Throwback Brewsday — Nostalgia Marketing

The Company
5 July 2019

Every generation has a fair bit of nostalgia. Who doesn’t love reminiscing about the trends and popular culture of our youth? When done right, a call back to ‘the good old days’ in marketing can be hugely positive for brands. Millennials are known for having a particularly soft spot for throwback campaigns run by brands that embrace their retro roots. Millennials, it seems, are most susceptible to nostalgia marketing, and here’s why. 

#Throwback Culture

Nostalgia marketing is about honing in on the positive memories of previous pop culture and ads to drive modern campaigns. Millennials are especially inclined to engaging with campaigns that tug on their nostalgic heartstrings. Quite simply, reliving fond memories makes them feel good. They represent the generation born early enough to remember life before the internet but also grew up alongside technological evolution. 

Due to this unique ‘cusp’ position, nostalgia marketing tends to resonate strongest among customers who fit within this generation. Therefore, brands that lead their audience into a state of feel-good feels opens them to becoming lead acquisition opportunities. 

Classic, but better

Revamping classic campaigns and products is a starting point for brands looking to delve into nostalgia marketing. Australia’s Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) recently ran a campaign commemorating its 50 years of brewing Victoria Bitter (VB). The campaign, known as #VB50yearsofcheers, ran an iconic ad from 1968 featuring an unmistakable tune and a classic line: “a hard-earned thirst needs a big cold beer”.

This 2016 revisit of the classic 1968 ad showcases the concept that some things (like Victoria Bitter) remain the same.

Given that Victoria Bitter’s general market was primarily that of working-class males, some might argue that this particular throwback into the past may seem exclusionary. However, the concept of nostalgia marketing means remembering a brand’s history. This allows customers to see how far the brand has come, while simultaneously reinforcing the idea of brand consistency. The tagline’s timelessness and relatability some 60 years down the line keeps the beer’s appeal with its audience. 

Do it big, do it better 

If you’re looking for something with a wider global reach than beer, look no further than Pokémon GO. This childhood classic was revitalised by Niantic after they developed and integrated the concept of catching pokemon with the wonders of modern technology. Pokémon GO swept across the globe as an augmented reality mobile game that was available for free. It went straight for the jugular when it rekindled a sense of nostalgia in their audiences. Long-time Pokémon fans delighted at seeing their favourite monsters pop up on their phone screens. Newbies to the franchise were equally tickled by the artistic interpretation of these anime creatures.

Users of all ages wander about their local parks, hunting down virtual Pikachus, Squirtles, and Magikarps. As of May 2018, Niantic saw over 800 million downloads of the game, and the number only continues to skyrocket. Moreover, it even secured a space in the Guinness World Records with its revenue being the highest ever of any mobile game in its first month.  

The numbers? $207 million. 

Niantic’s brilliant incorporation of modern-day smartphone use and nostalgia has earned them a laundry list of record-breaking numbers across the board. Pokémon GO’s success is one of the largest and most current examples of how intelligent execution of nostalgia marketing can break barriers across both brand and customer experiences.

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