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Nostalgia. Rip Your Customers Hearts Out


Life truly was so much simpler as a Millenial kid.

Pigeon Street, Button Moon, Thundercats, Bugs Bunny; going out to play with mud pies, having water bomb fights and spending Sunday perched eagerly next to the radio, waiting for your favourite song to play so you could record it onto your cassette mix tape.
Some of these would have hit home and made you smile with recognition right? If so, you’ve just experienced a glimmer of the power of nostalgia. Our shared experiences of happy memories has brought us closer together, aligning our values which is an important element of brand equity building.

Nostalgic Marketing made a powerful resurgence in the last 5 years, with brands such as Halifax, Nintendo and most recently Sainsbury’s (with their Tetris food ad) tapping into positive cultural memories in order to make powerful connections to consumers, unpacking that inner child within us and linking brand values to those feelings and experiences. Even Hollywood has had a piece of the action, with blockbusters such as Transformers, TMNT’s, Power Rangers and most recently, the rather disappointingly Pam’ free Baywatch.

Creating a 1980’s remake or linking with classic cartoons is fine for the companies who can afford the licensing of characters such as Top Cat, The Flintstones or Scooby Doo, but for SME’s with small budgets, how can Nostalgia be leveraged to create an emotional connection with markets?

About 4 years ago I was heavily involved with the research that preceded a family oriented theme park rebrand, examining in depth, local AIO’s (attitudes, interests and opinions) towards the park, so that we could identify why

visitor numbers had continued to fall over the years. What came up repeatedly through quant and qual surveys were the fond memories that people had from visiting the park as children with family members they held closest to their hearts. When you notice a recurring theme from respondents in research, you always listen to the market, taking that information as an opportunity to hyperbolise for marketing purposes.

If you have a generation disassociated with a brand, but all have shared fond childhood memories of it, then the answer for how to re-engage and attract in a visitor attraction context becomes apparent.
In this case, it was very clear that there was an opportunity to use the power of nostalgia to target a new generation of families, combining new fresh park content with the appeal to millennial parents to give their kids the same amazing memories that they experienced as a child, using imagery that brought the nostalgia to life.
By doing this, the past and present are brought together in a powerful and poignant way.
“Easier said than done” I hear you say.
I accept your challenge. Picture this full page colour advert in your local paper (supported of course by an integrated campaign):
An adorable little toddler with pigtails in the arms of her Daddy who’s looking at her as if she’s his world, sun behind them, the girl in awe, pointing towards the iconic theme park rides, arm around the dad, anchored with speech such as “We’re going on the rides? I love you Daddy!” with a title of “Where memories are born”.

Give Nostalgia a go…it may just bring a tear to your customer’s faces and a smile to your accountant.

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