In anticipation of the new movie/Walmart commercial Ghostbusters: Afterlife, our benevolent beverage overlords are bringing back Ecto Cooler, the 1980s sugary juice line that has become synonymous with pop-culture’s greatest/sleaziest spook-hunters. But bad news for fans of Ghostbusters and/or bright green urine, Ecto cooler is only being brought back as a “HIGHLY limited ... promotional item” that won’t actually be sold in stores.

Ecto Cooler was also revived back in 2016 to coincide with the previous reboot and was actually made available to the public. So now it kind of seems like the discontinued childhood favorite has become a regular cog in the Ghostbusters publicity machine, a kind of liquid nostalgia to appeal to adults who are otherwise dead inside. That is until the movie itself comes out, and Ecto Cooler is again promptly withdrawn from circulation and stashed away in whatever the juice equivalent of the Disney Vault is.

But while people may have fond memories of Ecto Cooler, it’s not as if it was the result of some artisanal beverage creator’s soulful expression of what they thought the act of paranormal investigation would taste like. No, the Coca-Cola corporation literally just slapped the word “Ecto” and a picture of Slimer onto a pre-existing product called “Citrus Cooler” in order to capitalize on the late ‘80s popularity of Ghostbusters. And a commercial in which Slimer terrorizes a hapless stockboy sealed the deal for kids who would even pester their parents to buy some crappy ceiling fan if it had the Ghostbusters logo branded on it.

When Ghostbusters waned in popularity, Coke rebranded the Ecto Cooler as something called “Shoutin’ Orange Tangergreen,” but weirdly, they denied that it was the same drink for some reason, despite the fact that it clearly tasted the same, the box had a similar color scheme, and some grocery stores even continued to list it as “Ecto Cooler” on receipts. 

The drink was canceled altogether in 2006, allowing the company to withhold and reintroduce the product purely to serve the larger marketing whims of the Ghostbusters franchise. This is frustrating because Ecto Cooler is a tasty drink that people genuinely seem to enjoy still; the 2016 release sold extremely well and became difficult to track down for some fans. People were so excited about the possibility it might come back with the release of Afterlife, fake mock-ups of tie-in advertisements circulated the internet. 

Now, the only way to get any is to either jump through the studio’s promotional hoops, try to make your own, or buy one of the five-year-old cases that are currently for sale on eBay, if you happen to hate your gastrointestinal system.

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Top Image: Coca-Cola

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