By: Natalie Stinnett
(Photo by The Deaf Institute)
Recently, we have seen brands and companies utilize the feeling of nostalgia to market to and connect with their target audience. Some of your favorite childhood shows have made recent reboot versions of the old shows you grew up watching, like: iCarly, That 90’s Show, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, and Fuller House. A few of your favorite childhood bands or singers are singing their old songs, going on tour, and releasing new music – The Jonas Brothers, Paramore, and Aly & AJ. Companies like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s have utilized nostalgia by bringing back old or limited menu items that were once customer favorites. These examples all point back to how you can use nostalgia marketing to pull on the heartstrings of your audience and reel them into your brand.
What is Nostalgia?
“Nostalgia has been viewed as a yearning for a fond memory or liking for personal experiences and possessions of days gone by” (Youn & Amponsah Dodoo, 2021). Brand nostalgia could also be utilized “as a way to communicate with consumers [who have] already been more favorable in the marketing field.” (Cui, 2015) When you reach that feeling of nostalgia, you will experience a sense of homesickness, or sentimental longing or yearning for a past moment, memory, experience, feeling, or past period in your life.
How to Implement Nostalgia in Your Brand
A nostalgia marketing approach can highlight familiar and positive concepts into new and modern ideas, products, or campaigns. Additionally, this nostalgia tactic of associating your brand with something that consumers already love, know about, or have positive or sentimental memories with, will benefit your brand, and your consumer-brand relationship with your audience. Let’s see if you can point out a few examples of brand nostalgia.
Examples of Brand Nostalgia
Let’s look at That 90’s Show. This rebooted version of the hit TV show, That 70’s Show was created during the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The creators, Bonnie and Terry Turner wanted to do a spinoff show to That 70’s Show, because it gave them a sense of nostalgia of “going home to a familiar place” (Rath, 2023). In this case, that familiar place for The Turners was the Foreman’s basement, and they wanted to share that familiarity and nostalgia with their audience.
(Photo by Patrick Wymore, for Netflix)
Former Disney Channel Stars, Aly, and AJ Michalka – also known as Aly & AJ, have also taken advantage of nostalgia marketing. These two women were signed in 2004 by Disney’s Hollywood Record Labels, and they starred in old Disney Channel movies including, “Cow Belles”. They have recently made their comeback with the release of an explicit version of their hit song, “Potential Breakup Song”. Their target audience grew up with these sisters and this song, so the cuss words they added in this new version hit all the right spots for their now grown-up listeners. Since then, they have released a new album, With Love From and are going on tour starting in March 2023.
(Photo by Gregg Deguire for WireImage and Getty Images)
Your consumers and target audience will appreciate the nostalgia you incorporate into your brand, as they have fond memories and experiences with your message, product, or content. That feeling of nostalgia will make your audience reminisce on the good ol’ days and get them to relive those memories or experiences. This marketing will take your audience back to their happy place, despite what their current busy work schedules, or relentless responsibilities may look like.
Brand Loyalty and Attachment
Your audience may develop a sense of brand loyalty and brand attachment when they see the emotion and nostalgia you implement in your brand. You want your customers to walk away from your brand wanting more. To do this, you should invoke emotions like nostalgia into your brand and marketing because “people tend to have personal attachments to brands that evoke past events and personal experiences” (Youn & Amponsah Dodoo, 2021). This attachment will influence your audiences’ purchase intentions, commitment, and loyalty to continue coming back to your brand, as opposed to your competitors.
Brand Personality An effective brand personality should mirror a target audience that has similar traits and personalities to your brand. This also ties in with your audience’s loyalty, commitment, and attachment to your brand, as the “consistency between a brand’s personality and a consumer’s personality enhances the consumer’s attachment to the brand.” (Youn & Amponsah Dodoo, 2021). Your brand personality will also align with your audiences’ self-image, which could develop consumer-brand loyalty and attachment.
Cui, R. (2015). A Review of Nostalgic Marketing. Journal of Service Science and Management, 08(01), 125–131. https://doi.org/10.4236/jssm.2015.81015
Jokic, N. (2021, May 5). Aly & AJ Revealed What They Miss About Releasing Music in the 2000s, What They Really Think About TikTok, and Why Their New Album Name is So Darn Long. BuzzFeed. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from https://www.buzzfeed.com/natashajokic1/aly-and-aj-new-album-interview
Rath, K. (2023, January 31). Why That ’90s Show Wouldn’t Have Happened Without the Pandemic. ScreenRant. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from https://screenrant.com/that-90s-show-pandemic-help-reason/#:~:text=The%20Pandemic%20Led%20To%20That,the%20That%20’70s%20Show%20spinoff.
Youn, S., & Amponsah Dodoo, N. (2021, April 8). The Power of Brand Nostalgia: Contrasting Brand Personality Dimensions and Consumer-Brand Relationships of Nostalgic and Non-Nostalgic Brands. Wiley Online Library, 20(6), 1371-1694. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1002/cb.1941