Ought to meals stamps look again to look forward?
Writer and comedian Danny Pellegrino was recently quoted in Vogue for believing that "nostalgia is a powerful drug" that we "hold on to even tighter" in turbulent times. I know what he means. Nostalgia is my current drug of choice. I am obsessed with anything that heals my longing for the bygone era of time we now know as BC (Before-Covid). 2020 really removed the carpet from under my feet. And in a world in which so much has changed in my life, I feel constantly turned to my "old life" or the past generations in order to counteract my existential fear.
I did the baking that I did as a kid. I did gardening, I listened to old music, I bought a record player, I tried to sew. I was desperately trying to get tickets to drive theaters across town. I have pre-ordered one of the Juicy Couture velor tracksuits from the brand's relaunch. I texted my ex. Most recently, I signed up for an online collage course led by Ruby Kean on a new experience platform in third place.
I loved the introduction: “Although we may not be able to go to the theater this fall, our minds can certainly travel there.” For collage maker Kean, harnessing the power of nostalgia is something she knows well. And as with all other activities I have participated in, it is of central importance for many of her works of art to transport people emotionally at a certain point in time or to a collective, unconscious memory.
To be used properly, nostalgia has to bring the past and present, old and new, together in perfect synergy
Transportation is at the heart of what makes nostalgia so exhilarating for brands. Taking advantage of nostalgia is nothing new in the broader marketing landscape. For a long time, companies have understood that nostalgia has a strong emotional impact on our wallets. The “nostalgia effect” documented by Decision Lab will simply “get us ready to spend” by leading us into a more idyllic time in the past so that they are more stable, safer and more relaxed in the present.
However, attempting to tap into nostalgia is often reluctant to be received by marketers. For some, nostalgia is a negative emotion that is only suitable for traditional brands to play back repetitive stories of their past in order to claim a kind of legitimacy in the present. But seeing it as such is fundamentally lacking in understanding its true meaning (and potential). In order for it to be used properly, nostalgia has to bring the past and the present, old and new, together in perfect synergy in order to master a challenge or introduce the unknown so that brands and people can safely move into the future.