What's a nostalgic advertisement for you

Successful brand communication through nostalgia

Brands are increasingly reflecting on their own history and presenting themselves nostalgically. Given the impact on consumption, it seems of particular importance what nostalgia means for consumers. Two scientists have now investigated how appealing nostalgia works in brand management and identified four nostalgic types of consumers.

Based on a semiotic analysis with interviews conducted over a period of two years, the four types "Kidults", "Traditionals", "Transitionals" and "Transgenerationals" were identified as four brand differentiation strategies related to these consumer profiles: Kidults
Kidults belong to Generation Y (born 1978-1988) and have a longing for childhood. They satisfy their need for security with retrospective consumption. In order to reach these Generation Y individuals, advertising with TV icons of the 80s and 90s seems appropriate for product categories such as candy and video games. Traditionals
They belong to Generation X (born 1968-1977). You long for tradition and need reference points. In order to target this group in a targeted manner, brands should emphasize the authenticity of their products. Transitionals
Transitionals mainly consist of baby boomers (born 1948-1967). This group sees nostalgia as a way of defining and maintaining their identity. For them, advertising should highlight products associated with rebellion and freedom. Transgenerationals
For this group of people born between 1928-1947, consumption is understood as a means of transferring valuable objects such as jewelry or watches. Advertising could create a romantic atmosphere through the use of black and white images and cult songs.

For their research, the authors, Aurélie Kessous, Junior Professor of Marketing at the INSEEC Business School and Elyette Roux, Marketing Professor at the IAE-Aix-Marseille University, conducted 49 semi-directive interviews in 3 stages. First of all, 20 test subjects were discussed which products and brands they associate with a pleasant moment in their life. A year later they were interviewed again and shown pictures of the aforementioned nostalgic brands and asked what crossed their minds when they viewed it. Finally, 17 months later, the participants discussed the memories they associate with four photo prints that represent four important stages in their lives. The results of the study were published in the article “Nostaligia, automotive graphics memories and brand communication: a semiotic ananlysis” in Marketing ZFP: Journal of Research and Management.