From time to time, we often relive memories from the past at the most unexpected of moments which often evokes forgotten emotions. These can be triggered by any reminiscences that reconnect us with old experiences, often associated with solid levels of affection and longing. In these instances, this feeling of nostalgia can remind us of previous encounters that lead us to what our lives have turned out to be today.
In marketing, nostalgia is often used as another one of many tactics to capitalize on and boost engagement rates. In a series of studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2015, researchers have stated that this emotion can push people to make bigger purchasing decisions and spend more money. While many people might not notice it, it is a commonly used and effective tactic found everywhere.
There are several examples of nostalgia marketing that business owners can apply to all sorts of industries and markets. But before we get into those, we must first give ourselves a better understanding of this strategy and how it can be fully utilized to make your brand stand out from other competitors.
What is Nostalgia Marketing?
By traditional definition, nostalgia is defined as a strong sentimental longing or great affection for a past event or experience. This can be associated with places, a period in time, objects, experiences, and other personal connections. More often, triggers for nostalgia are caused by sensory stimuli that can be activated through several scenarios such as conversations, memory recollection, and similar experiences.
Nostalgia marketing is such an effective tactic because it can highly motivate customers to buy more products. When people are reminded of a pleasant experience from their past, they become more excited about the connection. These instances might remind them of their childhood, like things they once played with or watched on the screen in most cases.
People buy certain products that connect them to their childhood because they can keep these items to help the memories stay alive. As a customer gets older, this feeling is often heightened, leading them to make more significant expenses down the line. Brands that use this tactic often slap a familiar character from a tv show or toy series onto their products to appeal to these customers. In turn, it has been proven effective in boosting sales and engagement rates.
When Brands Get Nostalgia Marketing Right
Several companies have taken advantage of the nostalgia factor and successfully incorporated it into their marketing tactics. Here are a few examples of these strategies and how it worked out for the brands.
1. Crystal Pepsi by Pepsi
In the 90s, Pepsi released a new drink called Crystal Pepsi, which was marketed as a caffeine-and-preservative-free version of their most popular soda. After several years from being discontinued, the brand reintroduced the soda for a limited time in 2016.
The marketing campaign for this product used multiple throwbacks such as Furbies and Tamagotchis to boost sales for those familiar with its original debut. As a result, the product began trending on various social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
2. Surge Comeback by Coca-cola
Thanks to the nostalgia card and its loyal consumer base, Coca-cola has often been successful with its marketing campaigns. In the 90s, the brand released a drink called ‘Surge’ to compete against Mountain Dew before discontinuing it in 2003. However, after a few years, fans of the old drink created a petition in 2014, which caused a significant movement on Facebook.
Coca-Cola happily responded to this by re-releasing the beverage for a limited time online in the United States the following year, which quickly sold out. To this day, vintage soda cans of the drink are still highly valued and considered a rare collectible.
3. Nintendo Classic Mini by Nintendo
Nintendo is no stranger when it comes to nostalgia marketing as it is one of the most popular tactics they use to sell their newer consoles to familiar fans. in 2016, Nintendo released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Classic Mini, a more miniature replica of the brand’s first gaming console.
The product featured a simple plug-and-play setup similar to old retro gaming consoles used in the 90s with over 30 classic games such as Super Mario Bros, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and many more. As of June 2018, Nintendo has sold over 3.6 million units worldwide.
4. Cookie Monster collaboration with Apple Inc.
Apple is one of the most creative brands out there when it comes to marketing strategies. In many cases, the company makes use of high-profile celebrities as the face of their advertisements to connect better with their target market. Considering the nostalgia factor, the business released a new campaign in 2016 where they used a familiar character to market the iPhone 6.
Sesame Street’s famous character, Cookie Monster, was featured in a short commercial to show how fun and accessible the brand is. Apart from that, a series of bloopers were also released to give customers that familiar heart-warming feeling when seeing their favorite characters on screen. In total, Apple was able to sell over 220 million units for this single series alone.
5. The NeverEnding Story by Spotify
Spotify introduced a new spokesperson in 2016, which brought back familiar memories among older users who were fans of the hit film The NeverEnding Story. The movie was first released in the mid-80s where it was able to successfully release two sequels later on in the 90s due to popularity.
To hit the nostalgia theme better, the company recruited the original actors to reprise their roles for this campaign. As of 2021, the original song ‘The NeverEnding Story’ sung by Limahl now has over 64.5 million streams on the app.
A Blast from the Past
Connecting with old memories can often be a fond experience that motivates consumers to relive their past experiences. In marketing, this can be a powerful ally for many brands to boost their reputation and engagement rates with their consumer base.
When appropriately used, nostalgia can have a significant impact on the lives of many people. It isn’t just about selling a product; it’s also about helping your customers connect with old memories that can live on as they grow older.
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