Question to everyone about the power of nostalgia

by pauloadaoag Administrator 18 replies
Triggered by a conversation at WFHQ, has anybody had any experience utilizing the powers of nostalgia in a marketing campaign? We think it's pretty potent but it's not something you can build off of. Just a one time thing that you use sparingly. What do you guys think?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #nostalgia #power #question
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Heh it's hard for me to think of the 90s as "nostalgia" territory and I'm 42. Feels like it was just 10 years ago although I know it darn well wasn't.

    But yes, it's clear nostalgia is a big factor...otherwise 50-somethings wouldn't buy leather-sleeved, wool school jackets with logos on the back, or motorcycles to recapture their youth for that matter.

    I don't see why you can't build an evergreen campaign off nostalgia. And it seems to be perception-specific to the individual...I can't get nostalgic for some kids tv show from the early 2000s, for example, because I probably don't have a clue that it exists. You really have to get the match right between the offer and your audience. I think that fit is even more critical here, because there isn't much "curiosity factor" involved.

    That being said, I can think of a contradictory example right off the bat that circumvents the "fit factor"...Stranger Things. You can enjoy the show just as well without having lived in the 80s. But then I would argue that viewer isn't watching the show for nostalgia.

    YouTube shows like 8-Bit Philosophy on Wisecrack's channel and games like Gods Will Be Watching demonstrate there's a market for nostalgic-based content.

    And who has not enjoyed a Lego Movie? A ride back to being a kid again, if you're a grown-up. (Don't worry--some grumpus will come on and tell me they saw one and hated it. But I think we'll find they're just a miserable individual in general lol)

    I'd also be interested in how groupthink affects nostalgia purchases...if "everybody" in the office is buying, and they're mostly in the same age range, will you, too? All the while feeling legitimate nostalgic pangs?
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

    Triggered by a conversation at WFHQ, has anybody had any experience utilizing the powers of nostalgia in a marketing campaign? We think it's pretty potent but it's not something you can build off of. Just a one time thing that you use sparingly. What do you guys think?
    First, there were NO hits in the 90's (says the child of the 60's).

    We've done quite a bit in both nostalgia and historical, like the TITANIC for example.

    The thing is, what is a BUYER's DATA worth to you? To say it is just a one time thing, well, you might need to do some creative thinking on that point.

    Give me a buyer, and if it is something like what you showed, it would take a New York minute to know and understand WHO that buyer is, and once I know that, believe me, they're going to be more than a ONE time thing for my marketing efforts.

    GordonJ
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    • Profile picture of the author pauloadaoag
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      First, there were NO hits in the 90's (says the child of the 60's).
      I beg to differ
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    I attended a concert for the Eagles a few years back -- I was the youngest person in the crowd. I'm a firm believer that no decent music has been written since the 70s.

    I still buy Carole King CDs when mine wear out. Talk about nostalgia...just the fact I still buy CDs.

    I think a lot of baby boomers especially spend money on nostalgic items and we have the money to do so.

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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Yes, if you target the right market and right demographics I think it can be very effective.

    As others have alluded to and outright said, money spent on nostalgic Acts in the past is prove right there, imo
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

    Triggered by a conversation at WFHQ, has anybody had any experience utilizing the powers of nostalgia in a marketing campaign? We think it's pretty potent but it's not something you can build off of. Just a one time thing that you use sparingly. What do you guys think?
    It can be used as a one-off campaign, but I can think of several brands that use nostalgia pretty much exclusively as a marketing strategy, as well as many products that owe their entire existence to exploiting that warm and fuzzy feeling. It seems to be a universal human desire to look back fondly at one's own youth or at another imagined past when life/society was better/less complicated (delete as appropriate).

    Any product or campaign that evokes pleasant memories or conjures up desirable aspects of a bygone age in the minds of consumers is likely to be well received. And usefully for marketers, particularly in this social-sharing age, nostalgia is a transferable emotion - it isn't necessary to have actually experienced something in order to enjoy those nostalgic feelings generally associated with it. Think Christmas and Charles Dickens, for example.

