Using Nostalgia Marketing

The newest trend in marketing has emerged. What is it? It’s using nostalgia to reach consumers. Nostalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Think about watching one of your favorite TV shows from when you were a kid. Watching that show most likely connects you to positive childhood memories and brings back the good old days. Using nostalgia, you’re connecting consumers uniquely and powerfully.

What is nostalgia marketing?

Nostalgia marketing uses the positive feelings you receive from reminiscing and connecting them to your brand. You’re tapping into the emotions of your audience. Creating nostalgia provides people with joy, comfort, and security. These positive emotions make it easier for consumers to desire your product. Think about it, associating your brand with something your consumers already love makes it easier for them to love your product too!

With the ups and downs over the past few years, people have been seeking things that bring them comfort. More people are drawn toward older films, TV shows, and songs. But does it help? Studies show that the emotions that come with looking back on fond memories positively impact our mental health. Experts have taken this idea and morphed it into a marketing strategy. Now, when you see a brand that makes you smile thinking of the past, you’re more likely to buy that product because it carries that same positive feeling. You’ll continue to feel that way, leading to more brand loyalty.


Use memories that are relevant to your audience.

The first step in taking advantage of nostalgic marketing is knowing who your target audience is. This has always been important, but when it comes to nostalgic marketing, it’s HUGE because different groups grew up watching, listening to, and seeing other things. Relating your brand to the show Full House won’t have much of an effect on younger people who have never seen the show. It would be best if you solidified who you’re trying to target before you begin brainstorming ideas for your campaign. Millennials are proven to respond best to this type of marketing, so take advantage!

Use occasions to leverage nostalgia.

There is a right time to use a nostalgic marketing technique. Make the occasion meaningful. The best success is found when relating nostalgic experiences to new product launches, anniversaries, rebrands, or a new store opening.

Crumbl Cookies showcased this beautifully. The company was coming up on its 5th anniversary and wanted to celebrate with something special. What did they do? They brought back their signature pink sugar cookie and added a twist, a pink Cadillac decor piece. Not only did the Cadillac bring special memories for the founder of Crumbl, but it reminded their audience of an iconic time in pop culture. Creating a personal experience like this adds growth and support to your brand.


Use an emotional hook.

A successful marketing strategy makes consumers feel trusted, happy, valued, and creates a sense of community and belonging. This emotional hook is what pulls your audience in. The hook doesn’t have to target a specific audience. In fact, it can be vague, relating to an idea or theme. Crumbl illustrated this well. They tied their anniversary campaign back to a specific time frame. Consumers could relate that to whatever they desired. However, it has to be done with timeliness and relevance while being authentic and strong.

Use social media.

Remember the hashtag throwback Thursday? #tbt? Audiences on social media would use this tag every Thursday to highlight something they love from their past. It’s now being used in marketing campaigns. Consumers love strategies they can participate in. by allowing your audience to reminisce themselves alongside your brand, you’re building a connection that will lead to stronger relationships. Social media also reaches a widespread group of people, making it easy for the nostalgic aspect of your campaign to catch on.


When we are reminded of the past, we re-experience the emotions we once had, like trends and ideas that made consumers reconnect to their youth. That alone is not enough. Your brand should partner that idea with something new, like a limited edition product. Reminiscing on the past gives us a break from our chaotic and hectic lives. When consumers feel that way about the brands they love, it becomes a win-win for everyone!