The Ghostly Disappearance and Re-emergence of Ecto Cooler
The outrage over the new Ghostbusters doesn't really make sense (unless misogyny is a factor, which it is). After all, we live in America, where capitalism and the movie remake/sequel rules. This classic 80s flick isn't the first and certainly won't be the last to get the "lets run it back" treatment. Corporations know that Americans love spending money remembering their childhood. This is exactly the reason for bringing back Hi-C's Ecto Cooler. In May, the green, tangerine-flavored sugar water returned to grocery shelves and made everyone who played youth sports in the 1990s have a nostalgia trip. At least for the time being, there's no longer a need to concoct a bootleg version, because the real thing is back.
However, Ecto Cooler's history may not be quite as advertised. If one were to believe the not-so-crazy internet rumors, Ecto Cooler may have been with us a lot longer than Slimer's green roly-poly body lets on. Quite simply, the truth behind Ecto Cooler's history may not be as sweet as the drink.
In 1984, Ghostbusters hit theaters with less than stellar reviews, but a box office take that rivaled Slimer's appetite. The film quickly became a cult classic, spawning the 1986 "Real Ghostbusters" animated series, the not-so-beloved 1989 sequel, a host of branded products (like cereal, trading cards, toothpaste) and the forthcoming reboot. These almost countless Ghostbusters branded items also included Ecto Cooler, which was introduced to the adoring public in 1987 as a tie-in to the animated series (this according to Coca-Cola, but numerous internet sites report it came out as part of Ghostbusters II promotion in 1989). It was a hit for Hi-C, a surprisingly old company that was founded in 1948. In fact, it was so popular that the drink remained on the shelves way past the cartoon's cancellation in 1991. After 15 years of being stuffed in lunch boxes, giving kids sugar rushes and accompanying orange wedges after soccer practices, it was discontinued in 2001. Or was it?
There are people who have odd obsessions, like the guy at the office who is a Neil Diamond superfan or the person who runs the ugly renaissance babies tumblr. And then there's a blogger named Matt and his obsession with Ecto Cooler. Over the last decade, he's written countless articles for a variety of oddly named blogs about the drink's mysteries. It seemingly started in June 2003 when Matt thought he had discovered that Ecto Cooler had not been removed from the Hi-C portfolio, but had been repackaged as the Hi-C drink "Orange Lavaburst" due to its similar color and taste. Two months later, Matt realized his original hypothesis was incorrect and that maybe the flavor "Shoutin' Orange Tangergreen" was, in fact, Ecto Cooler reincarnated based on similar ingredients and logos. With the help of readers and fellow enthusiasts, the truth slowly took shape for Matt.
Numerous readers of Matt's posts sent emails to Minute Maid (who owned Hi-C and is now owned by Coke) inquiring about Ecto Cooler. They all received an email back saying the drink had been discontinued, but "Shoutin' Orange Tangergreen" was highly recommended for its "similar flavor profile." To boot, when a number of people purchased Orange Tangergreen juice boxes at their local grocery store for a taste test, the receipt listed it as Ecto Cooler. This led Matt to compare the ingredients (conveniently listed on the side of the box) of old Ecto Cooler to the new Orange Tangergreen. As hoped, they were exactly the same... save for the presence of Ecto Cooler's green food dye. According to Matt, sometime after launching Orange Tangergreen, Hi-C realized that mothers wanted their kids' juice boxes not to stain their clothing. So, they begin selling juice that didn't have food dye and labeled it as "no stain." Not all Orange Tangergreen had this label, however. This lead Matt to make this definitive statement about the truth about Ecto Cooler's disappearance, in that it didn't disappear at all: "If you can find Shoutin' Orange Tangergreen Hi-C, without the "no stain" label, you have found Ecto Cooler." In 2006, the name was changed to "Crazy Citrus Cooler," according to Slash Films, before that drink was discontinued completely in 2007.
Seven years later, Ecto Cooler, both in name and taste, is back. While Coca-Cola has continued to insist that Ecto Cooler disappeared in 2001, it seems that the internet has proven that this was not the case and it on for lived another six years. Yes, FWx did reach out to Coca-Cola ourselves and, as of the publishing, there's been no response to that inquiry. For the time being, the facts seem to reinforce that while Slimer may have disappeared off the front of the box, Ecto Cooler remained on our grocery shelves until 2007.