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Marketing Trend You Should Be Following: Nostalgia

Marketing Trend You Should Be Following: Nostalgia

Every ad campaign relies on consumer engagement. This is one of the most basic principles of advertising and marketing: an ad means nothing unless someone pays attention to it. In today’s fast-paced, increasingly digital world, it is harder and harder for advertising to get noticed. Brands need to be relatable and speak to what consumers care about. While it is true that social media and online content mean that what is or is not relevant changes at an increasingly faster speed, it’s still possible to pick out broader trends.


One trend, in particular, seems to be sticking around - or rather, coming back around. It’s nostalgia. Looking at pop culture, there are a million different ways nostalgia is permeating through society. Everything from the popular Instagram hashtags #ThrowbackThursday (#TBT) and #FlashbackFriday, to the rise in shows like Stranger Things, which capitalizes on the romanticization of an ‘80s aesthetic, and A Series of Unfortunate Events, which works because it’s geared towards people who loved the books as kids, to the resurgence of old technologies like vinyl records and polaroid cameras. It’s all based on a fond memory of times past.


Brands, especially the savvy ones, are using this to their advantage. One popular example is Pepsi’s 2018 Superbowl commercial, which took viewers on a journey through Pepsi’s history, including old bottle designs and vintage ads, while keeping their message - Pepsi is for every generation - present and relevant to today. This ad reminds you of all the good times with a Pepsi, even if you can’t think of one good time specifically. Another example is Microsoft’s ‘Child of the 90s’ spot. This spot reminded viewers of the fads of the nineties that many remember from their childhood - from yo-yos and snap bands to floppy disks and fanny packs. They took this fondness and applied it to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. While this ad was a touch too late, because Internet Explorer has since been replaced by Microsoft Edge as the default web browser for Microsoft products, it was still an effective and heart-warming ad. Even if it didn’t have the reach Microsoft was hoping for at the very least, it made us open Internet Explorer for the first time in ten years, which is no small feat.


Nostalgia can be a very powerful tool and is one that probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon, especially given the pace society is going. Trends and cultural moments come and go so quickly making it easier to feel nostalgic for things that happened not too long ago. Motorola proved this when they launched their Moto 06.09.16 spot, an ad that made people yearn for those golden days. Looking through the comments section on the YouTube video for the spot, you will find people missing emo hair and flip phones - things that haven’t even completely disappeared yet.


Whether or not this trend will last the next five to ten years is up for debate but for now, one of the best ways to look forward in marketing is by looking back. What brings nostalgia to you?