Why Nostalgia Is So 'Fetch' Right Now

In volume 3 of the Ipsos and Effie Dynamic Effectiveness series, we explore why nostalgia is a powerful tool and the ways in which brands can use it effectively.

The author(s)
  • Samira Brophy Senior Director, Creative Excellence
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Dynamic Effectiveness Volume 3 CoverSeen someone wearing skirt and trousers Y2K style recently? Cottage-core, Barbie mania, vinyl, 90’s yearbook challenges on TikTok & Instagram, Stranger Things, Mean Girls, messy mullets… We are recycling culture at a faster rate than our plastic bottles, but why?

To say we are overwhelmed is an understatement, 68% of people in the UK agreed that there are so many critical problems in the world today (Ipsos Essentials) we struggle to decide what to focus on. The current polycrisis makes us think about the past as a much more stable and attractive place, which we re-visit for comfort, hope, security, control, connection, and in some case, learnings to help us build a more desirable future.

Nostalgia affects everyone and presents an opportunity for marketers to connect with consumers by tapping into the feel-good factor in their past. Here we explore four ways in which Effie award winners have used nostalgia in their campaigns to drive effectiveness and trigger specific emotional connections. Featuring Effie awarding winning case studies from: Renault and Publicis•Poke, KFC and Mother, Havas London, and Crayola.

When the now feels a bit “meh”, and the future shouts climate emergency combined with AI futurism, no wonder we hark a few decades back. But brands and agencies are at our best when we drive optimism and excitement for the future. Look to the past for genuine human behaviour we want to protect or bring back, but don’t hide behind it as style over substance. Nostalgia plays a valid role and a shortcut to tap into good memory structures of the past, but let’s not  stop being innovative and creating new ones.

Britt Iversen, Executive Head of Strategy, Havas London

Key takeaways

  • Nostalgia is a tactic that helps meet people’s emotional needs while tapping into aspects of your brand’s history and heritage.
  • Using aspects of a brand’s history or heritage in ads boosts brand attention by 8%.
  • Renault and Publicis•Poke used nostalgia to increase purchase consideration 52% in three months by revisiting their 90’s ‘Papa Nicole’ ad campaign to reconnect audiences.
  • KFC achieved a business turnaround over five years, accelerating revenue growth to over £1 billion by tapping into heritage icons and values to create ‘The Right Way’.
  • ‘Long Live the Local’ tapped into place-based nostalgia for the beloved local pub, galvanising the public and MPs to influence the UK Chancellor to stem a beer tax increase, which would force more pubs across the country out of business.
  • Crayola’s ‘Colours of the World’ products beat revenue projections by 8x by challenging nostalgic rosy retrospection, addressing the past head on, and giving us hope for the future.

Discover the rest of the Dynamic Effectiveness Series


Table of contents

  1. Dynamic Effectiveness: Ipsos & Effie UK
  2. A Woman's Worth: How better portrayal is good for business
  3. The Empathy Gap and How to Bridge It
  4. Why Nostalgia Is So 'Fetch' Right Now
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The author(s)
  • Samira Brophy Senior Director, Creative Excellence

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