Nostalgia · Things / Products

#TBT: Do Not Underestimate the Power of Nostalgia


It seems to happen more and more these days. You’re out at a store, focused on buying the latest and greatest . . . and there it is. Right in front of you.

Source: Giphy

You haven’t thought about it in years, but when that wave of nostalgia crashes over you and you are suddenly swept out into a sea of youthful memories, you immediately forget the new and relish in a celebration of the old, the vintage, retro, the classic.

Here.  Take my money.

Source: Giphy

Nostalgia marketing has hit the big time in recent years, with brands from every sector looking to tap into the hearts and memories of 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s (and even 00’s) kids who are looking to reconnect with their past.

And it works. Those nostalgic feelings that companies create establish a powerful connection between their product and your past.

McDonald’s gets it.

So does Apple.

There is no doubt. Nostalgia sells.

But what happens when a company forgets about nostalgia? When it forgets about their customers’ emotional connection and history with a product? When it messes with perfection? When a company changes its product and its customers say, “Um, yeah, we don’t want it better, we just want it back the way it was.”

new_coke_canWell, that’s exactly what happened when Coca-Cola replaced its original Coke formula with New Coke—Coca-Cola’s attempt to better compete with Pepsi. Apparently, taste tests showed that people preferred the sweeter taste of New Coke. But Coke forgot about the emotional connection people had with the original formula.  It was, as many would say, one of the all-time biggest marketing blunders in history.

 Source: Giphy

So on this Throwback Thursday, go ahead. Have a Coke and a smileAnd don’t forget the power of nostalgia.

What products do you buy because of an emotional connection ? What products did you connect with in the past that you think should make a comeback?  What products will you be happy never to see again? What product would you be devastated to see disappear?

Let us know in the comments!

New Coke Can Image: JetiJonez used under license CC by 3.0.









26 thoughts on “#TBT: Do Not Underestimate the Power of Nostalgia

  1. I love this post…you’re preachin’ to the choir as far as nostalgia goes 🙂 As far as products go, a few weeks ago, I freaked out with delight when presented with a box of Pink Elephant popcorn,,,that is, until I tasted it and it tasted nothing like the version I had as a child…hoping to be graciously-disappointed, I didn’t let my best friend in on the secret….thanks for another wonderful post 🙂

    1. Pink elephant popcorn sounds so delightfully whimsical… but I have never heard of it! Things never taste quite the same as they did when we were children, but the memories of those things certainly are quite delicious. 🙂

  2. Those animal crackers with pink icing. Cracker jacks too. I read a post somewhere this week that the 80’s will be “in” again in 2017 and I had to wonder is it really a good idea to bring back jellies, pegged jeans and aqua net?

    This was a great post, and yes New Coke has to be the one thing they teach in “What not do in Marketing”.

    1. There are some things from the 80’s that will be great to have come back . . . but maybe not Aqua Net. 🙂 Glad you liked the post and hope you can follow along on my weekly Everyday Nostalgia posts.

  3. This is a fun post! I was drinking a coke when I read this too 🙂 I am a sucker for anything 80’s, I wish they would bring back those little plastic charm bracelet things. Those were so fun.

  4. This Christmas we were reminded of Trolls! Our nephew is really into them- it’s fun to see them making a comeback and it reminds us of our fav toys!

  5. This is a super insightful blog! I’d never really thought so much about nostalgia in terms of marketing, so it opened my eyes to a whole bunch of new techniques I can use in my own business. I do believe an emotional connection plays a huge part in my own purchases, for sure!

  6. Thanks Arien for commenting! Yes, so many companies use nostalgia to create emotional connections. Once you have an emotional connection with a product, it’s difficult to switch to a competing product, even if the competing product may be better!

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