Nostalgia is a Weapon

Use the past, to shape your future

“…Fond memories make us smile — and that leaves us open to brand messaging. . . Associating brand messaging with positive references from the 90s, 80s — and even the 70s — humanises brands, forging meaningful connections between the past and present.” – Laura Friedman, Forbes

The us of nostalgia in branding/marketing can create immense emotional connections between a brand and a customer – using retro fonts on a crap poster isn’t clever use of nostalgia. Cleverly weaving a nostalgic element into your marketing can aid the story you are trying to tell. Nostalgia, can then become a weapon to help sell your product.

Nostalgia is everywhere in the buyer/seller world; tribute bands, remakes of old movies, vintage fonts, retro sweets (candy for the Americans) and even hashtags (#TBT).  

Three clever ways nostalgia has been used effectively in branding and marketing:

1. Spotify (revitalising the 80’s child in us all)
Who doesn’t love a classic 1980’s film? Recent awful remakes such as Karate Kid (shocking) and Ghostbusters (more shocking) prove the thirst out there for 80’s nostalgia. Spotify cleverly tapped into this without looking or sounding crass. Seeing subtle imagery from this period can summon warm fuzzy memories, we all look back with rose-tinted glasses after all.

2. Co-op branding (old becomes new)
Some brand specialists raised their eyes when the Co-op rebranded, simply reverting back to a (slightly updated) logo they first used in 1968. Perhaps not an entirely nostalgic decision but nonetheless a great example of how an older design still resonates with a new generation.

“You need a bloody good reason for a revolution”
– Dan Witchell (via It’s Nice That)

3. Stranger Things (Netflix reminding us about childhood adventures on bikes)
Netflix completely nailed it with Stranger Things. Clever use of typography, logo design, score and story-telling to bring us back to the magic of our youth. Summoning happy memories of yesteryear can be a powerful tool, viewing figures for this show are a testament to that – a fifth of all UK Netflix subscribers saw Stranger Things second series in its launch week.

These examples show how large businesses are utilising nostalgia to maximise profits and sell products. However; how can a small business with a non-Hollywod sized budget do this?

We find that simple branded assets with clever messaging can go a long way in tugging at those rose-tinted heart strings.

For example, our drink mat designs for Kaffe O – these contain lyrics to songs from Irish bands. They are designed in Danish/English (the café is Danish inspired), and are extremely popular on Instagram – the drink mats are now synonymous with Kaffe O.

The lyrics create that emotional connection which in turn becomes a free marketing tool for Kaffe O (when posted on Instagram by customers). The drink mat designs have now been used on staff t-shirts to emphasise the brand connection.

Without doubt many of these drinks mats have escaped and found new homes far from the cafés. Create a brand asset that you customer can take home with them (steal) – if you do that, your brand message will travel further than you can imagine.

Stylografik design branding, graphic design, marketing solutions, websites and motion graphics. We would love to chat with you about how we can use design to help your business say something.
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