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Product Placement and the 80s: Stranger Things

Updated: 1 day ago

Margherita from Vision Factory

Author: Margherita Baraldi

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Date of Publication: 13/04/2023

The concept of Product Placement is on top of trends these days. So, today we are about to focus on the TV series Stranger Things and the products placed there.

This alternative advertising is a form of pull communication. In particular, its goal is to

place a product almost naturally in a movie or television production. What’s more, the

unique trait of this communication technique is that it doesn't act on the emotional

sphere in an invasive way. As a result, product placement is more accepted by the final

consumer. Therefore, it allows the company to create the mental associations desired.

For example, the Netflix original series Stranger Things has been an enormous success.

Set in the 1980s, it tells the story of a group of teenagers grappling with supernatural

events that threaten their safety.

Stranger Things

The nostalgia effect

Stranger Things is an example of product placement, sometimes considered unofficial.

This is because most of the products appearing in the episodes don't result from an

agreement. On the contrary, the producers introduced them freely to recreate the

atmosphere of the 1980s.

Actually, the episodes show many of the typical products in vogue in those years. On the

one hand, this strategy allows older viewers to remember memories of their childhood. On the other hand, it stimulates curiosity among the younger ones. Moreover, it perfectly

aligns with the series' atmosphere, which has also led to a variety of collaborations with brands.

The ''nostalgia'' effect evoked by the products creates a more intimate relationship

between the viewers and the multimedia product. Indeed, people feel directly involved

in the narrative. This is thanks to the re-enactment of elements that marked a particular historical period.

The products

Let's identify now the leading brands that silently occupy the background of many


As the first brand, it is impossible not to mention Kellogg's famous frozen waffles. In fact, the Eggo is the product that most relate to Stranger Things. Eggo waffles have been on the market since 1953. Their constant appearance in the series has brought the product back into vogue and led to an increase in sales.

Do you remember what Eleven used to practice her mental powers on?

Tip: it's red, white, and black, and appears from the earliest episodes

If you thought about Coca-Cola, well, you're right. Stranger Things revives the New

Coke, a recipe proposed in 1985 that remained on the market for only 79 days. In the

summer of 2019, the Coca-Cola company paid homage to Stranger Things by releasing

a limited edition of New Coke.

Another popular drink in America during the 1980s was the 7-Eleven Slurpee, launched in 1966. In the series, it's Alexei's favorite drink, which has become iconic. Fun Fact: fans of

the series have renamed Slurpee Day (July 11) to ''Alexei Day''

Homage to Iconic Brands

Regarding the clothing sphere, in an all-80s setting, the sports brands Adidas, Nike and

Reebok certainly cannot be missed. Nike paid homage to Stranger Things by creating a

capsule collection of sneakers called ''Hawkins High'', ''Independence Day'', and ''Upside

Down'' On the other hand, Reebok brought to life the ''Stranger Things x GhostBusters''

model. It reprises the episode in which the four friends, on the occasion of the Halloween

party, wear the ''ghostbusters'' costumes.

Another well-represented sector is the ludic sector of gaming, the cradle of the nostalgia

theme. The youths of the series were allowed to depict several video

games, such as Dungeons & Dragons.


Last but not least is the vintage-style Pentax camera owned by Jonathan Byers' character. Moreover, we can glimpse other camera brands throughout the series, such as Polaroid, Nikon, and Kodak. In fact, in collaboration with the series, Polaroid created the '' Polaroid One Step 2 - Stranger Things edition.''

In conclusion, these are just a few of the many brands featured in the series. Overall, what

seems clear that product placement is a win-win strategy.


Reference List

How Does Product Placement Work? Examples and Benefits

Stranger Things ‘delivers $27m’ in brand placement value

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