Nostalgia Marketing – a psychological tactic to evoke customer’s memoir

What is Nostalgia Marketing?

According to Tran (2021), nostalgia marketing is referred as “blast from the past”, it is the practice of touching into familiar notions from the past to resonate with current ideas, dilemmas and to modernise present campaigns. Or in my way, I’d prefer to call it as “retro marketing”, “vintage marketing” or “chicken soup for the soul”. Nostalgia marketing is a mighty bullet that elicits emotions, memories, melodies in a in-depth level as a psychological approach.

Figure 1. Nostalgia Marketing (Si, n.d).

Why Nostalgia Marketing has become one of the most influential strategy

  • It can make your brand to be more authentic

For example, Microsoft has promoted a unique advanced version of Internet Explorer to win over Safari and Chrome. The advertising video has tripped down memory lane of thousands of 1990s generation. Thus, the video has brought about 50 million viewers and been defined as “definitive 1990s nostalgia video” (Margo, 2019).

Figure 2. Child of the 90s (internetexplorer, 2013).
  • It generates social media traffic

Nostalgia marketing post are viral, those posts attract many interactions when the content is all about throwbacks from the past. They could be about video games as Nintendo, when the company launched the NES Classic Edition in 2016 and the Super NES Classic Edition in 2017. Those two mini-consoles announcement and launch has generated a social media buzz for game lovers as they talked about how delighted they were to play old favourite games again (Yu, 2020). The products also featured the design used in the 90s which has one specific popular game is Super Marios Bros.

Figure 3. Nintendo classic mini console (Nintendo UK, 2017)
  • It proves “what old is gold”

Food Truck Promotions (n.d) has mentioned “Older audiences will reminisce, and younger generations will enjoy the novelty of old trends becoming new again”. Nostalgia marketing creates a community who share the same interest over something they were and are fond of from the past. It is also a time machine to take us back to the time when it was less complex than the present, showing us how rebellious the the old times could be.

How every industry used “Nostalgia Marketing” and its impact

Depending on each industry and product, there are always ways to create a nostalgic vibe for every audience at different ages. Most importantly, you just need to tap properly into the proper decade/timeline.

  • Film industry:

Mamma Mia: a 2008 musical movie as a love letter full of ABBA – the world most famous band songs. The movie has revived music passion in Generation X audience to the early 2000s generation. Other successful musical movies: Yesterday (The Beatles), Bohemian Rhapsody (Queens), Rocketman (Elton John),.. they have become blockbusters in theater throughout the years. Most important to mention, those were the chances to let the audience to sing and to dive in their most favourite songs of all time all over again.

  • Fashion industry:

Same as movie, many fashion brands from affordable, middle-end, thrift to high-end, they still design and produce unique retro pieces of clothing influenced by old trends in modern years. Outfits that have been inspired from different styles throughout prior decades are now worn everywhere to create a colourful world. For example, Y2K fashion (2000s outfits), dark academia (1990s), cottagecore,.. In the meantime, Gucci is a good illustration when the brand launched “70’s-inspired capsule pieces” collection in 2020. The concept was disco-esque club with disco balls with models dancing. According to Norville (2020): “From its bright colors to its fun-filled nostalgic spirit, the new psychedelic collection seems sure to be a hit among Gucci fans and beyond”.

Figure 4. Gucci Campaign (GUCCI, 2020).

In a word..

The nostalgia marketing concept is simply built on what was closest to us back in the days, or it is originated from each brand heritage to “rekindle” or nurture the relationship with old customers. And the golden rules on how to deploy it are: know your target audience, research on the previous version of your products, choose a year to travel through time, create an engaging content, use social media as a powerful delivery, and blow their minds off with throwback vibes!


Food Trucks Promotion (n.d). Why Nostalgia Marketing Works So Well.

GUCCI. (2020, February 13). GG Psychedelic Campaign [Video]. Youtube.

internetexplorer. (2013, January 24). Child of the 90s | Internet Explorer [Video]. Youtube.

Margo, L. (2019, July 11). Why nostalgia marketing works so well.

Nintendo UK. (2017, August 22). Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System – The console of a generation! [Video]. Youtube.

Norville, R. (2020, February 13). Gucci’s New Collection is a Psychedelic Dream

Si, S. (n.d). Why Nostalgia Marketing Works [Image].

Tran, A. (2021, July 6th). Nostalgia Marketing: What Is It and Why Is It Hot?

Yu, K. (2020, March 18). A Link to the Past: Why Nostalgia Marketing is a highly effective tool [Every Thursday: FYO!].