by Josh del Pino
I’ll never forget my first car – a 1975 Ford Falcon XB, made famous by the iconic Mad Max films.
People would often come over for a chat while I was filling up at a petrol station just to reminisce about when they or their family owned the iconic Falcon. They recalled fond memories with a dash of sadness and regret – “never sell the car mate, I wish I never had”.
There was a wave of emotion with the recent closure of the second last Blockbuster video store in the world, which was right here in Perth.
Many lamented the loss of a local icon and others took their children for one last visit – just so they would have a memory of what a video store was.
For those wondering – the last Blockbuster is in Canada and has no plans to close.
These experiences made me wonder about why we get so attached to things from yesteryear.
Why do we feel nostalgic for some things and not others? Here’s a short TED video that might go some way in explaining it.
Inducing nostalgia in people can help increase feelings of self-esteem and social belonging, encourage psychological growth and even make people act more charitably.
Studies also show nostalgia can be a restorative way of coping with stress and help us remember that our lives have meaning and value and give us confidence and motivation to face the challenges of the future.
In a nutshell – nostalgia makes us feel good.
In a marketing and PR sense, we have seen many companies try to capitalise on this, often with varying degrees of success – multiple franchise reboots continue to make billions of dollar at the cinemas (looking at you Disney).
Using nostalgia to boost your brand can be a risky move – but the decision to bring back the ‘classic Coke’ saw a spike in sales never before seen by the company in its history and had analysts debating whether it was just a clever marketing ploy all along.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Browne’s iconic Coffee Chill, the company recently brought back their original packaging to much fanfare and media attention. The catchy jingle was once again firmly lodged in people’s heads and the retrospective approach proved a winner on all fronts.
Public reception has been very positive as consumers reminisce about the 90s and their favourite moments with the beverage. As one comment on Facebook stated: “I honestly reckon my consumption of Coffee Chill has increased by 400% purely on the basis that this packaging is back.”
Harnessing nostalgia creatively takes specialist skills and insight but done well, it can boost your brand in a way that run of the mill marketing campaigns simply can’t.
So, if you’re looking to pull on some nostalgic heartstrings for your next marketing campaign, be sure you are reminding your audience of how far you’ve come rather than how low you’ve fallen.