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Ad campaign nostalgia needs to be handled correctly

Published January 2, 2014 at 8:56 am

Plenty of companies fall back on their legacy when trying to win over customers. The “new Mustang” car being released by Ford, for example, can be said to pay homage to the car’s past as well as a modern interpretation of the brand.

And Jerry Seinfeld’s newer ads for the Acura have had some fun parodying older styles of film and television from the 1960s, according to Mashable (as well as mock slogans like “Yesterday’s improvements! Today’s advancements! Tomorrow’s accomplishments!”).

These ads were co-written by the comedian and directed by well-known American filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld, and take a distinct and humorous attitude toward images viewers may be familiar with from the past.

But this approach doesn’t only apply to irreverent spoofs. Dell, a computer company that once seemed to be ubiquitous thanks to its youth-facing ads in previous years, is attempting to remind consumers of the company’s quaint beginnings through a video that shows representations of the living rooms, basements, and apartments where now-huge brands were launched.

This comes as part of a bigger strategy to help sustain the company’s audience as it transitions into a company with a different focus, approximately 30 years after it was founded.

It’s important to note this because nostalgic content depends largely on the kind of attitude it is given, and the greater purpose to which it is attached. Marketers should ask themselves why exactly they’re reminding the audience of the past and what this has to do with where the company is headed. As long as these questions are answered, the potential is there for businesses to make strides forward after glancing backward.


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