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Blast from the Past: Why Nostalgia Wins in Content Marketing

By November 15, 2016Snack
Nostalgic memories—those positive feelings tied to the past—are nuggets of marketing gold that can yield dividends for decades, and some big brands are successfully seizing the moment.

Why does nostalgia work so well in marketing? There’s a science behind a trip down memory lane that can so easily connect consumers with advertisements. Research indicates that not only is nostalgia a universal notion spanning cultures, but also it has the power to transform feelings of loneliness into inclusiveness, optimism and generosity, all through the power of recollection.



Crafting content that sparks memories.

This concept translates well into content marketing as it creates a connection with consumers that shows how much a brand cares about their past. It adds character to campaign messaging, spurring positive emotions and promoting a sense of community, which in turn increases the chance for brand loyalty.

Successful content marketing strategies that include nostalgia are attention-grabbing, incorporate iconic pop culture references and come equipped with visuals that whisk audiences off in a whirlwind of memories. Nostalgic marketing also works well as a window into a company’s history, inviting audiences in and making them feel like they’re a part of the journey. Here are a few brands that tapped into the past and tied it to the present to promote their product or service through a story that sells.

Cigna assembles a cast of iconic doctors.

Cigna’s casting of television doctors to promote annual wellness visits is a smart move. Selecting faces from long-lived and well-loved shows—MASH, ER, Scrubs, House and Grey’s Anatomy—ensured that viewers across generations would see someone they recognized and take notice. These pop culture references blended with humor are more than just attention-grabbing moments to sell a product; they present an important message about preventative healthcare that surely made audiences turn up the volume.



Temptations joins the Breakfast Club.

The Temptations marketing team is running a successful campaign that combines two of the Internet’s favorite things: cats and music videos. From the first chord, minds flash to the final, iconic scene of The Breakfast Club, a movie adored by generations old and new. With 80’s nostalgia, cute cats and a catchy tune, the brand had an immediate triple threat on its paws. A tweet with a shorter video clip garnered impressive engagement and mostly positive replies, resulting in a memorable marketing win.

Chili’s gets funky with its brand story.

Chili’s ads usually feature shots of sizzling food, but its latest campaign uses the company’s origin story to revamp the brand. Mixing the feel of a 70’s home movie, the brand taps into nostalgic memories of small-town life and disassociates from that typical chain restaurant vibe. Chili’s groovy video has the potential to connect with a fresh batch of fans while rekindling the hunger of existing customers who remember the good old days.




There’s nothing quite like the marriage between old and new in marketing. Whether that comes in the form of retro throwback photographs posted on Snapchat or an interactive YouTube video that explores a product through an iconic pop culture lens, the possibilities are endless with nostalgic content marketing.

Author ContentMarketing.com Staff

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