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Nostalgia is a powerful and underrated marketing device

Everyone hates to admit how much they love reboots and remakes.

Every time there’s a new movie that’s a reboot of an old one, or Hollywood releases a remake, there’s push back.

And yet, these remakes and reboots crush it at the box office.

But it isn’t just movies. Nintendo, Coca-Cola, Snickers, and Old Navy are all using nostalgia to drive growth with their brands.

Nostalgia is powerful and effective because it feels good. It taps into memories that we look at with rose-tinted glasses. We can use it to make our customers feel a certain way or remember a certain feeling, which they will then relate to our brand or product.

Once we begin to feel nostalgic, we care more deeply. And when we care more deeply, we’re more inclined to do something or buy something that will help us either relive or reconnect with that nostalgic time or feeling.

It’s an extremely powerful tool, especially for marketers. I’m surprised more industries don’t abuse it as much as the movie industry has. It’s not a coincidence everything nowadays is reboots and remakes. It’s because it’s extremely profitable.

So how can we as lowly marketers use nostalgia in our campaigns when we don’t have the age and built up brand equity like Nintendo and Coca-Cola?

Market the good ol’ days

Remember when you didn’t have to sit in traffic? Remember when food wasn’t as processed? Remember when music used to be good?

If every advertisement or sales copy you ever wrote started off with something like “remember when x?”, you’d immediately pull in a lot of people.

Your product or business can be positioned to remind people of a time or thing that used to be better than it is now.

Take something old and make it new again

It can be an old idea, an old product, an old phrase or style. The point is, you can take something that used to be very popular and bring it back to a modern audience with a modern twist.

Pepsi has done this recently by bringing back Pepsi Crystal. But again, you don’t have to bring back an old product of yours. You can simply take something that is old and make it new again.

Incorporate some nostalgia into your content and marketing

Your content and marketing can share peeks into how your industry used to look and tell stories about how things used to be. #TBT (#ThrowbackThursday) is a really popular Instagram hashtag. Your business can participate regularly every Thursday if you get creative.

Selling homes in Toronto? Share photos of how Toronto used to look in the 60’s. Selling fitness equipment? Share black and white photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger competing in the Mr. Olympia. Selling computer electronics? Share old photos of the first computer or remind people of how computers used to be before today’s complicated technology.

Use creative cues that trigger feelings of nostalgia

Your logo, slogan, jingles, website design, graphics, etc. can all help cue customers of their longing for a different time. For example, using synthesizers in your jingle, giving your website an 80’s theme, or using old words like “rad” can all bring feelings and memories of the 80’s.

When people worry about their current situation and are unsure about the future, they turn to the past where they find comfort and familiarity. Your product and business can help give your customers that if you can tap into their nostalgia.

Published in Marketing