(EDITOR’S NOTE: Chris Kamler is on assignment. Or hung over. We’re not sure. Anyway, here is a ‘best of’ column from about this time last year).
ostalgia is understandable. I get it. Over time, the past softens. The hard edges melt under the passage of years. Your first fight at school becomes a story you tell at a party. Your first traffic ticket suddenly becomes something you look back on and laugh. But that doesn’t mean you want to go out and get in a fight today or speed through Parkville (which, let’s be honest, is like one mile over the speed limit.)
So why does Madison Avenue and Hollywood keep pushing our pasts on us? We get it. All the new stories are gone. Movies are recycled more frequently than a water bottle on Earth Day. Jurassic Park has had like four sequels. The animated film Aladdin was remade. In live action. With Will Smith as the genie. Why? Did the world need this? Did the world need the Fresh Prince to sing and dance in blue makeup?
Of course not. But even watered down success still has a hint of success – so expect Aladdin II to be out in theaters in a couple of years.
Heck, even failures come back. The television show Stranger Things is set in the 1980’s and has spawned a number of comebacks with Millennials. But the pinnacle might be the stampede that has occurred for… wait for it… New Coke after being featured on the show.
Not Diet Coke or even Coke Zero. I’m talking “New” Coke. The one that was the greatest failure in marketing history. Where Madison Avenue took something at the top of its game and blew it up for sport. Like taking Eric Hosmer and replacing him with Chris Owings. THAT is bad.
But we live in an age where you can sell something… anything… if you have the right marketing. A man sent rich kids to the middle of the ocean thinking there was a concert. People continue to sink money into Bitcoin – a currency you can’t touch or feel. Why wouldn’t New Coke make a triumphant return?
Coca-Cola has been in a weird space the last few years anyway. They already had Diet Coke, but then made Coke Zero. People liked Coke Zero better, so they started pushing Diet Coke Cherry and Diet Coke Lime. Then they started just flavoring sodas randomly. Tell me Coke Orange Vanilla isn’t a cry for help by someone.
But marketing wins the day. As long as you can make a dollar, you can make a million dollars if people think they need something. And if you can sell New Coke again, you can do anything.
Turntables. Check. Air Jordans. Check. Big hair. Check. Cindi Lauper. Well, she sells eczema medicine now, but check.
Dust off that box in the basement, you might be able to bring back that Spuds McKenzie poster or that Atari game and make a mint. All while sipping on a New Coke Vanilla Cherry – because marketing told you to.
(Sip on some nostalgia with Chris Kamler on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed. Chase him down on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, as well as appearances on The Landmark’s videocast known as Landmark Live)