Stranger Things 3, New Coke, and Other Musings From the Upside Down
Today feels like Christmas Eve. The only thing missing is my mom's pasta tribute to the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Do I have any amazing 4th of July celebrations planned? No, my future child is not being nice to his Mommy from the womb causing extreme nausea so any picnic plans will have to be postponed to a later day. How will I be celebrating the birth of my beloved country you ask? The most patriotic way possible...by binging the soon to be released third season of my favorite show STRANGER THINGS!
I'm ecstatic! I'm on Cloud Nine! This show gives me the feels. It's been said many times before, but it's the best throwback to the Stephen King/Steven Spielberg/John Carpenter era of 1980's film and television. It brings me back to a time when I was a kid and would spend weekend afternoons watching my favorite Sci-Fi and Horror movies from my Grandma's couch or in the cold dark basement at my dad's house - edited for network television (I was a little bit of a fraidy cat). I would watch everything from Christine to The Gate to Stand by Me to reruns of The Twilight Zone. I would become enthralled with these characters...how they would be haunted and under peril and how they would solve the problem to eradicate their demons. I also fell in love with the comradery between characters hoping to one day find friends that cool to bro/sis out with.
Stranger Things does all that and more. The cast is so amazing that you sometimes forget that a seasoned and award winning actress like Winona Ryder has top billing. It's not that she doesn't do a good job as Joyce Byers, it's just that the cast is THAT good. Noted performances from Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, to Noah Schnapp's intense Will Byer's scenes in season 2, to the bromance between Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Steve (Joe Keery), to the comic relief of new series regular Priah Ferguson (I can't wait to see the kind of sass she has in store for Erica Sinclair), this cast will have you falling in love with them by the end of the first episode. I have to give credit to the unsung hero of the supporting cast - Joe Chrest as Ted Wheeler who does a superb job as the lackadaisical 80's parent who has no idea or cares what his kids are up to. His character has viewers shouting at their screens "Why are your sprinklers running in Indiana during November?!" With all that said about the cast, when Stranger Things is rolling on all cylinders very few shows can top it. Period.
With the much anticipated release of Stranger Things 3, Netflix and Coca-Cola are teaming up for a limited time promotion with the rerelease of the ill fated New Coke from 1985. Since Diet Coke was such as success, Coca-Cola made an effort to replicate it's impact on stores. With the "Cola Wars" of the 1980's in full effect, Coca-Cola released a new formula which was basically Diet Coke with corn syrup added. If you need to know how that went please see below:
The people who post their obnoxious political views on Facebook today have nothing on the hardcore fans of Coca-Cola Classic in 1985. Could you imagine if this all went down today?
Well in a way, it has. Some people can't accept the fact that the rerelease of New Coke is just a marketing ploy between Coca-Cola and Stranger Things. But I will get into that later. First, check out the radical marketing campaign!
They completely nailed it. This commercial reminded of the first time I saw the ad for Ecto Cooler while watching Saturday morning cartoons. The cheesy song...well really the complete cheesiness of the whole commercial was truly a throwback. The catch is that New Coke is not available in stores. You can only get it at the Coca-Cola website or at specific locations across the country where New Coke machines will be. You better get it now while supplies last for the low price of $19.85 (with free shipping). Or at least If you reeeeeally want it, you should get it now before supplies run out and it hits eBay for who knows what ghastly high amount.
I discovered the New Coke promotion when Netflix and Coca-Cola launched the ad on Twitter. It was no shock that Netflix would go in this direction for a sponsor because we saw Eleven use her telekinesis powers to smash Coke cans on earlier episodes of Stranger Things. There were times when I would log into Facebook and there would be people completely expressing their frustrations with the high cost of the New Coke. Coke retails at stores for roughly $3.00 for a six pack, so of course people would be outraged to learn that they would have to pay $19.85 for what amounts to two cans of New Coke, two bottles of Coca-Cola Classic, and two bottles of Coke Zero. Some people expressed their concerns as to why they just couldn't release it in stores. I'm not in the Coke marketing war room, but I would assume that there was not enough demand to produce such a supply. Some people may get a bottle of New Coke for the nostalgia, then go back to the regular Coca-Cola that they enjoyed. This would leave a whole lot of New Coke product on shelves across the country taking up valuable shelf space. If that happened, that might be more of an embarrassment than the original release in 1985. My advice would be if you really want to try New Coke, just suck it up, go to your piggy bank, and pay the $19.85.
My predictions for Season 3. I have purposefully ignored all Stranger Things content on social media so I can completely avoid spoilers. As a matter of fact, I plan to go on a complete social media lock down at 10 pm tonight. You know what happens, you innocently log onto Facebook or Twitter and see a characters name is trending only to realize that they got whacked. It's happened many times to me with The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones for me to count. People just can't hold in their excitement. I did hear rumors that this season is supposed to have some John Carpenter elements to it. My prediction is that there is going to be some sort of body snatcher elements like in The Thing. I also predict some sort of call back to Back to The Future (my number one all time favorite movie) and The Goonies (my number three all time favorite movie) since the season takes place in the summer of 1985. Some critics have said that the season melts your heart then rips it out in the next moment, so I'm getting ready for some fatalities. Hopefully, the season will live up to the high praise that it has received. I also predict that the song "Jane" from Jefferson Starship will somehow show up in the soundtrack since Eleven's real name is Jane. Bringing it back to New Coke, I predict that the season will show the birth, life, and death of New Coke.
In other news, RIP to one of the greatest marketers of all time and Ford Mustang creator Lee Iacocca. He led both Ford and Chrysler leading one of the greatest business comebacks of all time for Chrysler in the 1980's. My grandfather, who worked most of his life as a tool and dye maker at our local General Motors plant would dazzingly speak about Iacocca's trademark "if you could find a better car, buy it."
Song in my head:
"Should I Stay Or Should I Go" - The Clash