The Power of Nostalgia Marketing: How It Works

Nostalgia is such a powerful thing.


It’s the reason why we have Throwback Thursdays and Flashback Fridays in which we have the opportunity to share nostalgic memories on social media, be it from the past week or decades ago. It’s also the time where we share photos of outdated technology or the previous generation’s favourite snacks, with captions saying share if you remember what this is.


Wonder why Stranger Things is met with so much excitement? It’s because it ingeniously pays homage to our childhood thrillers, resonating well with the audience, particularly among millennials – and brands from across all industries have tapped into this concept, paving the way for a powerful a trend, nostalgia marketing.


But, how did this trend come to be and how does it work?


What is Nostalgia Marketing?

As Google puts it, nostalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Nostalgia marketing, on the other hand, is a strategy where brands leverage the past to generate these feeling with the goal of creating a connection with the audience.


What Was Old is New Again

Although nostalgia is universal, it makes a more significant impact on the millennial generation. As the group of people who have seen the most change, they are most likely to long for the past.


In fact, this statement is supported by a number of studies suggesting that nostalgia help millennials deal with transitions. We’ve witnessed how campaigns that reminisce the good ol’ days evoke positive feelings among these young adults who have faced the many challenges of today’s lifestyle.


A great example of this is when, in early 2018, Nintendo announced they were releasing a mini version of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), along with 30 retro games. For fans of the console, this provided an opportunity for them to experience something so familiar but in a different time and a different format.



The NES, along with the SNES Classic Mini that was reintroduced alongside, immediately sold out worldwide, further proving the success of nostalgia.


Nostalgia Marketing in Singapore

In Singapore, nostalgia marketing got about in full force in 2015. It was around that time when the hashtag #growingupsingaporean began trending on Twitter where locals gushed about everything that is reminiscent of their childhood from the country erasers collection to haw flakes.


Brands were so quick to pick up that it didn’t take long for a giant name like Tiger Beer to take viewers back in time with its 90-second imagined narrative about the Unofficial History of Singapore. It shed light on some of the most intriguing mysteries in our lives like who created the Kallang Wave?


Three years later, the marketing tactics that play with different nostalgic elements continue to proliferate in Singapore. An insurance company’s commercial, for instance, cited examples of childhood fearlessness such as catching spiders, swimming in lakes and swimming from trees, to promote financial planning.


Even a commercial bank tapped into the free spirit of the youth from different eras to suggest consumers from different generations are way more similar than they thought.


The Benefits of Nostalgia Marketing

There are many benefits to nostalgia marketing. It allows you to leverage the power of memory and connect with the consumers on a personal level. But, what exactly are the reasons that make nostalgia marketing so effective?


1. It combats consumer fatigue

These days, consumers are inundated with multiple marketing messages across all social media platforms. Due to this overload, they are becoming numb to them thus, they’re less likely to create an emotional connection to  a brand.


Nostalgia marketing, on the other hand, is a way to counteract this concept, even helping the audience to easily navigate through stressful life transitions. For instance, a brand that is synonymous with a specific time period can tap into the memories of consumers, using it to re-engage with the audience.


Nokia is a great example for this after revamping its iconic 3310 as part of their major comeback. Now, while there’s not much special about the product itself, the excitement surrounding its release has been impressive and it’s safe to guess that it stemmed from those who once owned the original version.



2. It creates shareable content

Additionally, the feeling of nostalgia also has the power to make people feel more socially connected to others. It explains why brands turn to nostalgia marketing, capitalising on a consumer’s instinct to share a nostalgic content with friends and family.


Buzzfeed is only one organisation that benefits from this. Alongside typical niches like food, politics and news, it has a rewind category – a digital machine as they name it – that is purely devoted to everything nostalgic and everything old.



3. It blends the past with the present

Finally, while nostalgia is an effective tool for capturing the audience interest with the resurrection of childhood memories, it can be even more effective when it’s combined with innovation.

The hype around Pokémon Go is a perfect illustration of this. Not only did the Niantic game revived the well-loved childhood game, but by merging it with real-time, augmented reality, players were able to experience it a new way.



No matter what your business and who your audience is, you can tap into the power of nostalgia to connect with your audience – and we can help your brand make those connections strong.

We work to help you stay on top of trends to see how your campaigns can better resonate with your audience. Get in touch with us today!


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