June 13, 2024

Nostalgia in Advertising and It’s Impact


We’ve seen this technique used over and over again, the utilization of nostalgia to tweak at your heart strings and draw you in. It has been seen as manipulative and inauthentic by some and depending on the ad has led to a negative reaction from the public. It has its up and down sides, any brand that relies too heavily on the nostalgia technique runs the risk of their brand being seen as disingenuous and that could be a brand killer.

Leaning too much on nostalgia can show an advertising agency’s lack of creativity and a lack of originality but again used the right way it can be a grand slam for a growing brand. Moderation is the key here, just like anything in life moderation can be the key.

The impact that nostalgia could have on a brand can be significant on consumers by bringing forward positive emotions and memories from their past, it could be a family moment or a place or even  a pet. We are wired to embrace good memories and there are triggers that take place when something brings us back to those memories.

This emotional connection can drive brand recognition and preference in some cases which can lead to brand loyalty. Just like “Cheers” people like going places where they know their name, it is a sense of familiarity and comfort, utilization of nostalgia can create this type of feeling and it can make a product, company ort brand more appealing.

The best speech on nostalgia in advertising comes from the “Mad Men” AMC series:

There are other techniques that can be used to create that emotional impact and there are great advertising agencies that have created some of the most remembered and recognizable brands in history. They have used emotional appeals where an advertisers can create emotional connections with consumers by appealing to their values, desires, or personal experiences. This is very effective and can build brand loyalty.

Storytelling, everyone loves a good story, so when an advertiser has the ability to use storytelling to create a narrative , one that can actually resonates with the consumer by highlighting the benefits of the product, it is called effective advertising. For a brand when they strike gold with this they can ride that success for some time.

Of course some of the most remembered ads are humorous, utilizing humor in advertising can lighten the mood, create a positive association with the brand, and make the ad more memorable. Again effective advertising that can long hang time, it can build the recognition for a character in an ad. When people thing M&Ms they think of the little M&M guys with big eyes.

Probably one of the most difficult may be personalization, advertising agencies may create a message that is personalized to appeal to individual consumers and create a more emotional connection. This is a skillset that an agency worth it’s salt can create magic with.

Lastly showing the consumer a life that they want or a goal that they want to achieve can be powerful, aspirational advertising can spark a sense of “I NEED THIS” or “I WANT THIS” by showing consumers a desired future that they want, it could be travel, weight loss, a car, perfect spouse, well you get the point.

All these techniques can be effective, nostalgia itself can be extremely impactful when used properly.

Louis Velazquez
FGA Partners

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