Celebrity Marketing Nostalgia Hits Home for Gen X and Millennials Alike

 

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In such an accelerated age, filled with anxiety and uncertainty, nothing stores more comfort than fond memories of the past.

According to a Harvard Business Review consumer study, nostalgia has proven to make consumers more willing to spend their money on consumer goods and services. Traditionally, the individuals who have the means to act on those feelings are parents falling in Generation X. However, with 16 million millennials now being parents, the appeal of connecting to a simpler time is expanding to a much wider audience.

In the advertising world, no fictional character resonates quite like Jon Hamm’s portrayal of Don Draper, the elusive star of Mad Men. In the show, Draper pitched a bold tagline to Heinz executives: “Pass the Heinz”. Rather than show ketchup, the creative would show food missing ketchup. Heinz’s current agency David Miami recognized this incredibly simple, yet genius concept and now have three ads running via the New York Post and Variety.

The conviction of Hamm’s Draper influenced Heinz’s creative approach, allowing them to connect to those who love the old Madison Ave style of advertising as well as the wide range of ages who fell in love with the show.

Revisiting a definitive era marked by beloved figures of the past enables consumers to relive the reason they first fell in love with the brand, creating positive brand association.

Domino’s has caught the nostalgic bug as well, having casted Stranger Things’ Joe Keery as Ferris Bueller, and Alan Ruck (aka Cameron Frye) in a cameo appearance, to promote the new Domino’s Tracker. By casting Keery in the Broderick role, the brand expanded to both Stranger Things and Ferris Buehler’s Day Off fandoms, cohesively meshing stories that multiple generations have fallen in love with. While nostalgic, the spot effectively targets a young tech savvy audience, showing that Domino’s can be delivered digitally via Amazon Echo or even with a waterproof watch.

AT&T’s latest campaign “Everywhere” focuses on how the magic of cinema is an experience, especially it is live-streamed. Beginning with an homage to Rocky, the creative further pays tribute to a laundry list of memorable titles including Cheers, Seinfeld, and Back to the Future.

Featuring David Hasselhoff and Big Bird, this campaign successfully unifies dated material to a product that is transcending the way consumers watch their shows. Bringing millennials and Gen X together isn’t simple, but having a unifying message with nostalgic A-list figures is certainly a good place to start.

To understand the correct way to implement brand nostalgia, it’s important to recognize potential pitfalls the tactic has with millennials. It’s crucial that nostalgia creatively ties back to topics that currently resonate with them, usually through an experience or activity. If the message doesn’t have a modern twist, nostalgic advertising’s success is brief and can be viewed as pandering by young viewers.

However, when a blast from the past is combined with a story or star that resonates with multiple generations, the old message becomes new again, revitalizing the brand in a simple yet effective way.

photo credit: www.pixabay.com

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