How 'Stranger Things' Is Fueling '80s Nostalgia

Playing The '80s References That Appear in This Season’s ‘Stranger Things’

The third season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” has been watched by 40 million people since it debuted on July 4 but the star of the show is arguably not the monster but the era in which it takes place. 

The horror series caught many fans’ attention thanks to its ode to the 1980s and season 3 continues the trend, taking place in the summer of 1985 as blockbuster “Back to the Future” hit theaters. The disastrous New Coke is also heavily advertised within the show. 

Fan-favorite Dustin compares his girlfriend to actress Phoebe Cates, as she was every teenage boy's dream girl back in the '80s, while protagonist Eleven is told that star of “The Karate Kid” Ralph Macchio is every girl’s dream. 

There's even a nod to the iconic "red bikini scene" from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High," this time remade with the sinister Billy as a lifeguard at the Hawkins public pool. 

Hawkins Police Chief Hopper dons a bushy mustache in every season of the show, but in season 3, he gets a Hawaiian shirt, an ode to Tom Selleck’s iconic character in the show "Magnum P.I."

There is even a Russian hitman who moves and looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the original “Terminator.” 

The show worked with 70 different companies to recreate the look of the '80s and those collaborations are paying off big-time.

Branding expert Peter Shankman spoke to Inside Edition about the show's homage to the 1980s and its effect on pop culture in 2019. 

"They didn’t charge the brands anything to be in ‘Stranger Things,’ but they did require that they promote the show. So, for the first time Netflix is getting free promotion outside Netflix," he said. 

Nike has an entire range of “Stranger Things” merchandise, including Cortez sneakers with the branding of the show on them. H&M also has a line of “Stranger Things" clothing, and the romper that Millie Bobby Brown’s character Eleven wears on the show is sold out at Target. 

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