Utilising Nostalgia to Revive Brands
24th April, 2014
A strong childhood memory for many people is listening to their parents’ music, sitting on the backseat of their car. Without knowing, this music has been instilled in us. When the time came to see Roxy Music headlining Bestival in 2010, it was very sentimental, as memories of singing along with my mum in her Ford Galaxy resurfaced. The nostalgia my generation feels is different to the nostalgia our parents feel when they hear the music now; however it is still a strong emotional attachment that everyone has with it.
This consequently got me thinking about how nostalgia has played a significant role in many campaigns over recent years. Therefore I’ve compiled 3 case studies where nostalgia has been used effectively.
- When discussing nostalgia, it would be shameful not to include Old Spice and their ‘Smell like a Man, Man’ campaign. Through the use of the brand’s corporate mascot, the Old Spice Man, Old Spice was able to revamp a brand that was traditionally associated with dads into an entire social media campaign. Working with Vimeo, Old Spice created the interactive Muscle Music Video attracting millions of views online. Not only that, but Old Spice set up 9 hoax websites selling everything from advertising leather bed sheets to solid gold Bluetooth headsets and illegal neck workout kits – when a visitor tries to click on more information they’re faced with an ‘Internetervention’ in the form of the Old Spice Man, telling you to stop embarrassing yourself and that it’s not too late to change. By reinventing their brand they’ve reiterated their long-standing notion that ‘Old Spice has been helping men navigate the seas of manhood for more than 70 years.’
- Le Coq Sportif made a comeback into the cycling world in 2012 by sponsoring the famous yellow jersey for the Tour de France, marking their 130th anniversary in the sports clothing industry (see timeline). Cleverly, they also used this to mark their return after a 24 year absence, thus reigniting the old memories for the people watching the Tour de France back in the late 80’s. Consequently, the brand has now reached ‘classic’ status through its ability to build on its legacy and attract new audiences – this was seen specifically, through the rise of Le Coq Sportif retro trainers.
- My third successful nostalgic marketing strategy to highlight is Fairy Liquid, who marked their 50th anniversary by launching a commemorative bottle design. For the majority of consumers, this would bring back feelings of yesteryear, but for the younger generation this different design is viewed as a ‘fresh product’– old is new. Like Le Coq Sportif, bringing back the generic old school designs increases the value perceptions of the brands as it echoes that these products have earned their place in the industry. This use of evocative marketing was especially a clever marketing ploy because people would recognise these ‘vintage’ bottles as one off, limited edition products and thus pushing sales.
In the words of Bryan Ferry, ‘Remake/Remodel’ – nostalgia can be used as a powerful marketing tool by brands.