It’s hard to tell what year / decade we’re currently in. Roger Federer won the Australian Open and is number one in the world, there’s Nokia phones in the market and people playing Snake, Star Wars topped the box office and shows like Will & Grace, Roseanne, Murphy Brown are back on TV screens or planning to be.
For those old enough, you might remember the controversy in 1992 that surrounded Murphy Brown when the lead female, 40+ character fell pregnant causing outrage to the then Vice President of the United States who publically condemned her and her morals for deciding to raise the child as a single parent. I mean, could you see in 2018 a leader in a position of power condemning minority group(s) and doing so publically, say on Twitter? Doubt it will happen but regardless, the trend towards nostalgia marketing is evident and is appealing to the masses.
There’s a number of reasons for its success. Nostalgia marketing relies on the memories of people and their younger self – a time without the children, the work responsibilities, the mortgage repayments, the day to day grind. Life was simple, it was easier, and you can think back to these as fond times. We can be more optimistic when we remember the ‘good old days’ and the products, brands or services that mattered to us. It reconnects us emotionally – which brings us closer to the brand.
It also provides functional benefits as demonstrates the brands making these products or services have longevity and we can celebrate that what they did in the past still applies in the modern world. We believe that history repeats itself so can applaud a brand for recognising how to reinvent the wheel without deviating too far from what we originally valued. There’s a sense of pride that our children are now the Star Wars fans and we can share it with them.
From a brand perspective, nostalgia can also encourage conversation and advocacy … customers are caught up on their emotions and more likely to talk to each other about the nostalgia they’re feeling – anyone been recommended to watch Stranger Things recently? Think about the pledge to ‘Make America Great Again’ – it infers there was a past time where things were better in America and gets people talking about finding ways to return to such a time.
How Murphy Brown 2.0 will go against 2018 politicians in the White House remains to be seen but next time you find yourself all nostalgic – you might know why.
By Paul Dixon