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Old is Gold : Nostalgia Marketing and it’s powerful messaging

Author : Shreya Srinivasan

As the world evolves at a rapid pace, a longingness for the ‘good ol’ days’ continue to linger. Aptly so, brands tap into this potential market and effectively capitalize on the bittersweet feel-good factor known as nostalgia.

What is Nostalgia Marketing?

Nostalgia marketing aims at provoking an emotional response from the audience by revisiting old trends and memories. This could be attained through different audio-visual cues. The most popular cases of nostalgia marketing in the film industry are those of rehashing iconic Bollywood hits. These remixes may not always result in the greatest reviews, but they surely end up making profits.

Research shows that nostalgia is a universal feeling that tends to provide a strong sense of belonging and affiliation. Nostalgia is also said to counteract boredom, loneliness and anxiety. Hence, the audience is drawn towards nostalgic campaigns.

How do Nostalgic Campaigns work?

Nostalgia is simply the base of such campaigns. The key factor is to offer a new element to the product, along with the existing nostalgia. Here are a few examples to help explain this marketing strategy :

1. Paperboat

Paperboat is a nostalgic brand in itself, offering desi beverages such as the aam panna, kokum, thandai, jaljeera and many more. Their advertising revolves around revisiting childhood memories of gulping down these drinks during a hot summer day. Their brand encapsulates the positivity and optimism that existed when life was simpler and non-transactional.

2. Maggi

Post their hiatus in mid-2015, it was essential for Maggi to re-establish its position in the industry. They returned with powerful nostalgic ads, aimed at middle-class Indian families. One narrates the dependency of a bachelor on the product, whereas the other expresses the bond of a mother and her child over a bowl of Maggi. This nostalgia deeply resonates with the audience and reinforces the desire for Maggi.

Corresponding to the field of nostalgia marketing, consumer behavior consists of nostalgic emotional reactions, nostalgic cognitive responses and nostalgic behavioral responses. In simpler words, a consumer’s fond memories are awoken due to the nostalgic advertising. Upon positively reacting to these niche memories, they are encouraged to buy the product.

Target Audiences

Contrary to popular belief, nostalgia marketing is not solely meant for the older, experienced generations. Millennials are said to be one of the major target audiences for nostalgic campaigns. As our days become increasingly digitized and impersonal, the simpler times of the past greatly appeal to the youth. People from all walks of life are swayed by nostalgia.

Nostalgia Marketing amidst the pandemic -

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a trip down the memory lane. Nostalgia is being used as a coping mechanism for the general public during these tough times, because it provides the much needed comfort and reassurance.

Doordarshan announced reruns of Mahabharata and Ramayana, and the people were glued to their TV sets. Since the overall screen time has increased, advertisers seized their opportunities. Amul broadcasted their retro-ads alongside the DD reruns. Boomer, the bubblegum brand, brought back their old jingle - ‘Boom boom boomer.’ Such nostalgic campaigns not only ensure relevancy, but also reduce the marketing costs involved.

Nostalgia is a great tool for companies to increase their sales. The familiarity helps to create an authentic image for the brand. It is in no way a shortcut, but an effective stepping stone into building a loyal consumer base.

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