership that would allow them to feature the beverage in the show. 

Here's what you need to know about the universally panned beverage, as well as a few products we hope Stranger Things leaves well enough alone. 

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What's the Deal with New Coke?

If you aren't familiar with New Coke, then here's the gist: Coca-Cola launched the formula in 1985, marking the first time the company changed its original recipe. Esquire noted that a decrease in sales of original Coke was what prompted the change. Now sweetened with corn syrup, New Coke won out in taste tests, but the refreshed drink was met with a not-so-friendly reception. Coke fans abhorred the idea that the company would even think to reformulate its already popular beverage, prompting more than 40,000 telephone calls and letters from angry customers, Esquire reported.

After "spawning consumer angst the likes of which no business has ever seen," New Coke only lasted for 79 days, according to the Coca-Cola website.

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"We set out to change the dynamics of sugar colas in the United States, and we did exactly that — albeit not in the way we had planned," then chairman and chief executive officer Roberto Goizueta said in 1995, according to the website.

When Will It Make a Comeback?

New Coke returns on Thursday for a limited time release as part of a Stranger Things package, according to the Associated Press. Fans in select cities can also expect to see upside-down Stranger Things-inspired vending machines this summer that will dispense free cans of New Coke, the publication reports.

"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,” Netflix Head of Global Partner Marketing Barry Smyth told the AP.

Don't Forget These Other Product Disasters

In case you think New Coke is alone in its rebranding debacle, here are a few other products that weren't as well received as, perhaps, the companies had hoped: 

Cosmopolitan yogurt: Yes, it is exactly as it sounds — the popular women's magazine launched a yogurt in 1999 only to pull it from shelves a short 18 months later, according to USA Today.

Cheetos lip balm: As if indulging in this orange-coated snack doesn't leave you with enough mouth residue, Frito-Lay created this gem in 2005 and, shockingly, consumers didn't exactly run out to buy it.

Life Savers soda: The drink launched in the '80s, but it was a no-go. As one expert said, "the Life Savers name gave consumers the impression they would be drinking liquid candy," according to Time.

Satisfries: Burger King introduced this healthier alternative to their everyday fries in 2013. While the new recipe was said to absorb less oil than the original one, they were more expensive than the traditional fries and customers were unimpressed, according to USA Today. They were discontinued within the year.

Cocaine: The reason this one tanked probably doesn't require much explanation. The drink was marketed as "a legal alternative" to the real thing. Cocaine reportedly had 350 percent more caffeine than a can of Red Bull, as well as a throat-numbing ingredient that simulated one of the symptoms of the drug, Time reported. It was pulled from shelves in 2007.

Will you try New Coke once it hits the shelves?

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