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Nostalgia Marketing: Why Brands Should Tap Into It

marketing tips
Nostalgia marketing


Nostalgia marketing connects your brand with positive concepts or ideas from the past.

In amongst the pandemic and the uncertainty of life, memories of simpler times bring comfort and reassurance when everything feels odd and out of place. Nostalgia is a powerful tool anytime, but particularly right now.

The best campaign examples that use nostalgia marketing


"Two brothers": Nintendo


Who remembers playing the OG Nintendo console with your siblings? Most millennials. Adulting is hard (and over-rated), and thinking back to those fond childhood moments transports us to a simpler time. This storytelling campaign by Nintendo is oh-so relatable but also packs an emotional punch. 

The takeaway for the audience: you loved playing Nintendo with your siblings, and now you can do the same for your kids. Plus, you get to play, too! 

Neverending 80s: Spotify


Pop culture references are one of the best ways to use nostalgia marketing, and this is precisely what Spotify has done for their Millennials users. If you are a child of the 80s, you know and love The Neverending Story. Combine this flashback with some humour, and you have a clever and creative marketing campaign.


"Son of Dundee": Tourism Australia 


Everyone loves a comeback! The most famous Tourism Australia campaign is undoubtedly Paul Hogan's 1984 campaign, made famous by Crocodile Dundee himself and the line "Throw Another Shrimp on the Barbie." Son of Dundee rides on the coattails of that iconic original campaign but gives it a modern and humorous glam up.

Oh, and casting Chris Hemsworth certainly helps make this campaign exceptional.


The Repair Shop by Go-To Skincare

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A post shared by ZOË FOSTER BLAKE (@zotheysay)

This campaign by Zoe Foster Blake's Go-To Skincare is a throwback to the 80s, with bouffy hair and purple eyeshadow in no short supply. And did you see that phone? Anyone under 20 years old wouldn't even know what this is.

Watching this was like travelling back in time, and it felt very nostalgic. Like those times you helped your mum get ready for a dinner party, and she would let you try on her jewellery, including the flashy clip-on earrings. 

This campaign was even more brilliant because this 80s theme ran through every touchpoint of the campaign, not just the hero video. It continued through to the website landing page and the static visuals.


How to use nostalgia marketing for your brand:


Brainstorm your creative idea: make a list of themes that make people feel good and remind them of positive experiences, e.g. childhood moments, road trips, family holidays.

Keep the audience in mind: what pop-culture references will resonate with your audience? Your campaign needs to work even if people miss the reference.

Have fun: nostalgia marketing can be serious and light-hearted. Right now, I suggest keeping it positive and lightening the mood while remaining sensitive to world events.



Want to learn how to use nostalgia marketing in an upcoming campaign?  Join Campaign Classroom and create a marketing campaign that's right for your brand. Over 10 weeks, go from idea to execution with a team of strategists by your side.