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Nostalgia Marketing
08 Nov 2022

We’ve all purchased something because it reminded us of when we were younger - whether it was a specific style of jumper or a packet of sweets you haven’t tasted since your youth - but did you know this is a specific form of marketing?

Known as “nostalgia marketing”, this form of promotion is frequently used to sell products and services sentimental to your past.

One of the main times of year we see this form of marketing is Christmas. But why is this? 

Freya Morris explains more here…

Selling sentimentality

We are sentimental beings who find comfort in happy memories. Fortunately for marketers, this feeling can be somewhat sold by tapping into familiar memories to build trust.

To put it simply, it’s a way to associate a product or service with something consumers already know and love, like a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

i’m lovin’ it

Many of us have fond memories of driving past that glowing M when we were growing up.

We may also remember the delight we felt when we were handed a Happy Meal - complete with the best thing ever invented (or so we thought at the time), a Happy Meal toy!

Unfortunately, unlike childhood hero Peter Pan, we had to grow up and say goodbye to Happy Meals. Or so we thought…

In 2022 McDonald’s proposed an adult Happy Meal for its US customers which includes, you guessed it, a toy! Whilst some may see this as a silly idea for the fast-food giant, the buzz around it has been deafening - especially for those in other countries hoping this fast food item will be introduced to their local restaurant.

The reason why? Consumers are reminded of the happiness they felt from eating these meals in the past.

Back to the future (or more so to the past)!

Hands up, who’s been to the cinema lately for an anniversary showing, or to see the 13th film in a franchise (*cough* Halloween Ends)?

If your hand is raised, you’re not alone! Viewers have been flocking to the cinema to watch films like The Godfather or Poltergeist - films deemed ‘a classic’ which have returned to our screens after a number of years out of action.

But why are these screenings so popular? The visual and emotional memories associated with watching these films for the first time, of course!

The Coca-Cola Christmas truck

When you think of the build-up to Christmas what do you think of? For some it may be advent calendars and knitted jumpers, for others it’s the return of the Coca-Cola Christmas truck.

Created in 1995 by American agency W.B Doner, the infamous red truck is now indicative of the start of the festive period - despite truck tours only arriving in the UK in 2010.

Now, the familiar tune inspired by Melanie Thornton’s song ‘Wonderful Dream (Holidays are coming) reminds us of the years before, prompting the word ‘Christmas’ to light up in our brains.

It’s not the product, it’s the feeling

If you have no emotional ties to a Happy Meal, Christmas time or visiting the cinema, these marketing tricks won’t have an effect on you. Why? Because these brands are using your past emotions to sell you something. If those emotions were never there, they’re not going to be now!

This is definitely something to keep in mind when you’re marketing to people, or perhaps you’re being marketed to. What emotional response is being triggered and how does that impact spending habits?

What can you do now?

Part of our job is to stay up-to-date with the latest marketing trends.

This means if you’ve got a question about nostalgia marketing (or any form of marketing for that matter!) we’d love to answer it for you!

Alternatively, why don’t you join us for one of our Two Hour Takeovers? This training is one-to-one and can be personalised to whatever form of digital communication, PR and content creation training you need help with!

Either way, pop us an email at info@jandpr.com and we’ll be more than happy to help.