Although they’re often viewed as a tech-savvy and forward-thinking generation, Millennials love an excuse to throw it back to the good ol’ days. They use apps like Timehop to resurface pictures from the past and are willing to pay top-dollar to see groups like Backstreet and Britney perform on their comeback tours. To leverage this, many brands are tapping into nostalgia to increase favorability of their products and encourage Millennials to open their wallets. But just how effective can nostalgia marketing be?
A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
Psychologists have been studying nostalgia for years. And although every generation and every individual expresses some degree of the word, Millennial nostalgia is a particularly interesting topic.
Millennials grew up in a period of economic turmoil. They saw the effects of the recession at a young age and are in the midst of a difficult job market. On top of that, Millennials have been inundated with technology and the internet for a large portion of their lives. The combination of these two might explain the reason so many 20- and 30-somethings are experiencing “early-onset nostalgia” – an information overload that compels them to remember simpler, easier times of the past.
Adidas and Sprite are two examples of brands that have tapped into Millennial nostalgia to recapture the market in recent years.
Adidas, a company that seemingly flew under the radar for the past decade, is seeing a major brand resurgence. In 2016, the company relaunched its classic Gazelle sneaker with an advertisement featuring Kate Moss that was shot and used 15 years prior (but with a slight twist).
Sprite, too, made a splash after bringing back its fan-favorite Sprite Remix last summer. Although it renamed the product Sprite Tropical Mix, Sprite kept the retro-inspired orange-on-white package design that fans loved from childhood.
More and more brands are using colors, flavors, music and fashion to tap into Millennial nostalgia. And with so many social networks in existence, they have their fair share of platforms to choose from when reaching their target audience.
If you’re considering using nostalgia to reach your brand’s Millennial consumers, it’s important to remember this: keep it sentimental, keep it lighthearted and keep it authentic. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to nostalgia marketing, the right product, the right strategy and the right approach can have Millennials cracking smiles AND cracking their wallets open in no time.
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