‘I Remember That!’—How Brands Are Leveraging Nostalgia

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‘I Remember That!’—How Brands Are Leveraging Nostalgia

We’re a pretty youthful bunch at 2am. Even the ‘slightly more mature’ members of our team could fool you into thinking they’re 25 with their pop culture knowledge. That’s why each of us has noticed a trend forming recently, in that more and more companies are turning to nostalgic references to revitalise their brand images.

On the heels of the Muppets endorsing Warburtons crumpets, a few more household names are jumping on board the nostalgia train.

Halifax and Top Cat

YouGov BrandIndex data recently revealed Halifax’s advertising awareness levels had dropped significantly. Dropping 3.8 points, the financial brand had the greatest decline on the list of the UK’s biggest banking and building societies. Attributing this to a lack of “oomph” (a classic marketing term), Ros King, the brand’s marketing communications director explains that Halifax’s new direction and use of nostalgia seeks to appeal to a consumer’s sense of humour. The brand will continue to work with Warner Bros. characters in future. Finally, the world may see Fred Flintstone seeking a loan to rid himself of his stone-age soft-top in favour of a sensible Ford Focus.

Philadelphia…and Philadelphia

If its not broke, recycle it. We guess that’s what Philadelphia was thinking when bringing back its iconic angels of campaigns past. The rationale for this campaign seems to be that it’s okay to reference yourself if your previous campaigns gained a startling amount of attention in the first place. Using nostalgia this way reiterates how ‘generational’ a product is by referencing a campaign your parents probably remember. They’ll probably chat to you about it over a tub of Philadelphia.

Hi-C by Coca Cola and Ghostbusters

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The 2am team are either excited or apprehensive about the Ghostbusters reboot coming to cinema screens this year. Chris Hemsworth aside, is it really necessary? Coca Cola is reviving its Hi-C Ecto Cooler, a beloved drink inspired by the Real Ghostbusters cartoon of the 1980s. After the drink was discontinued back in 2001, Coca Cola seeks to reignite interest and sales using retro packaging and flavour, and linking it with references to the new film. Along with Coca Cola’s recent plan for its global ‘one brand’ strategy, the company seems to be playing with nostalgia in marketing from all angles.

In addition to these examples, Captain Birdseye re-emerged from choppy waters in April and Kirsty Alley recently reopened the Cheers bar’s doors for Weight Watchers’ audience too.

You might consider it a marketing paradox to use old references to refresh a brand, but there is logic to it. Leveraging the popularity of beloved characters can benefit a brand in many ways. Not only does the longevity and positive image of these pop culture references shine on a new product or company, it also means immediate attention is given (by news outlets and fans alike) to new campaigns. However, thinking in the long term, can the power of ‘I remember that!’ really influence consumers to continue re-interacting with a brand past their initial walk down memory lane?

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