Nostalgia is a powerful emotion that can transport us back to a time when life seemed simpler and happier. It is a longing for the past that can evoke fond memories of childhood, family, and friends. 


Nostalgia marketing is a marketing technique that aims to evoke positive memories and emotions from the past in order to build an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer. The goal is to tap into consumers’ sentimental feelings about the past, often through the use of imagery, sounds, or other sensory cues, and use those feelings to create a sense of brand loyalty and identity. 


In recent years, nostalgia marketing has become an increasingly popular trend among brands, with many companies leveraging nostalgia to create engaging and memorable advertising campaigns.  


The main benefit of nostalgia marketing is that it can be an effective way to connect with consumers on an emotional level. According to a study by the Journal of Business Research, nostalgia can “facilitate the formation of a positive attitude toward a brand, which can translate into higher brand loyalty and purchase intentions” (Cheung et al., 2019). 


So what are some examples of successful nostalgia marketing campaigns? Let’s take a look at a few: 

  1. Nintendo’s re-release of the NES Classic Edition – In 2016, Nintendo re-released its classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console as a miniature replica called the NES Classic Edition. The console quickly sold out in stores, demonstrating the enduring appeal of classic video games. 
  2. Lego’s “Rebuild the World” Campaign – Lego’s “Rebuild the World” campaign, launched in 2019, tapped into the nostalgia associated with the iconic toy brand while also promoting creativity and innovation. The campaign included a series of ads featuring classic Lego characters and settings, such as the Lego City and Lego Star Wars. The campaign was a success, with Lego reporting a 7% increase in sales in the first half of 2020. 
  3. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign – In 2014, Coca-Cola launched a campaign that replaced its iconic logo with popular names and phrases. The campaign was a huge success, generating over 1.2 million tweets and 150 million personalized Coke bottles sold in the U.S. alone. 
  4. Reebok’s “Classic” campaign – Reebok has been around since the 1980s, and in 2013 the company launched a campaign to promote its Classic line of sneakers. The campaign included a series of ads featuring classic 80s and 90s fashion, music, and pop culture references, and the sneakers themselves were updated with new colors and materials. The campaign was a success, with Reebok reporting a 5% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2013. 
  5. Hershey’s “Hello Happy. Hello Hershey’s” campaign – In 2015, Hershey’s launched a nostalgia marketing campaign called “Hello Happy. Hello Hershey’s.” The campaign featured a series of TV ads that used classic Hershey’s jingles and imagery from the 1970s and 1980s. The ads also encouraged viewers to share their own memories of Hershey’s chocolate using the hashtag #HelloHappy. The campaign was a hit, with Hershey’s experiencing a 7.4% increase in sales and a 13.8% increase in social media engagement. 
  6. Polaroid’s “Polaroid Originals” Campaign – In 2017, Polaroid rebranded as “Polaroid Originals” and launched a marketing campaign that played up the company’s retro appeal. The campaign included a series of ads featuring Polaroid cameras and film from the 1970s and 1980s, and the company even released a new instant camera that resembled its classic models. The campaign was a success, with Polaroid reporting a 300% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2018. 
  7. Volkswagen’s “Beetle” Campaign – Volkswagen’s iconic Beetle first hit the road in the 1930s, and in the 1990s the company launched a campaign to revive the classic car’s popularity. The campaign included a series of ads featuring the Beetle and its place in pop culture history, and the car itself was updated with new colors and features. The campaign was a success, with the Beetle becoming one of the most popular cars of the 1990s. 


Another example is the resurgence of vinyl records. In recent years, vinyl records have experienced a resurgence in popularity, with sales reaching a 30-year high in 2020.  Despite this growth, vinyl still accounts for only a marginal percentage of overall music sales, with less than 6% of the market share. However, in 2022, Taylor Swift’s album “Midnights” made history by becoming the first major album release to have its vinyl sales surpass its CD sales since 1987. By January 2023, “Midnights” had sold over a million vinyl LPs in the US, making it the only 21st-century album to achieve this feat. Ultimately, this trend has been driven in part by nostalgia for the analog sound of vinyl, as well as a desire for a tangible, physical music experience. 


These examples demonstrate the power of nostalgia marketing in creating a strong emotional connection between brands and consumers. By tapping into consumers’ fond memories of the past, brands can create a sense of authenticity and trust that can be hard to achieve through other marketing techniques. 


Of course, it’s important to note that nostalgia marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every brand. In order for nostalgia marketing to be effective, it needs to be done in a way that resonates with the target audience and fits with the brand’s overall messaging and identity. Hence it shold be used strategically and with care. Over-reliance on nostalgia can make a brand seem outdated or irrelevant, and it’s important to strike a balance between the past and the present. Overall, nostalgia marketing can be a valuable tool for brands looking to connect with consumers on an emotional level and stand out in a crowded marketplace. By evoking positive memories and emotions from the past, brands can create a lasting impact and build a sense of loyalty and identity with their audience.