The Coca-Cola Company is bringing back New Coke, the soft drink that almost knocked it out of the cola wars.
If nothing else, it’s a tie-in that shows just how much money Netflix is spending to promote its service as new competitors emerge. The Atlanta-based cola giant has agreed to put the infamous tweaked version of its flagship drink back on the market for a limited time as part of the campaign for the upcoming third season of Stranger Things.
The revived New Coke will go on sale Thursday. Only 500,000 cans of the drink will be sold. Consumers who go to a promotional website starting at 5pm EST who buy two Stranger Things limited-edition glass bottles will receive also receive two cans of New Coke along with the purchase.
“This is uncharted territory for us,” says Geoff Cottrill, senior vice president of strategic marketing for Coca-Cola North America, in an interview with Variety. “We want to look for ways to work with Netflix, but only in ways that don’t interrupt consumers, and don’t get in the way of the entertainment.”
The third season of Stranger Things is set in 1985, when New Coke debuted, which made it a natural fit for both companies. The drink, which Coca-Cola had hoped would extend its lead against Pepsi, was met with massive protests and was pulled from shelves after just 79 days.
Coke officials, though, will be keeping an eye on how fast those half-million cans sell. It could be a good test to see if the sweeter version of the popular drink was really as bad as people remember or if much of the uproar centered around having the long-time formula of Coke forcibly changed on the public.
In the decades since the New Coke debacle, Coca-Cola has seen some success with a sweeter version of its flagship drink. In February, it debuted Orange Vanilla Coke and it will debut two new versions of Diet Coke this year as well.
Editor’s note: This story originally said New Coke would be sold at select retailers. It has been updated and corrected.
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