Tapping into Consumer Nostalgia


13 May Tapping into Consumer Nostalgia

We live in an era of nostalgia, which is why vinyls are witnessing a resurgence in popularity and why so many new movies and TV shows are reboots of old ones. Part of it is down to how fast-paced our lives have become, with everyone interconnected at all times and many of us effectively on call around the clock thanks to international time zones.

All of this adds up to mean that there can be a tactical advantage to tapping into nostalgia. When Nintendo re-released the NES Classic in 2018, it became the best-selling console in the US despite only being on sale for a few days at the end of the month, outselling the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.

But the advantages of tapping into nostalgia aren’t just limited to extra sales from re-releasing old products. There are public relations and marketing benefits too, as was the case when Pepsi was forced to respond to YouTuber LA Beast’s campaign to bring back Crystal Pepsi. But the NES Classic and Crystal Pepsi are two of the more extreme examples of brands tapping into nostalgia, and you don’t need to re-release a product to take advantage of it.




Nostalgia in marketing

Nostalgia is the reason that half of today’s internet memes exist, and they’re the reason why adults talk about toys on YouTube channels. It’s also why reviewers always have a soft spot for whichever books, films and albums first sparked their love for whatever it is that they blog about. Knowing this can give you a big advantage, especially if you want to reach out to influencers.

You can also aim for nostalgia across your marketing materials themselves, whether that’s by using retro visuals or whether it’s by reflecting it in the copy. In the same way that brands are constantly trying to tap into popular culture by newsjacking or tying into hot topics like the latest episode of Game of Thrones, they can also tap into old school popular culture to tap into that nostalgia.

There are advantages and disadvantages to doing this, so you’ll want to weigh them up before you go ahead and commit yourself. The biggest risk is that you overestimate the nostalgia and fail to engage with anyone, but it can also go the other way and mean that the response is better than you expected. The major advantage is that it helps you to cut through the noise and to make your brand stand out from the crowd.





Tapping into nostalgia isn’t always easy, but it can be a super effective way of capturing people’s attention. The key is to know when to go for it and when not to, and it’s also not a good idea to rely solely on nostalgia but rather to use it as a tool like any other for building engagement and ultimately creating conversations.

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Dane Cobain

Dane is a published author and freelance writer, editor and social media marketer. He has been featured in multiple major news outlets including The Guardian, The Metro and BBC online and radio.