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25 Nostalgia Marketing Examples That Make Audience Engaged

25 Nostalgia Marketing Examples That Make Audience Engaged

Our happy memories are like a sanctuary. When you take people down a memory lane that comforts them, you’ve taken giant strides to win them over. 

One study has shown that people are more willing to spend on products that bring nostalgic feelings. Here are 25 real-life nostalgic marketing examples to help you learn strategies you can implement in your next marketing campaign.

25 Nostalgia Marketing Examples

1. Nintendo Classic Mini by Nintendo

Nintendo took advantage of the magic of nostalgic commercials when they released miniature versions of their 1980s and 1990s vintage Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Super NES gaming console. 

In contrast to the company’s losses from 2012 to 2014, it sold about 19.6 million units of the newly launched gaming system between 2017 and 2018. As a result of their nostalgia for advertising strategy, Nintendo was able to re-establish itself as a top manufacturer in the industry.

2. Switch by Nintendo

One of the complex realities of growing up is that even siblings could drift apart. This could be pretty sad, especially when you recall beautiful childhood memories like when you played dress-up or video games together.

Nintendo’s Switch nostalgia ad tells the story of two brothers who used to play Nintendo when they were young. When they became teenagers, they argued a lot and eventually grew apart. However, they united as adults to play the Nintendo Switch, which reminded them of the good old days. 

Also, they talked and played the games virtually, which shows the evolution of the Nintendo technology to allow you to connect with your loved one irrespective of where they are in the world. 

3. ’90s Fest by Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon was that one cable network that devoted itself to kid entertainment, and the 90s was their golden age. With classic shows like Hey Arnold!, SpongeBob Square Pants, and Rugrats, adults can testify to the color that these major cartoons added to their childhood. Decades after the shows went mainstream, Nickelodeon did a rerun of these shows for their longtime fans.

4. Gazelles by Adidas

The 1966 Gazelle sneakers trended again in 2023 by tapping into the brand’s nostalgic and rich history. The sneakers’ timeless and versatile design connected strongly with many people from the 90s. 

In fact, celebrities like Michael Jackson and Kate Moss wore them. The campaign for Gazelle also included collaborations with Gucci influencers like Harry Styles, Gucci Mane, and Kendall Jenner to add to the buzz.

5. Surge Comeback by Coca-Cola

The surge made an epic comeback in 2014 after Coca-Cola discontinued sales in 2023. This nostalgic advertising was in response to public pressure from its loyal 90s customers to re-release the beverage. Surge was available for a limited time, and as expected, it sold out quickly. 

6. Crystal Pepsi by Pepsi

As part of the growing trend of nostalgia commercials, Pepsi decided to bring back Crystal Pepsi. The Crystal Pepsi was launched as far back as 1992 and was only available for two years. Despite its short time in the market, it left a mark in the memory of many Americans, as did other nostalgic products like Goosebumps books, Reebok Pumps, and Tamagotchis.

In 2022, Pepsi decided to revive its nostalgic brand after a Facebook group tagged “Bring Back Crystal Pepsi” got over 7,300 likes.

7. Chicken McNuggets by McDonald’s

Most millennials can relate to the McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets they loved as kids. Knowing how much people enjoyed the recipe, McDonald’s nostalgic advertisements capitalized on that almost 40 years later. 

During the pandemic and after, McDonald’s recorded impressive sales of the spicy flavor of the product. To this day, Chicken McNuggets remain an essential recipe on their menu. 

8. The NeverEnding Story by Spotify

Spotify took a dive into nostalgia in marketing by bringing back the ’80s fantasy movie “The NeverEnding Story.” The commercial ad for the music streaming platform featured the movie star, Atreyu, flying on the back of his dragon, Falkor. In 2021, more than 30 years after the film was released, the “The NeverEnding Story” song had over 64.5 million streams on Spotify.

9. Cookie Monster and Apple Inc.’s Partnership

In April 2016, a nostalgic marketing ad for the iPhone 6 featuring Cookie Monster was so successful that it was one of the month’s most shared videos. The childhood emotions of happiness, warmth, and hilarity were the significant factors that boosted the shareability. After the campaign, Apple sold over 220 million units of the iPhone series.

10. The Re-Issue Project by Calvin Klein

The nostalgic effect of “The Re-Issue Project” was like no other because Calvin Kelin brought back vintage products from the ’80s and ’90s. Charlotte Moss, Kate Moss’s younger sister, modeled for some denim pieces, including boyfriend jeans and high-waist jeans. They also returned classic pieces such as cropped T-shirts and sweatshirts displaying the nostalgic brands’ logo.

