2016 saw a new level of Nostalgia in Marketing.
Take for example Netflix’s instant cult-classic Stranger Things. To call Stranger Things a success is downplaying its effect, with fans and critics alike gushing over its feast of nostalgic homages coupled with a genuinely gripping story focused on a band of ragamuffin kids facing off against an evil entity from the netherworld. With a 94 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus seems to be Stranger Things is a pitch-perfect throwback that scratches all the right itches without coming off as a forced trip down memory lane.
Nostalgia has always been an effective marketing tool but what you may not know is that there is science backing it up.
Psychologists have done research proving that while it might be kicked off by feelings of sadness or loneliness, nostalgia—which most people experience at least once a week, and often three or four times—ultimately helps people feel much better. Nostalgia can “counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety,” as well as make us more tolerant and generous. In one study, playing hit songs from the past and giving people the lyrics actually made individuals feel “loved” and that “life is worth living.” Other research indicates that nostalgia is universal, experienced across all cultures, and actually increases self-esteem and ‘social connectedness,’ which relates to feelings of being loved and protected.
Considering many people already turn to social media for increased connectedness, to counteract boredom and to generally feel happier, why wouldn’t companies make an effort to channel nostalgia?
This year, the nostalgia trend was pushed even further with everything from movies and tv shows using 80’s references (like stranger things) to apps like Pokemon Go, and this is only the beginning. With the success of these nostalgic things, we can be sure that this will be a popular marketing trend in the coming year.