Welcome to Nostalgia Marketing

Ever watch one of those commercials that just sends you back into the deep recesses of your memory? That memory of getting elbowed in the rib cage fighting over the Nintendo controller with your brother or that movie you so dearly loved and obsessed over throughout your awkward pre-teen stage? Nostalgia marketing allows us to look back on the things we already love and know are great, rather than having us anticipate the newest and next great thing. Nostalgia marketing is the equivalent to comfort food for the consumer soul. “In a time when most marketing focuses heavily on the future, it transports us back to a simpler place where our current problems don’t matter” (Hubspot). Not only does nostalgia marketing bring back “all the feels,” but according to the Journal of Consumer Research, it is also more likely to encourage consumers to spend money on goods and services.

The key to nostalgia marketing is to understand your audience’s motivations, how they were raised, where/when they were raised, their specific interests, and so on. “Aligning marketing strategies with emotion has already proven to be successful, but tapping into fond memories can be an invaluable tactic, especially for engaging millennials” (Forbes). Seeing a lot of 90s nostalgia in fashion trends, advertisements, and more? That’s because one of the largest audiences, in terms of buying power, are now millennials. Folks want to be reminded about positive memories from their childhood and the advertising world can capitalize on this.

Don’t just take it from us. Check out recents ads from businesses who capitalized on the fuzzy feelings of nostalgia marketing. 

E.T Phones Home Again

Pull out the tissues and put on that dusty red hoodie of yours. E.T., the alien we all know and love, came back to life in 2019, thanks to Xfinity (an internet/TV/phone provider) who released this short, four-minute film reuniting E.T. with Elliot, played by Henry Thomas, in the 1982 movie. Elliot appeared as an adult with a wife and kids of his own, reflecting the life of the Gen X-ers who were children when the movie was originally released. “E.T. Phones Home Again” instantly resonated with viewers all across the country. Xfinity’s successful ad campaign of “reconnecting” hit home, and created a spot in our hearts forever.

Two Brothers and Nintendo 

If you grew up in the ‘80s or ‘90s, there’s a good chance you remember playing with (or fighting over) the Nintendo controller with your sibling. Nintendo’s nostalgic ad, released in spring of 2019, features two brothers who played the video game as children but eventually grew apart as teenagers. Now as adults, the brothers are happily reunited again over the new Nintendo Switch (because it’s never too late to be a child again). This ad not only shows the evolution of their relationship but also how Nintendo has adapted over time as well and how it is a timeless product that grows up with you.

We Met Microsoft Explorer in the ‘90s

Who didn’t die of dysentery on the Oregon Trail or have a Tamagotchi with a death wish? While the age of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was really no more as of 2015 (being replaced by Microsoft Edge), it’s unlikely that kids of the ‘90s have forgotten this iconic browser (or the staples of their youth). This ad, while reviving old memories specifically for Millennials, introduced all the great items of the 90’s to viewers. The ad, while banking on childhood nostalgia, aimed to reintroduce the new (and improved) Internet Explorer to the adults who grew up.

So… what’s something you loved from your childhood? What about for your target audience; what did they love? Tap into this strategy for your marketing as we enter a new year and the holiday season. Folks want to be reminded of the good ol’ days especially since 2020 has been such a rollercoaster. Thought this article was da bomb? Share it to your network!