What is Nostalgia Marketing and How Brands Can Leverage it


Share on LinkedIn

Spacejam, Mortal Kombat, Roswell. The list of old goodies getting a reboot goes on. Let’s not even get into the world of anime; it’s almost like all the shows we loved as kids are finding their way back into the spotlight. 

A COVID-19 study indicated that even more people opted for older shows for entertainment during the lockdown. Many movie directors already recognize this trend and are making the most of it.

We’re all quite familiar with the phrase “remember when…”. When someone utters those words, it sends us spiraling down memory lane, causing us to recall past experiences. We often find ourselves trying to relate those old times with the current situation. It usually culminates in a feeling of longing for the past with an unexplainable mix of happiness and sadness.

Sometimes, we find ourselves wanting to recreate some of the moments from the past. It’s all a result of wanting to experience the things we felt back then. That’s why more people are recreating photos and videos from their childhood in an attempt to satisfy that sense of nostalgia. 

These experiences and aspects of human nature are what nostalgia marketing seeks to exploit. 

What is Nostalgia Marketing and How Does it Work?

First off, let’s get a grasp of what NOSTALGIA entails.

Nostalgia is a feeling of longing for the past; it’s a sentimental desire to recreate past memorable experiences. Nostalgia happens when you recognize items that stir fond memories of your past. And like we mentioned before, it often culminates in THE DESIRE to recreate that experience. 

A nostalgia marketing strategy aims to evoke fond memories from your past and get you to purchase a product or service in an attempt to recreate those past experiences. 

Does it really work? Here’s a quick question for you—have you ever bought anything for sentimental reasons because you used to have it as a kid? Most of the time, you don’t even have a pressing need for that item. 

In the end, you only buy it because it reminds you of something you’ve long forgotten. That’s a nostalgic purchase, and that’s what nostalgia marketing targets.

Image Source: Unsplash 

How Can You Leverage Nostalgia Marketing?

Nostalgia marketing, albeit not common, is not a new idea. Pepsi used the nostalgia marketing idea in 2020 when they introduced limited editions of their retro cans to celebrate their history. 

There are many other ways to employ nostalgia marketing and combine it with other strategies like blogger outreach.

Below are some tips to help your brand make the best use of a nostalgia marketing strategy, in order to boost both your sales and your customer satisfaction metrics.

Create Familiarity in Uncertain times

The world is moving at a breakneck speed, and almost nothing lasts long before getting out of vogue again. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to form meaningful connections with activities, items, and products in today’s world. We’re constantly sacrificing familiarity and connection for innovation and new adventures. 

But, at some point, even the most adventurous heart gets weary and desires home. It desires familiarity, a touch that adds meaning to all its journeys and adventure. Your marketing strategy should look to duplicate that touch. 

We live in unprecedented times where people are beginning to realize the importance of real connections. A great nostalgia product or service is one that births or fosters the connections your target customers desire.

Image Source: Unsplash

Tap Into Brand History

A great brand history has a lot of benefits for nostalgia marketing strategies. Pepsi’s marketing strategy in 2020 is a prime example of this fact. 

Organizations with a rich brand history can tap into some of their past successes. A brand can take full advantage of nostalgia marketing by reminding customers of previous good experiences with the company. 

Recreate products that were huge successes in the past to appeal to the sentimental values of your customers. Most of the time, nostalgia marketing is that simple!  If your company has a solid history, leverage your old success stories plus a customer-centric approach to create new ones. 

Create and Share Memorable TBT Experiences

Who doesn’t love throwback Thursdays? You post old goofy pictures of yourself and trigger some awesome memories. But for brands, it should be a little bit different. You should take full advantage of the opportunity throwback Thursday presents for your nostalgia marketing strategy.

Share some endearing throwback memes, take the opportunity to appreciate your customers, and share how far the brand has come. Use throwback Thursdays to demonstrate growth, roll out some classics, encourage audiences to join with video or social media apps, and participate. You can also organize events for throwback Thursdays where customers get to win freebies when they complete specific challenges.  

Center Your Strategy Around Relevance

Nostalgia marketing is an exciting avenue to improve sales, but like all strategies, relevance is vital. 

Sure, nostalgia sometimes gets people to purchase things they don’t precisely need just for their sentimental value. But you shouldn’t bank on this possibility as your selling point. Relevance should guide your nostalgia marketing strategy. 

You want to create a product people need and add a nostalgic angle to it. A good idea is to create a product that incites nostalgia in a group of people and makes another group feel out of the loop. Of course, the product should be something both groups will still find useful even without sentimental value. 

Image Source: Unsplash

Appeal to Fond Memories With Your Advertising

Nostalgia is a pathway to a temporary escape from the now to the past. It takes you back to simpler times, happier places, and takes away the worries of the now for a while.

That said, let your marketing approach resonate with the positive memories of your audience. Create avenues for your customers or prospects to relive beautiful moments from their past. Then you’ll see the magic of nostalgia marketing. It’s not a new thing; neither is it rocket science; you just need to dig up some happy memories. Good luck!

Jenna Bunnell
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here