A new ad campaign from Ikea in the United Arab Emirates had fun with three of TV’s most iconic living rooms – recreating sets from Friends, Stranger Things and The Simpsons solely with Ikea furniture and decorations. When I shared the campaign images on my LinkedIn page, it seemed I was not the only person to think the nostalgic idea was genius. While people have always loved a ‘throwback’, or opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, companies are increasingly leaning on the notion of nostalgia and retro to promote modern products.
Marketing with feeling
Studies suggest nostalgia inspires consumers to spend their money because it promises an immediate return in the form of familiarity. As someone who has attended FriendsFest – an immersive experience for fans with original sets and props – and visited the real-life Central Perk setting in New York, Ikea’s Friends set evoked feelings of comfort. The shots took me back to binging episodes with my family as a child and visiting the sets with my friends in two different countries decades later.
At a time when brands are aware of the value of connecting with customers on a deeper and more emotional level – nostalgia marketing can signify to your customers that you are worthy of attention because you are associated with something they already love.
Perhaps the most iconic nostalgic marketing campaign belongs to Coca-Cola. Every year we get a dose of good memories in the form of its 1930s Christmas advert. Decades since it was first aired, people still see the advert as the unofficial start to the Christmas season, and tours of the iconic red truck continue to draw millions of visitors across the globe.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ app uses memory-triggering features to completely immerse users in its platform, and Twitter established #TBT (throwback Thursday) to establish longevity between its brand and users.
From past-it to progressive
We too have used nostalgia to connect with our client’s audiences. XL Communications has been working with Planet Computers since early-2018 and helped the innovative company launch its Gemini PDA – a retro take on the handheld Psion computers of yesteryear. By raising awareness of the Gemini PDA in many of the world’s most prominent media publications and securing first-look reviews, we promoted the inspiring design story behind the “rebirth of the Psion”. The technology industry is progressive and fast-paced by nature, but a product that gave older technology fans a nostalgic throwback to what was the most progressive piece of kit in its time, proved to be a winning PR/marketing approach. The launch alone doubled the crowd funding and sold more than 1,000 units in one week.