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Why Nostalgia Marketing Works


Perhaps you have felt it before--a longing affection for a time, place, or feeling from your childhood. Nostalgia, a sentimental desire for something of a time gone by, is a feeling most of us probably recognize. This concept takes us back to a time when life wasn’t so complicated, and things were simple and easy.

Whether it’s the smell of your mom’s cooking, turning on the TV and stumbling upon a commercial that has an actor from a series that has long been off the air, or seeing a pair of sneakers from your childhood, there are numerous occasions, sensory inputs, objects, and social situations that can ignite the yearning of yesterday to come flooding back. That sense of nostalgia is being used by marketers all over the nation, combined with their marketing strategy, to create a powerful marketing tool.

For example, brands like Pepsi and Nike are using retired logos and designs of their past, calling them “retro” or the more popular term, “throwback”. Currently, the 1990’s are the era we see being utilized by brands as those of us that grew up in the decade are in our prime-purchasing years. By now this generation has grown up, finished school and has the disposable income companies crave. Everything from fashion to music from the 90’s has a big pull right now with the Millennial demographic. People love to reminisce about their childhood and teen years, and many of these companies are looking for ways to take what was once considered “old” and make it fresh.

So how do we use Nostalgia Marketing as marketers?

According to Buffer Social, “Campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content.” Associating brand messaging with positive references from the 90s, 80s — and even the 70s — humanizes brands, forging meaningful connections between the past and present. The key is to create an emotional hook, through nostalgia, while also offering something new--your product. Nostalgia Marketing succeeds when brands stay up to date on modern culture, listen to what people are talking about, and plug into those ideas to create new marketing campaigns.

Having media-rich content takes your campaign to the next level and gives it that emotional connection that is at the heart of the concept of nostalgia.

After all, Lucky Charms have always been magically delicious. But, seeing those colorful marshmallows from your childhood in living color may be enough to compel you to grab the box off the shelf — and that’s brilliant nostalgia marketing at work.

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