The Good Times: Why Nostalgia Works in Making People Buy Stuff

The Good Times: Why Nostalgia Works in Making People Buy Stuff

Many of the things you see today are a blast from the past. There’s the sudden popularity of Pokemon again, with people “hunting” everywhere. There’s the original packaging of the cereal you’ve grown to love as a child sitting on grocery racks. And then the ultimate #throwback of all, there’s the return of your very first Nokia phone in the market.

It’s no coincidence that everybody’s into the “good old times.” Businesses and marketers are riding on the public’s inclination to take a trip down memory lane. If you don’t want your brand to be left behind and miss catering to your market, you’d want to use nostalgia in your marketing campaigns.

Why People Like Nostalgia

Nostalgia makes people feel good. Research shows that it relieves sadness, worry, and boredom. It’s even an effective coping mechanism to stressful events in life.

For example, when someone dies and the surviving loved ones feel nostalgic, they view life as more purposeful, and death as less terrifying. Precisely because people are able to reflect on the legacy of the one who passed, the impact made in the lives of others.

This emotional hold of nostalgia on people is what makes it the perfect ingredient in marketing campaigns. When you’re able to capture the feelings of your target audience, they’re more compelled to take action about something that your brand promotes. 

How You Can Use Nostalgia

Before you delve into nostalgia marketing, it’s important to know the reason you’re doing it. Why now? Why the change? More or less, these will also be the questions your audience will ask. If they see the rationale behind it, the better your nostalgic campaign will resonate.

In most instances, the reason can be very straightforward: there’s a clamor among your target market for an old product or service to return. If this is your case, it makes sense to reintroduce such, making a full-blown blast-from-the-past publicity about it — even before the actual comeback.

Perhaps you can run a contest or introduce some samples in stores or streets. Take advantage of advertising outsourcing services to better execute your plans. 

Another reason is when you’ve hit a certain milestone, say, your 25th anniversary or your 100th store worldwide. It’s the perfect time to take your audience to a trip down memory lane. 

From the motive, you now move to the method. The way to channel nostalgia is to pick a particular theme, object, or vibe of the past, and then replicate it in different forms or platforms.

For instance, your company was founded in the era when boogie became popular. You can choose this as your central concept and execute it in, say, (1) a product launch with a dance party theme, (2) a social media contest of guessing a boogie song, (3) an activation event in the streets, with dancers doing a flash mob. The principle is to focus on one object or motif in the past, so your efforts are all tied together.

Remember, the feel-good effect of nostalgia works in persuading people into action. Harness it in your next marketing campaigns and see the difference in your business.

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