Nostalgia Marketing: Tap Into This Trend And Convert More

nostalgia marketing

The year is 2023, the month of October. If you’ve been paying attention lately, you’ve probably seen the ’90s Style Yearbook AI trend blowing up on Instagram. After seeing every high school friend with big hair and bomber jackets, I tried it myself. Again…and again. And I got curious about what made this trend contagious and how nostalgia marketing really works.

Marketer trying the 90's school yearbook trend

So, if you’re as much of a nerd about this stuff as I am, let’s dive right in!

The Nostalgia Marketing Craze

Nostalgia marketing is a strategic approach that tugs at the heartstrings of consumers. This marketing technique leverages sentimental longing for the past to connect with audiences on a deeply emotional level. Brands that skillfully employ nostalgia evoke cherished memories, building stronger bonds with their customers.

Examples of Nostalgia Marketing:

LEGO’s “Everything is Awesome” campaign:

This played on the nostalgia of adults who grew up with LEGO and introduced these memories to a new generation. The Lego Movie was probably one of the most epic brand and marketing campaigns every produced…until Barbie came out, of course.


Obviously, we couldn’t speak of nostalgia without touching on the recent Barbie Movie. Margot Robbie’s iconic foot scene (I heard they used a foot model) and Ryan Gosling’s funny rendition of Ken being nothing without his Barbie stuck with us all and brought Barbies back to our screens, hearts and online shopping baskets.

NES Classic

nostalgia marketing at Nintendo World

The return of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) appealed to gamers’ fond memories of their childhood gaming experiences. I actually had a mindblowing experience at Super Nintendo World at Japan’s Disneyland!

The ’90s Revival

Let’s get to the viral ’90s yearbook photo throwback images – using AI. Apps like EPIK tapped into the collective memory of an entire generation, allowing users to share their nostalgia-driven transformations on Instagram.

When Nostalgia Marketing Goes Viral

Nostalgia marketing connects the dots between past memories and present experiences. It’s about leveraging the simplicity and emotional resonance of the past to create a profound connection with today’s audiences.

Igniting Viral Buzz

When nostalgia strikes a chord, it sets off a chain reaction. Social media platforms become the battleground for sharing memories and reliving cherished moments. The excitement spreads like wildfire as people unite over shared nostalgia.

Recapturing the Magic

Beyond mere nostalgia, brands aim to recreate the magic of the past. Whether through strategic ad campaigns, limited releases, or immersive experiences, they transport consumers back in time, making them feel part of something special.

Mutual Benefits

When nostalgia marketing goes viral, it’s a win for both brands and consumers. Brands tap into the emotional resonance of the past, while consumers get to relive fond memories and share them with like-minded individuals.

How to Incorporate Nostalgia Marketing into Your Brand

Incorporating nostalgia marketing into your brand requires a strategic approach to tap into the emotional resonance of the past and create meaningful connections with your audience. Here are some key steps to consider:

Know Your Audience

Understand who your target audience is and what nostalgic elements resonate with them. Conduct thorough research to identify the cultural touchstones, trends, and memories that hold significance for your audience.

Identify Nostalgic Triggers

Pinpoint specific themes, products, or experiences from the past that evoke strong emotions among your target demographic. This could include retro designs, iconic slogans, or beloved pop culture references.

Integrate Nostalgic Elements

Seamlessly incorporate nostalgic elements into your brand messaging, products, and campaigns. This could involve reviving vintage logos, incorporating retro aesthetics, or referencing iconic moments from the past.

Tell Compelling Stories

Use storytelling to evoke nostalgia and create a deeper connection with your audience. Share anecdotes, memories, and experiences that resonate with the nostalgic themes you’re exploring, allowing consumers to relive fond moments from the past.

Leverage Social Media

Utilize social media platforms to engage with your audience and spark conversations around nostalgic topics. Encourage followers to share their own memories and experiences related to your brand, creating a sense of community and camaraderie.

Create Authentic Experiences

Strive to create authentic and genuine experiences that capture the essence of nostalgia without feeling forced or contrived. Whether through product design, marketing campaigns, or brand events, authenticity is key to resonating with consumers on an emotional level.

Stay Relevant

While nostalgia marketing draws inspiration from the past, adapting nostalgic elements to fit modern tastes and preferences is essential. Balance traditional nostalgia with contemporary relevance to ensure your brand remains fresh and engaging.

Before Thinking About Nostalgia, Do This:

Get clear on your messaging and get focused on what you offer. In other words, nail your value proposition. Everything else get easier after that. If need to chat more, shoot me a message.