Dominique Levy, Managing Director of Ipsos Marketing in France, is an expert in brand management & innovation and qualitative research.
Isn’t it funny that we are nostalgic of a period when people had their eyes turned on us? In the 50-60’s, science fiction was strong at imagining what might happen in 2000. Future was a value, you might remember the futurist modernism of Courrèges. There is a surprising cycle effect where we look in the rear-view mirror a society that imagined us through the windscreen! This happens at a time when marketing has assembled heritage. Some major brands have now a strong capital of history and image and they would be wrong not to use it.
Retro marketing works because in a period of uncertainty, nostalgia is a way for consumers to re-appropriate their history. The most emblematic brands exploit their rich history and heritage to reassure consumers.
Some examples include the Mad Men series plunging us back into the 1960s, Mattel reediting its famous Barbie doll, and Vuitton with its AW 2010 collection taking over the codes of the sixties. Some other brands have designed vintage packaging or revamped their product with old codes. This is the case for Danone with its Danone Origines limited range, Adidas reediting the famous SL 72 sneakers worn by Starsky and Hutch, or Rover and Fiat re-interpreting mythic cars like the Mini and Fiat 500. The surge of nostalgeek and retrogamer websites and blogs is another good illustration of this trend, such as the new Fnac it! platform which offers high-tech gadgets with vintage designs.
The marketers’ idea is not to go back to the past but rather to use popular codes associated with these prosperous periods, and to modernise them with the final objective to reassure consumers. The key to success is to combine the codes of nostalgia with creativity and innovation which are strong consumer demands. In other words, to offer a myth that looks ahead to the future, feeding tomorrow’s nostalgia.
8 November, 2010