    However, it isn't nostalgia that prompts the favorable references to 60s and 70s music in this thread. Music really was better then.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    You can build whole cable networks off of nostalgia.

    BUZZR shows game shows from the 60s and 70s 24/7.

    Inspiration shows old "family-friendly" shows like Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons.

    The 'true crime' networks still exploit the JonBenet Ramsey investigation. Even the OJ trial (I still laugh when I think about Jay Leno's ongoing skit with the Dancing Itos).

    Nostalgia sells products, too. Look at all the kitchen appliances made to look like their early ancestors.

    As for music? Since when did my favorite Top 40 tunes get to be 'oldies'?
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    • Profile picture of the author TrickyDick
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      Even the OJ trial (I still laugh when I think about Jay Leno's ongoing skit with the Dancing Itos).
      This is STILL funny....

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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

    at WFHQ ... We think it's pretty potent but it's not something you can build off of. Just a one time thing that you use sparingly.

    Respectfully, I don't think the above is accurate - at least the part about "it's not something you can build off of." There are many, many thriving businesses that focus on "vintage" products and services where nostalgia is the trump card played in virtually everything they do.

    If, in fact, nostalgia is "pretty potent" as you claim, why does it have to be "just a one time thing?" Why can't something that's potent form the basis of an ongoing business? In many ways, nostalgia IMO is an excellent basis for a niche audience. It has definite boundaries, an audience that is not so fickle as teens/young adults, the audience is stable and has money, and increasingly these people are looking at the sad shape of things in the world and wishing they could experience the good ole days!

    Just my feelings and I'm one person in this niche audience,

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author pauloadaoag
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      What if the product isn't based on nostalgia?
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve B
        Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

        What if the product isn't based on nostalgia?

        Isn't that the subject of this thread that you started: The Power of Nostalgia? I'm not sure what you're getting at with this question.

        Yes, there are other reasons why a business might be built on the products of bygone days. But shouldn't that be the basis of a different thread?

        Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

        What if the product isn't based on nostalgia?
        I still think you can use a nostalgia angle.

        As much as people like to bask in the glow of the "good old days", we also remember the "not so good old days".

        Imagine this:

        [Black and white] A man is standing beside his car, a large paper map spread across the hood. The man looks at the map, looks around with a confused expression, looks back at the map. Finally, the man attempts to fold the map and ends up wadding it up and throwing it in the back seat.

        [Cut to color shot] Same man, many years older. Same car, still looking like new. Man puts GPS unit in bracket, punches a few buttons, and cruises off into the sunset...
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    However, it isn't nostalgia that prompts the favorable references to 60s and 70s music in this thread. Music really was better then.
    Exactly what my parents used to say about the 40s and 50s.

    "Why does every generation think their folks are square? No matter where their head's at they know Mom's ain't there." ~ John Sebastian

    "Here's to the sunny slopes of long ago." ~ Capt. Augustus Mccrae

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    • Profile picture of the author pauloadaoag
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      I'd like to think its because we dont remember the crappy music from the 60s, just the good ones.
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Time Life Books created a multi million dollar business off nostalgia

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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi P,

    Oh yes, this could be really powerful. Especially for folks like me. I am 42 like other folks on this thread and think of the 90's fondly.

    I'd also add doing a 1 time deal works nicely, versus turning back the clocks too much.

    Cool idea.

    Ryan
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

    Exactly what my parents used to say about the 40s and 50s.
    Originally Posted by pauloadaoag View Post

    I'd like to think its because we dont remember the crappy music from the 60s, just the good ones.
    You're both missing the point - it isn't just about the music.

    I was being slightly flippant in my earlier post, but I'd maintain that debating the relative merits of songs from past decades isn't simply an exercise in nostalgia. You can't appreciate the full worth of a piece of popular music if you divorce it from any cultural context.
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    I've just put Richard Branson's number on speed-dial. I call it my "Get-Rich-Quick" scheme.

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  • Profile picture of the author dragoshs
    Many companies attend to nostalgia. Read a couple of books about it just make sure you read some reviews first about the books you want to read. i'm telling you this because i don't want to advertise any of them but i'm letting you know that there are a couple of good ones out there
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