Nostalgia Marketing

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I stepped inside the campus store and headed straight to the standard-issue fridges in the back. Something “new” catches my attention from the corner of my eye, drawing me in from the other side of the glass doors. It’s a Sprite, but clearly special, with hints of red on the label.

Oddly transfixed, I opt for the sugary drink instead of my usual tea brand.

I didn’t even remember that it was an old favorite.

Sprite remix tropical drink

Source: New York Post

After all, I was only about 8 years old when Sprite Remix was first released; but as soon as I tried it, I had the distinct memory of being obsessed with it as a kid, right around the time when staying up “late” meant watching All That at 8:30 and my older sister and I were mourning NSYNC’s hiatus.

…I ended up buying it every day during finals week. The nostalgia got me.

The Power of the Past

Products, formats, and color combinations that agencies and companies alike haven’t dared to touch in decades are suddenly back in style. It seems like everyone recognizes the potential in harnessing the power of the past.

Lots of types of sensory input can trigger nostalgia, but as HubSpot once said, the most common cause is negative emotion, like loneliness, sadness, or sometimes even exam-related stress. Though these triggers tend to be negative, experiencing nostalgia is known to have psychological benefits like increased self-esteem and an enhanced mood. Nostalgia can literally take negative feelings and turn them positive. That’s why nostalgia is such a powerful marketing tool. If you make people feel nostalgic, your brand experience makes them feel good by association.

Say hello to your loyal following.

Why It’s so Effective

Nostalgia, in some shape or form is always in; and despite what the sheer number of 90’s listicles have told you, nostalgia marketing isn’t just for millennials. Collective trust in established brands and institutions is at an all time low. People are becoming incredibly talented at tuning out buttoned-up marketing messages as they search for authenticity, and brands are beginning to scale back in an effort to regain some of that trust.

That can take the form of anything from debranding to incorporating a retro throwback through product or design. People are enamored by the awkward formats and retro color palettes of their youth. Even infomercials are having their time in the spotlight again. The appeal is simple.

These Things Feel Authentic

They’re purposefully imperfect and somewhat quirky. They make a loud statement in a world full of polished and modern messages by simply existing.  Any brand that can incorporate a retro throwback is sending the signal that they don’t take themselves quite so seriously.

They feel safe to approach, and most importantly, are sending a clear message that they want to connect with you.