Nostalgia as an Advertising Tool

Nostalgia is popping up everywhere in pop culture.

The end of 2018, flooding into 2019, brought media of all kinds tapping into the power of the warm, fuzzy feeling of remembrance. Recently, a Stella Artois commercial starred Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges on screen reprising their most famous on-screen roles. The popular beer company has received attention surrounding this ad, both for content and message, as they pull attention to the global water crisis.

This ad may have been what caught my attention, but it is only a follower in the current trend. Pop music has been focusing on nostalgia, directly complimenting the past. Songs “2002” by Anne Marie and “1999” by Charli XCX have hit the charts hard with catchy beats and relatable messages along the lines of, the past was a simpler time, let’s go back to that.

Furthering the trend, the first video to “break” YouTube comments, amassing too many to display within minutes of airing, was Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next,” recreating scenes from early 2000s movies.

This trend has been going on for a while and is now starting to be utilized by companies within their advertisements. The early 2000s are a time remembered fondly by many, and Stella Artois has decided to capitalize on that.

Following what we’ve seen from the music and video industries, I expect that more brands will find methods to incorporate the early 2000s nostalgia to tap into the millennial market.

Tapping into the millennial market doesn’t need to mimic this distinct template to follow the trend. These examples use a specific visual to their advantage, using obvious, notable imagery to pound in nostalgia. Moving forward though, as the trend trickles through the media, I’m expecting the nostalgic nod to be a more abstract motif, paying tribute to the visuals, sounds, fashions, and lifestyles of the era. Using these can create a lasting impression for potential customers, associating the warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia with your product.

Aidan Intemann