#Throwback: Using Nostalgia as a Marketing Strategy

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Memories can make a person reminisce of a time they once felt previously. In the present moment, events that transpired from the 1970s to 1990s are now those that have taken place 20-50 years ago, and the public has changed since then. Companies that have been established back then are now brands that are currently well-known such as Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Amazon, and Netflix, just to name a few. With the various ways to attract customers, newer, smaller businesses may not be aware of how to advertise their products. 

One strategy that companies use to market their brand and offerings is nostalgia, wherein trends from the past are used to invoke emotions and memories of an individual or group to persuade the consumers to purchase the product. If a company has been around for a long time, it more or less has gained the loyalty of most of its customers. They also have more chances of bringing the concept of nostalgia to their target market to attract consumers in a positive light. This could convince the youth to purchase products either on their own volition or as recommended by their parents or relatives. As such, nostalgia is an intelligent strategy for businesses to use as a marketing strategy because it allows the consumer to feel good or positive, which makes them reminisce about their memories, and can make a brand feel authentic when advertising the product. 

Nostalgia brings emotion to the consumer

When someone becomes nostalgic, it takes them to the past, through events, experiences, songs, and so much more. People tend to focus on positive memories and make it a source of motivation to do better, increasing optimism in terms of social connections and self-esteem. This may, however, differ from person to person, as each individual has different types of behavior. As nostalgia is an “emotion and thought process”, it allows the consumer to open up and give in to purchasing a product. 

According to a research article written by Nasir and Polat, companies use nostalgia when marketing with the use of visuals (colors, designs), allowing their brand to communicate and engage with the audience. By taking advantage of using those visual elements, it can attract the attention of the general public. If nostalgia is used properly as a marketing strategy, it could secure a loyal customer base which in return, allows a consumer-brand relationship to make a consumer feel connected with the brand emotionally. The emotion a consumer feels towards the brand can more likely to increase their purchasing power when one feels nostalgic. This leads to the concept of nostalgia allowing a brand to be authentic while advertising the product. 

Nostalgia provides authenticity in advertisements

Nostalgia allows a brand to be authentic when advertising the product. Instead of advertisements that are forced onto the general public (wherein it is direct), companies can approach the audience through an indirect method by using their history and recalling the memories (such as Coca-Cola, Nintendo, and Apple have done) and emotions of their target market through past trends or events to make themselves seem approachable and show that they care for their consumers. 

As advertisements are avoidable on a lot of known social media websites, nostalgic marketing may allow the viewer to soften up when there are advertisements that showcase products that allow them to relive their past memories. This strategy can relive the impact and relevance of a company to a consumer, regardless of what age they were living in. It is however important to take note that nostalgia will only be activated if other emotions are present, as confusion may be brought to the audiences, as it will affect the behavior of the individual or group watching. 

Nostalgia allows people to go back in time

While it may seem that the concept of nostalgic marketing is easy, it must be executed properly in order to achieve the impact required. In an article written by Unruly, one advertisement made by Internet Explorer showcases the concept of a “90s kid” by bringing in products that existed or made popular by that generation (Trolls, Tamagotchi, Yo-yo, Pogs), which made the opportunity for the brand to advertise their new tablet. 

While nostalgia was brought into the concept, many viewers of the ad became confused when Internet Explorer introduced their tablet in the last few seconds of the video because it contradicted the story that the company built up. This goes to show that while nostalgia marketing is powerful, there is a need for brands to do it right, or else they’ll fall to showing awkward advertisements.

Nostalgia through social media

Nowadays, people post on social media events or photos of the past (e.x. Throwback Thursday) which are common as people get to look at the past, invoking positive feelings towards those who see it and the author themselves. It brings a sense of familiarity and welcoming, placing those who see the photo or video as a moment in time they would want to return in, and enjoy what brought them happiness at the time. Businesses may do the same and apply it to their companies when it comes to advertising their product. This strategy as a result will allow the brand to gain loyal consumers and even new, interested parties. Not only is it proven as effective, but it also touches on how the audiences’ feelings, making a marketing strategy seem authentic. 

Thus, it is an intelligent strategy for businesses to use nostalgia as a marketing strategy as it emotionally connects the audience, which could lead to the customers purchasing the product, and provides an authentic feeling which showcases the amount of love and care the business provides to developing their previous and upcoming products. Nostalgia is not only a feeling or emotion that is used in looking at the past, or understanding the behavior of one’s self or others, but it can also be handy in advertising a brand to the general public if the concept is understood and executed properly.

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Visual by: Rissa Kei Chua

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