11. Adobe Photoshop Sketch by Adobe

Adobe honored Bob Ross after his Netflix debut, The Joy of Painting, made him a trend on Instagram. Although he passed away in 1995, the company took advantage of the Netflix series by paying homage to the painter in their tutorial videos for the new Adobe Photoshop Sketch. 

They also collaborated with Bob Ross Inc. and reminded many people that they are committed to bringing out the creativity in them.

12. Crocodile Dundee Ad by Australia Tourism Board

Australia Tourism Board took nostalgia ads a notch higher in their tourism marketing by using an adaptation trailer of the ’80s Crocodile Dundee movie. The fictional reboot starred Chris Hemsworth, who tricked Jason Sudeikis into a tourism ad. 

The marketing strategy eventually showed the features of Australian tourism because both actors decided that a trip to Australia was their best vacation ever despite the trickery.

13. Heinz’s Ketchup 

A look at Heinz’s ketchup bottle from the 1890s is not much different from the current one. An iconic and timeless design like that of Heinz’s has earned the trust and loyalty of their customers. In this light, consider adding vintage elements of past designs to evoke feelings of nostalgia in your customers.

14. Oikos and Full House Cast

Many people remember the nostalgic symbol that shows like Full House from the 1980s and 1990s represent. A few of the stars from the sitcom came together to make an ad for Dannon’s line of Greek yogurts called Oikos.

15. Adidas and Billie Jean King

Back in the day, men were believed to be superior athletes. But in 1973, Billie Jean King won a tennis match against Bobby Riggs, which proved the stereotypes against women to be wrong. 

Billie Jean King wore a pair of blue Adidas tennis shoes during the match. So, Addidas decided to launch a limited edition of those BJK’s shoes during the 45th anniversary of her win. Their limited edition ads eventually led to a 20% increase in the sales of their tennis shoes.

16. Tesco 

Tesco, a British grocery chain, made Christmas home videos showing how a family grew and aged over the years. This marketing nostalgia aimed to remind viewers of the fond holiday memories they could all relate to.

17. Bacardi

To commemorate its 150th anniversary, Bacardi made print and television ads that took viewers down memory lane. The brand’s party-starting commercial was to show the company’s authenticity and historic roots.

18. Chili’s Burgers

This marketing nostalgia strategy tapped into the traditional American life. Instead of the typical sizzling bacon and glistening hamburgers, Chili decided to tell the story behind their brand. The retro marketing video depicted the founders in the first restaurant, lounging atop their cars, playing ring toss, and flipping Chilli’s burgers.

19. Target and Star Wars

Target engaged fans to promote the Star Wars: The Force Awakens franchise. They were to make and share their Star Wars memory videos. Young fans also wore the costumes of their favorite character and made Chewbacca impressions. The campaign’s beauty is that it resonated with both old and new fans.

20. and Lisa Frank

These companies partnered to create nostalgic flats for ’90s children who loved fantasy stories of rainbows and unicorns. People could book the rooms on for a limited time in 2019. This fantasy advertising example was successful, especially with the millennials, because it reminded them of the simplicity and warmth of childhood.

21. JNCOs and Goldfish

Most 90s kids can remember that jalapeno poppers were popular and that JNCO made ultra-wide jeans trendy back in the day. With ’90s nostalgia on the rise, it’s not surprising that Goldfish partnered with JNCO to release jeans with pockets large enough to hold a bag of their new Goldfish Jalapeño Poppers.

22. Motorola Razr

The flat flip Razr was popular in the early 2000s because of its simple design. Motorola reminded their customers of the old-school phone when they released an improved version of the RAZR in 2019.

In their nostalgia brand marketing, they showed the old Razr flying through the air to reveal the new Android-like version.

23. Uber Eats

To promote their brand for their Super Bowl 2021 spot, Uber Eats involved the 1992 dynamic duo Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. They also included a Cardi B cameo to promote their brand. This powerful advertisement was a perfect blend of nostalgia and modernity.

24. Microsoft

In 2013, a Microsoft ad for Internet Explorer got viral recognition and Webby Award nominations. The creative agency that made the story-focused ad took advantage of nostalgia to reintroduce the browser to the ’90s kids. 

The commercial incorporated many ’90s features kike bowl haircuts, fanny packs, Tamagotchi, and the Oregon Trail PC game, which increased its shareworthiness. 

25. Airbnb and Blockbuster

Airbnb patterned with Blockbuster to create a nostalgic environment for people who needed a place to sleep over. The rental spaces were transformed into 90s Blockbuster themes. Although the apartments were available for just three nights, they got much attention.

Captivate Your Audience Now!

You captivate your audience when you connect with them. With vintage designs and strategies, you can evoke familiar emotions in your customers to drive engagement and sales. For best results, studying your target audience using Mandala AI tools is advisable to identify what resonates deeply with them.

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