7 min to read

Why does nostalgia marketing work so well online?

Source: Unsplash.

Remember when we were kids?... Yeah, those were good times!

Depending on which generation you belong to, your child memories may be different, for example, if you are a baby boomer chances are that you remember your teenage years singing The Beatles songs or dancing to the rhythm of Elvis Presley if you are from Gen X you remember how amazing it was to see for the first time Star Wars on the cinema, and finally, if you are from millennials or generation z, you may remember with deep love your times watching Pokemon or Sponge Bob Squarepants on the tv.

All of these are beautiful moments because we tend to romanticize the past and think it was always a better time. Sometimes it is the case and sometimes it isn't, but one thing is for sure, when we were younger we didn't have too many problems, and that's why we always like to remember when things were simpler for us.

Nowadays, it seems that brands and all kinds of media are aware of this trend, because nostalgia is everywhere, making us all buy products or watch reboots from old movies just to get a little taste or reminder of the old good days. Yeah, nostalgia can be sellable, and it has given so many good results for brands out there.

So, do you want to know how this primary feeling works so well online and also how could you use it to sell your products?

Well, take your past happy memories and let's how you can use them to take advantage of your back!

Let's start this throwback!

You could work with us, the leading digital marketing agency to assist you in digital marketing.

Why nostalgia marketing works so well online?

As much as we want to say that we are now grown adults with responsibilities, and due to this, we are people that make wiser decisions without getting feelings on the way, the tragic truth is that we aren't so centred and wise when we are talking about a purchase decision, in fact, feelings maybe the fuel of all these buying factors.

No matter how much you effort on showing how great are your services, you can say anything you want: The best prices, the latest technology, top-performing all over the world. These attributes give value to your brand, we get it, but if you know a little bit of marketing, chances are that almost every other brand will say the same characteristics for their products.

So what thing moves us? That's right, feelings ladies and gentlemen!

When a campaign's message touches that pain point you have, that you feel this brand not only wants your money, no, they understand what you are going through and want to help you with that, no matter if their services are the best on the world or not, you are going to buy from them!

Without even thinking it twice, they got your heart and you are all of them!

So, as we spoke about the "good feeling" sensations that nostalgia gives us, there is no doubt on why this is helpful to engage more deeply with your audience.

You are using your brands or services to take them to a good place, to a time where they don't have the problems they face today, and for them, this is the safest place on earth!


Source: YouTube.

Nostalgia gives us a Good felling

The University of Southampton found that nostalgia can help people deal with loneliness, boredom and anxiety by conjuring good memories into their minds.

Due to this side effect, more marketers are using this powerful emotional detonation to keep closer to their customers. As we said before, they tend to buy more depending on fellings than quality features.

How do we evoke nostalgia in customers?

The simplest answer to this is by helping your customers to remember good memories from their past, but how do we do this? How do we know how their childhoods or teenage years were?

Well, all the answers are in pop culture, just find out what they were listening or watching when they were young and usually this will get them back to their younger years.

Nevertheless, is not as easy as putting an old song on your campaign, no, this has to come from a deep feeling of sharing good memories with your audience, and also, attaching it to your marketing purposes.

Once you know what trends your audience loved the most in their younger years there are other factors you could add to your campaign to make it more succesful.

For example, timing plays a huge part in audience's nostalgia, because some dates makes us feel more vulnerable or with opened feelinghs about nostalgia. So, holidays or celebrated dates like Valentine's day, Christmas or back to the school season are the best times to evoke these fellings to your customers.

Senses are connected to emotions, so, if you could use songs that were hits for your audience they automatically engage with your ad, since you are using sound to interact with them - take the example of the Neverending Story ad from Spotify.

But if you want to go further, you can pack a complete generation in your ad, just as Internet Explorer did in their "Child of the 90's campaign". Seeing that other platforms like Chrome or Safari were having more customers, Explorer decided to get back all their users by showing some old toys or fashion trends through all the 90's and how this platform accompanied them through all these times.

Source: YouTube.

Although this ad is great at conveying nostalgia, there are other more original ways to generate nostalgia in our audiences and this is from your own story.

While it is true that we have a range of countless moments from pop culture, when you talk about your personal story your audience can also emotionally connect with you, since the stories of a brand evoke the moment from when you were brave to start your business until

How are you now and how has this made you a better person?

This, beyond nostalgia, inspires your customers to believe in your hard work and connect with all your effort, which makes you stand out from those who just want to share nostalgia by showing toys from the past.

How to use nostalgia in your marketing campaigns online?

Now that we know how these feelings affect our audience, let's find out how we can use them in our online businesses.

Identify your generation audience

We always talk about the target audience, but for nostalgia, it takes a bigger group of people. You are selling memories to your customers, and because of that, you have to find what were the best memories of the generation you want to reach. 

According to Morris Holbrook and Robert Schindler, two marketing teachers, they found that people from the 90's (Millenials and Gen Z) strongly prefer products like movies and music that is associated with their youth, even more than products that existed in the mid-twenties.

So, the idea is to identify those childhood memories that made your audience dream, they will be happy to see these ones again.

As always, the idea is to identify trends that align with your business values and try to avoid memories that could trigger controversy or lead to polarizing conversations. For example, make them remember how cool boy bands were in the 90's, but dont try to make them choose between Backstreetboys or NSYNC' because rather than triggering their purchase decisions, you will unleashed a fandom battle in your comments, which is great for engagement, but takes all the attention away from your marketing goals.

Source: YouTube.

Find the right time to be nostalgic

Now, as we said before, there is a right time to be nostalgic, you wouldnt think you are going to live from nostalgia all your life, that is something that only Hollywood could do, not in the best way we must say.

Going back to the topic, holidays are not the only good dates to be nostalgic, here are some ocassions where you can get more sentimental with your marketing:

Rebranding: This opportunity is great to commemorate what changes have faced your brand, just like Burger King did with their first rebrand in 20 years and put their logo from the 70s. When all-time customers of this restaurant see this they get a taste of nostalgia, meanwhile, with the trend of nostalgia, millennials seem to love everything that looks retro. You can see this influence in cinema, where all movies and series are about the 80s like Stranger Things.

Source: YouTube.

Celebrating a milestone or anniversary: When your brand is on its anniversary it's an excellent time to commemorate the past and show how your company has improved through all these years and what is about to come next.

Limited edition products: Sometimes some products were so good and got discontinued, maybe a Cheetos flavour or an old video game you loved to play. What you can do with this is to bring them back, and as soon as you announce they will be limited, those nostalgia purchases will grow in a blink of an eye.

Source: YouTube.

Take nostalgia to social media

Social media can be used to share good moments, and so, when customers see a campaign that reminds them of the good old days they won't doubt sharing it, and by sharing it your chances to go viral grow. Nostalgia is all around social media with hashtags like #TBT, #WayBackWednesday and even #FlashBackFriday

 Social media nostalgia is especially useful with Gen z or millennials because linking memories to your brand experience can help you create long-lasting emotional connections with these audiences. 


Source: YouTube.


Nostalgia makes us feel at home, it takes us back to a place where we had fewer worries and were happier.

This technique is effective nowadays, but we have to remember that if we want to evoke feelings in our audience it must come from a true place, not just a cheap tactic to make them spend. 

Nostalgia is everywhere, but what makes it engaging is how you mix it to your brand's values and niche. Being forceful and trying to put nostalgia in a brand that doesn't fit will only cause customers to look at your brand as desperate for attention. Instead, there are other ways to evoke nostalgia beyond pop culture or any other fashion, and that is by telling your own story.

So tell us, what are your most nostalgic memories?

Tell us in the comments, and until a new article see you!


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