Blast from the past: Nostalgic marketing

  • News
  • November 20, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
Blast from the past: Nostalgic marketing

Nostalgia marketing has become a sure-fire way to target the new upcoming Millennial shopper. It is a tactic that gets the consumer to focus on things they already know and loved, inspiring them to purchase based on memorable fondness.

Companies are now beginning to recognise the value of nostalgia in advertising, as our next generation of shopper beings to buy more gifts for their own children. 

You don’t have to be a decades-old business to enjoy the power of a nostalgia marketing strategy. Any company has the capacity to connect with old ideas and beloved concepts. With a little planning, even the most modern company can join the retro revolution, and design a heart-warming nostalgia marketing strategy.

Closer to home are a few examples of companies that are taking the power of fond memories and flipping it to get the attention of consumers.

The Warehouse:

Brining back one of the most beloved toys from the 90’s, The Warehouse has announced the return of Polly Pocket, three decades after its original launch. The generation that grew up and thrived with Polly Pocket sales in the 90’s will now have their own children to buy for, pulling back their love for the small plastic doll and her many accessories.

“Polly Pocket was a 90s phenomenon that stole the hearts of children right from its very first release, and we are extremely excited to introduce her to the next generation of Kiwi kids,” says Chedney Rodgers, Mattel ANZ marketing director.

“We hope the relaunch will evoke feelings of nostalgia for the Millennial mums of today who grew up loving Polly Pocket. This is a chance for them to share with their children the fun and excitement they had with Polly when they were younger,” Rogers adds.

Polly Pocket will be coming back into the spotlight from December 1. 

Air New Zealand:

Throwing it back to the glory days of hip-hop in the 90’s. The latest Air New Zealand safety video took a stab at connecting with their audience on a powerful emotional level. Unfortunately, the video missed the mark and was deemed ‘cringe’ by a lot of viewers. Despite the mixed reviews, the video still communicated the nostalgia well, with clothing, music and dance moves all signalling back to the music videos of the 90’s.


In 2016, music streaming service, Spotify, delivered a new spokesperson to the marketplace in the form of Falkor and Atreyu from the hit movie “The NeverEnding Story”. To make the nostalgia marketing campaign even more impressive, the company behind the advertisement got the original actors for both characters to reprise their roles.


With the tagline stating, “The icon is back”, the Nokia 3310 thrived off consumers collective appreciation for the unbreakable phone of the 90’s. The phone took the classic silhouette of the original and reimagined it for newer consumers who are used to more bells and whistles.

The marketing team took what was iconic about the old phone and reinstated its durability. Including its 3-month standby battery life and new updated Snake game. “Remember your old score?” the campaign asked, “Think you can beat it?”

Other brands like Nike and Pepsi are already using retired designs and logos from the past, announcing them as “throwback” options or “retro” products. Shows and movies are tapping into old design features and strategies to tickle the nostalgic nerves of their watchers.

Nostalgia marketing is a simple concept. It’s all about using old, familiar concepts known for developing happy connotations and fond memories, to build trust for new ideas and brands. What better way to convince your customers that you’re worthy of their time than to associate your company with something they already love?

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