What's Old is New Again - How to Use Nostalgia in Marketing

Nostalgia has always been an important tool for marketers to employ when they want to evoke emotions from their consumers. Especially now, with the craziness going on in the world these days, this tool has become even more significant. There is currently a strong resurgence of the theme, “what’s old is new again.” Below is a look at some examples of nostalgia in action, and how nostalgia is being used in different marketing strategies.

1.     Pokemon Go. Come on, you knew this was coming! Pikachu, Charmander and the other original starter Pokemon were a phenomenon in the 90’s, then more or less disappeared out of the limelight. Well boy, are they back with a vengeance! Their team figured out the best way to make them relevant again was to capitalize on the digital age. They are now dominating the news and the gaming world by using digital in a relatively new medium - augmented reality.

Marketing insight:  If your brand is feeling stale or worn-out, breathe new life into it by figuring out if there’s a way to capitalize on some of the available digital mediums. 

 

2.   Fuller House. Uncle Jesse - Have Mercy! So I’ll admit that I haven’t seen Fuller House yet, however, most people over the age of 15 have seen at least one episode of the original series Full House. We are seeing a serious resurgence of TV shows coming together again…Gilmore Girls, The X-Files, etc. The reason this concept works is because the generation that grew up loving Full House is eager to recall their younger, innocent and less stressful years when they watched the show, and even more so, they want to see how the characters have evolved in their lives just like the viewers have evolved in their own.

Marketing Insight: If your brand has been around for awhile, it’s fun to recognize and appreciate those earlier years. Bring back old packaging for a limited time, compare your old location to your new location in side-by-side pictures, etc. This shows consumers how much your brand/company has grown, but also brings them back to remembering “the good old days.”

 

3.     Ghostbusters. Who ya gonna call? The female version of Ghostbusters! The premise remains the same: Fight ghosts and get some laughs along the way. However, instead of casting younger male actors and adding a couple more digital features, the creators decided to have an all female cast. This may lose some nostalgic value for viewers who loved the original movie, but it’s very timely with the various initiatives for women’s empowerment occurring right now.

Marketing Insight: Now could be a good time to change up a piece of your company’s core marketing, while still keeping true to your brand. Always running the same promotions? Maybe it’s time to throw some new ones into the mix. Stay true to your company’s core values, but change it up a little every now and then to keep your marketing fresh and exciting.

 

4.     Major League Sports Teams. At one time or another, most major league sports teams have turned back the clock on their uniforms. Since the Phillies are my hometown team, I’ll use them as an example. Not only do they wear nostalgic uniforms, but they even host a themed night called ‘Retro Night.’

Marketing Insight: If there’s a family component to your company, it’s nice to allow parents to feel like they’re experiencing something they did when they were children before they had their own offspring. You don’t need throwback uniforms to make that happen, but it’s a nod to the past while embracing the future.

 

5.     Crystal Pepsi. Who remembers the clear cola Pepsi came out with? Welp, it’s coming back next month. With its retro packaging and all it’s glory.

Marketing Insight: Sometimes re-introducing something from the past brings consumers back to your brand. If I have been drinking Coke recently, but loved Crystal Pepsi, there’s a chance that when I buy Crystal Pepsi, I’ll get that warm and fuzzy feeling (halo effect) thinking about the times I used to drink Crystal Pepsi. This feeling may lead me to continue purchasing Pepsi even when Crystal’s re-release is over.

 

Even if your company is not a mature brand, it can still incorporate some nostalgia into its marketing or creative as long as it makes sense for the brand. Incorporate an old song that brings back good memories or use black and white pictures/vintage creative. Today, more so than ever, many of us are wishing for the good old days. Now’s the time to capitalize on this sentiment.