Author Joe L. Wheeler said, “There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves,” and I have to agree. The feeling of crisp autumn air, the crunch of fallen leaves and the smell of a bonfire all take me back to a simpler time. To be honest, I consider myself to be an incredibly nostalgic individual, as most millennials do. We grew up during the rise of technology, so we’re quick to embrace the newest developments. But we can also remember a time before the digital era, so we enjoy nostalgic touches and things that remind of “the good ol’ days.”
Brands have figured this out and use it to their advantage. For example, Stranger Things, a Netflix original series set in the 1980s, featured countless collaborations and reminiscent-worthy elements in its latest season – H&M released a clothing capsule, Nike dropped the Nike x Stranger Things range of athletic gear, Polaroid released an instant camera with themed film, Coca-Cola brought back New Coke and Burger King created the Upside Down Whopper. Baskin Robbins went all in – producing new ice cream flavors, recreating Scoops Ahoy (the ice cream store featured in the season) and developing Operation Scoop Snoop, a game that can only be played with 1985 technology (go big or go home, right?). I promise, and as surprising as this might be, I could continue.
Another recent example of a show capitalizing on nostalgia is the newest season of American Horror Story. With each season boasting its own theme, ranging from Apocalypse to Roanoke, this season is simply titled 1984. I won’t spoil too much, but I will say it features jazzercise, bright blue eyeshadow and the right amount of nods to typical 1980s horror films. Watching the opening credits takes you back to a time where tube socks and synth music ruled.
While we’re talking jazzercise, I’d be remiss not to mention the fashion trends of late. Majorly nostalgic looks – large blazers, mom jeans, scrunchies – are hitting the runways and malls across America. Though fashion always seems to be cyclical, it’s interesting to note that the current fashion trends align with the throwbacks we’re seeing in media.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What’s the catch? Why is everyone hopping aboard the nostalgia train?” According to a study conducted by the Journal of Consumer Research, we’re more likely to spend money when we’re feeling nostalgic. To illustrate my point, every one of the Stranger Things product collaborations is sold out and American Horror Story: 1984 premiered to 2.126 million viewers.
Nostalgia marketing is here to stay. While your business might not be able to harken back to the days of old, there are fun things you can do to join the fun. To capitalize on it, try creating social media graphics that utilize retro color schemes or graphics. Share photos and video content that document your organization’s history. Throw back to retro logos on gear and materials for a fun change of pace. Or, choose a theme for an event that’s a certain era. You know what they say – if you can’t beat them, join them!