Have you heard of that “Pokémon GO” mobile game?
Just kidding. Of course you have.
You’ll read all kinds of articles about why that is, too.
- It brings people together!
- It gets players out of their houses!
- It motivates you to explore new places!
Yes, yes, and yes.
There’s one more thing many people don’t recognize when they’re raving about this game of collecting anime creatures and doing battle with other players.
Pokémon triggers nostalgia for many people.
It brings back memories from our childhoods, or memories of raising our own children.
Nostalgia, at its core, is a sentimental longing or affection for the past.
It can be triggered by almost anything – including familiar smells, sounds, sights, keepsakes, or even feeling lonely – and is unique to each individual.
Research shows that nostalgic reflection results in people feeling …
- A stronger sense of belonging
- More continuity between their past and their present
- That their lives are more meaningful
- Higher self-esteem and more positive mood
In other words, nostalgia, though it does mean longing for the past, actually makes us feel good.
And making people feel good is always a winning marketing strategy.
Here are 3 ways to incorporate nostalgia into your next marketing campaign to engage your audience and get better results.
Revive Old Favorites – Thoughtfully
Take an old favorite and make it new again. Just don’t change it so much that it no longer feels familiar to the people who loved it.
If at all possible, gather customer feedback on your plans before you go public with them. Then you’ll find out if you’re bringing up happy memories or triggering audience anger (à la the new Ghostbusters movie) before you spend a huge chunk of your marketing budget on the campaign.
Here are a couple of good examples.
After Coca-Cola’s disastrous launch of New Coke in 1985, the soda giant has epitomized nostalgia in their marketing ever since. From the throwback videos their YouTube channel to the return of their classic glass bottle, Coca-Cola has nostalgia down to an art.
Check out this interactive timeline walking you through the evolution of the Coca-Cola bottle.
Another example of bringing old favorites back to live, MTV has created MTV Classic, a new TV channel that plays — you guessed it — only classic MTV shows. Check out their Twitter feed. It’s a gif lover’s dream come true, and each of those tweets brings the audience back in time.
Use New Mediums
We live in a digital age. Take old fan favorites and update them for modern audiences.
This is something Nintendo, makers of Pokémon GO, did a fantastic job with. They took the characters from the classic Pokémon trading card game and TV series and brought them into the digital world of 2016 using augmented reality video-game technology.
In other words, they made Pokémon accessible to the average smartphone user while bringing up happy childhood memories for users. Smart move.
There are many new forms of content out there to play with today, and lots of new technology available to breathe new life into old favorites.
Instagram did it with their photo filters.
Pinterest did it with virtual bulletin boards.
Mazda did it with their multimedia, story-driven “Driving Matters” campaign.
Whatever trip down memory lane you want to take your audience on, take it down a contemporary path.
Get Your Audience’s Attention in a Targeted Way
By using a hefty dose of nostalgia in their marketing campaign, data-backup company Intronis saw a 650% ROI and a 35% conversion rate.
How’d they do it?
They ran a direct-mail campaign in which they sent Atari game players to their target audience.
The tactic certainly had the desired effect of getting target buyers’ attention.
It also had the benefit of triggering nostalgia for their target audience of males 30-50 years old who liked gadgets.
What Intronis did right with this campaign was that they first understood who their target audience was, then they boldly reached out to these people in a way that brought them true value (in this case, that value was childlike fun and happy memories).
Memory Lane Can Be a Great Move for a Marketing Campaign
Nostalgia is a bittersweet experience for most of us. It makes us long for the past, but it also plunks our psyches down in a happy place full of meaning and fond memories.
Making your audience feel happy, connected and even wistful will help them associate those positive feelings to your brand.