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Should Your Brand Utilize Nostalgia Marketing?

Nickelodeon is bringing back the splat!

Many Twitter users were made aware of Nickelodeon’s rebrand recently through a tweet by Adweek. While the tweet seemed intentionally misleading, it did bring our attention to another brand leaning into nostalgia marketing. 

The refresh was the first in 14 years for the kid’s entertainment channel. Adweek spoke with Nickelodeon’s EVP of global kids and family marketing and gave some insight into the branding decisions. Primarily, the “new” branding brings back the splat, an organic blob shape, that harkens back to the channel’s heyday in the 90’s. The decision to recycle the shape comes from research that found that the main thing that’s changed since the brand’s inception is the connection between parents and their children. The new branding aims to establish a greater bond between generations by bringing the classic feeling of the channel that parents know from their childhood to the next generation. 

In addition to the new logo, Nickelodeon is premiering a new campaign entitled “Portal to Fun” that will feature five new spots. In each spot, the kids see an iconic “splat” with a quirky new world on the other side. This idea transports us back to the golden era of Nick, which often played kooky, quirky, and just plain weird spots between shows. 

Nostalgia and its Effect on Branding

The ’90s resurgence in pop culture isn’t anything new, we’ve seen the resurgence of references for years. The question is, why? From a psychological standpoint, nostalgia has become a significant driving force for the media consumed by adults in recent years. With increased awareness of news and the details of current events being available to us constantly, a lot of adults are turning to the things that make them feel a sense of comfort–like shows, music, and movies, from their childhood. 

We’re seeing the trend of brands leaning into nostalgia across all industries: Motorola brought back the Razr, Burger King made the return to a more classic logo, and some even report Subaru is toying with the idea of launching a new model of Baja. 

Is Nostalgia Marketing Right for Your Brand?

Nostalgia marketing works by relying on an emotional attachment between the audience and the product or service.  By leveraging familiar icons, trends, and cultural references from previous decades, brands can transport individuals back to a time when life seemed simpler and more joyful. It harnesses the familiarity and comfort associated with cherished memories, fostering a sense of nostalgia that not only captures attention but also fosters brand loyalty. Nostalgia marketing provides a powerful tool for brands to evoke strong emotions and forge meaningful connections with consumers, ultimately influencing their purchasing decisions.

How can your brand utilize this tool, even if you’re not considered a “legacy brand?” You don’t have to have branding that’s been around since the 90s to use your audience’s positive memories. You can utilize advertising elements such as design, style, and themes to harken back to the “old days.” Utilize themes in advertising that remind your audience how far your product or service has come. Play a relevant song in video ads that is well-known and speak to a clear sense of nostalgia. There are plenty of ways to use your branding and advertising to harness the power of nostalgia. 

Unsure of where to start? Let the branding experts at Vibrant help! Get in touch today to book a consultation. 

Photo: Nickelodeon