The Ghostbusters franchise spawned all kinds of marketing tie-ins and merchandise, and one of the biggest is coming back this year: the “Ecto Cooler” flavor of Hi-C.
Coca-Cola, the parent company of Hi-C maker Minute Maid, announced today that it is bringing Ecto Cooler to store shelves starting May 30. It will be a promotional tie-in for Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters, which premieres a month and a half later on July 15.
The revival of the 1980s film franchise provides Coca-Cola with a reason to give Ecto Cooler a modern-day afterlife, like the slimy green character on its original packaging. (As you can see in the image above, the 2016 version of Ecto Cooler does not feature Slimer.)
A citrus flavor of the Hi-C fruit drink line, Ecto Cooler debuted in 1987 as a tie-in for The Real Ghostbusters, an animated television series that was a spinoff of the original 1984 film. It was supposed to be a “short-lived promotional beverage,” according to Coca-Cola, but its “immense popularity kept it around for more than a decade.” The company discontinued Ecto Cooler in 2001.
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“Hi-C Ecto Cooler fueled a pop culture phenomenon that is well remembered and beloved by fans to this day,” said Charles Torrey, vice president of Minute Maid/Hi-C Brands for Coca-Cola North America. “Sony Pictures was extremely enthusiastic about bringing it back for this special occasion, and the timing of the upcoming Ghostbusters film made this the exact right time.”
Coca-Cola said that the existing fan nostalgia for Ecto Cooler also played a role in the company’s decision to bring back the beverage. The company cited “websites dedicated to ’80s and ’90s nostalgia” and “a growing legion of social media fan groups,” and said that it will seek out that fan community to help spread the word about Ecto Cooler’s return.
It makes sense for Coca-Cola to market Ecto Cooler to millennials; they would be the right age to have childhood memories of watching The Real Ghostbusters, which ran from 1986 to 1992 on ABC, and drinking Ecto Cooler out of juice boxes. To that end, the revived Ecto Cooler will be sold in 10-packs of 6-ounce juice boxes, as well as 6-packs and 12-packs of 11.5-ounce cans. In other words, grown men and women will be able to buy adult-size quantities of the stuff.
Hi-C Ecto Cooler isn’t the first sugary beverage from the ’90s that Coca-Cola has revived. In 2014, the company brought back Surge, the citrus-flavored soda that was introduced in 1997 to compete with Pepsi’s Mountain Dew, after an 11-year hiatus.