Nostalgia is in!

Apparently nostalgia is in at the moment. We are — more and more — seeing ads that bring a blast from the past. As this interesting article from The Atlantic writes, Vanilla Ice is selling Kraft macaroni and cheese; the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, were this year’s Superbowl half-time band. Nostalgia — apparently — comes primarily in two forms. The first is organic: the type you get when you look at an old photo or go to an old place. The second type is typically associated with a media products, such as TV shows depicting times from the past are so popular. Take Mad Men or True Detective, for instance.

This phenomena is now spreading to the Internet. As the article details, Spotify has begun suggesting music in its Discover tab that was popular when the user was younger. These messages include “song” was huge when you were a teenager, or “song” was popular when you were in school. Primarily, it’s a personalised ad that the user relates to, resulting in more music being listened to.

Where else have we seen this on the Internet? Well there’s Facebook’s recent ‘Look Back’ video campaign that collects users’ most like photos and statuses, as well as life events, and collates them all into a video for users to post. And how often do you see people on Instagram hash tagging #tbt? That stands for Throwback Thursday. Throwback is really just a more edgy term for flashback. Add to this the fun little app Timehop which shows your posts from today in the past.

But how can you use nostalgia to sell products and services; how is it useful in business? One of the core ideologies behind building a brand is making it easy for target audiences to connect. Nostalgia helps significantly with this, because the brand or product is relating to the consumer’s past, and hence, the consumer’s present.

Sites like Spotify are lucky in that they can hitch their brand to the nostalgia wagon by automatically identifying the year of birth of every single user, making it significantly more simple to see what music was popular when they were young.  You can be lucky too by building greater customer intelligence into your database.

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