How can the past influence your business’ future?

Rose-Tinted Glasses For the Past — And Your Products

They say you look at the past through ‘rose-tinted glasses’; what if your customers could look at your products the same way? 

New research indicates nostalgia based advertisements to be a leading factor in increased brand engagement and selection. 

Even your less-than-loyal customers appreciate a blast from the past! The study goes on to say nostalgia based advertising is preferred over its non-nostalgia based counterpart even by your less loyal customers.

How Can I Remind People to Remember?

To be effective, nostalgia based advertising needs to do a couple of things:

  1. Create fun flashbacks by bringing up the best parts of their pasts using phrases like “Remember a time when…”
  2. Conjure up any positive physiological emotion with the past. The mind might forget, but the body doesn’t! By using phrases like, “I got goosebumps”, you can bring the physical parts of the past to the present. 
  3. Make sure you’re not bringing the bad vibes — you’re only looking for the happy stuff here!

Remember This Research

Physical senses are deeply intertwined with your memory. There’s even a name for when a specific scent conjures up memories of the past — a Proustian moment.

While your customers may have a hard time smelling your products through a screen, they still have their senses of sight and hearing readily available.

By using nostalgic sounds and images in your advertisements, a customer’s favorite memories can be your greatest advantage.

The Past is Prevalent in the Present

During times of crises, when customers are on edge, marketers have been known to use nostalgic advertisements as a means of reassurance.

Even if the current times are bad, messages invoking the past remind your customers of better days.

Better yet, if your product is the trigger that brought back those memories, your customer will associate their happiness with your brand.


Source: Merchant, A., Latour, K., Ford, J. B., & Latour, M. S. (2013). How strong is the pull of the past? Measuring personal nostalgia evoked by advertising. Journal of Advertising Research, 53(2), 150-165