So what is it about nostalgia that binds, socializes and gets the serotonin flowing? Isn’t it just a lazy technique that ultimately halts progress? After all, the word was derived from ‘homesickness’.
For the past few years since our gloomy economists threw more and more bad news our way, brands such as Monster Munch, John Lewis, M&S, Fairy, Milky Way and Persil have hopped aboard the retro express. Why? They are easy ways to Utopia; an edited look at the past where we intentionally omit any of the grit that might really have existed.
Wallpaper manufacturers are selling 1970s style patterns; fashion and film are going gaga over The Great Gatsby; Tupperware parties are back; and the Instagram app was the runaway success of 2011. It’s the brand and trend equivalent of battening down the hatches, and in many cases, it’s jolted the minds of consumers into repurchasing products and benefiting sales.
However to do it frivolously can leave your consumers with a sour taste. When Muller launched its ‘wonderful stuff’ ad late last year, some criticized its blatant throwing together of 80s cartoons for cheap thrills, ridiculing its consumers as passive telly gobblers. Whilst we firmly believe in breaking category convention, without a believable tangible backstory, brands risk seeming phony.
And let’s not forget, keeping both feet in the rosy past prevents us pioneering for the new, improved and the innovative. Brands that can acknowledge their heritage but continue to be hungry for a brave future are the ones that will surely prevail.