How To Boost Your Marketing With Nostalgia

October 18, 2022
Jack Hahn

Do you ever look back on your childhood and miss the simpler times? If so, you’re not alone. Many people feel nostalgic for the past – especially when it comes to their youth. As marketers, we can use this emotion as a tool to help generate more leads and sales.

Today, you’ll learn everything you need to know about where and when you can use nostalgia to enhance your marketing. We’ll also take a look at the products and services that nostalgic advertising benefits the most, and how to determine whether you should use this tool in your own marketing campaigns.

What Is Nostalgia Marketing?

Nostalgia marketing is a way for marketers to connect with consumers on an emotional level. By using images, colors, and words that evoke memories of the past, nostalgia marketing can help create a strong connection with your target audience.

Nostalgia is most effective for marketing when used in moderation. Too much nostalgia can make your brand seem outdated or stuck in the past. But used correctly, it can be a powerful way to connect with your customers and create a long-lasting impression that keeps your brand’s name in mind.

What Kind Of Products And Services Can Benefit Most From Nostalgia Marketing?

Nostalgia in marketing is most effective when used for products and services that make you think of positive emotions and memories. For example, nostalgic appeal would be a good choice for a company that sells children’s toys or clothing to parents. Other products and services that can benefit from nostalgic marketing include:

Food and drink

Brands that have been around for a while often rely on nostalgia in their advertising to ensure continued sales.

Here’s a classic example: Coca-Cola’s holiday advertising campaigns. Have you ever thought about how consistent they are with their imagery?

During winter, Coca-Cola advertisements include tons of images of Santa Clause. The reason they do this is to get their audience thinking about childhood, or “the good times.”

And it’s often effective. Appealing to these positive memories makes us want to revisit them. And with over 135 years in business, the marketing team at Coca-Cola knows that their product is ubiquitous. Nearly every American has tasted Coca-Cola at some point during childhood, whether at a family gathering or some other event. So they play off of that association to make you buy more cola.

Home decor

Our homes are where we have the strongest emotional attachments. If you sell home décor, you can use nostalgia marketing to your advantage as well.

Think about it: when was the last time you saw a commercial for a furniture store that didn’t feature families? They do this because it makes us think of positive memories from our childhood homes.

When we see these ads and remember these positive feelings, we think about how we want our own homes to feel. This emotional connection can be a powerful motivator that converts leads into paying customers.

Clothing and fashion

One of the most personal statements we can make comes from the way we dress. We often have strong emotional attachments to the clothing we wore during key events in our lives.

For example, many women feel sentimental about their wedding dresses. Men often get nostalgic about their high school or college letterman jackets.

Clothing retailers can use this nostalgia to their advantage by marketing to these feelings. For example, J.Crew once ran a Mother’s Day campaign that featured images of mothers and daughters wearing the same clothes. The ad copy read, “make it last.”

This campaign was successful because it spoke to the emotional connection that many women have with their mothers. It also tapped into the idea of wanting to keep these positive memories alive by creating a shared experience through clothing.


With the rapid pace of technological advancement, it’s not surprising that some people feel nostalgia for older electronics.

Many people remember their first cell phone or computer fondly. And as these devices become more and more integral to daily life, that nostalgia keeps growing.

Have you noticed a recent increase in the popularity of flip phones? Some smartphone companies have already started to capitalize on this longing for the past.

As more people begin to miss the simplicity of life without social media, these companies place less emphasis on selling smartphones and work harder to promote simpler devices.

A nostalgic candybar style phone

What Companies Use Nostalgia Most Effectively For Marketing?

Depending on your industry, nostalgia marketing can be a great way to connect with your customers and create a long-lasting impression that keeps your brand in mind. But it’s important to use it sparingly and make sure that it is appropriate for your product or service. Below are some companies that do a great job of using nostalgia to make their advertising more effective.


Nokia is one of the best when it comes to nostalgic appeal. Other phone companies have pushed marketing for advanced smartphones with crazy capabilities. But Nokia has focused on providing simple, affordable devices great for people who aren’t caught up in the social media craze. They’ve become the go-to manufacturer for people seeking simplicity.

A nostalgic image of a basic cell phone with no touchscreen


Holiday advertising with pictures of Santa isn’t the only way Coca-Cola appeals to nostalgia. Does anyone remember back in 1985 when Coca-Cola disastrously tried to introduce a new recipe, and nobody liked it?

As soon as the company realized that this was a mistake, they started to explicitly market that they had reverted to the old recipe.

The result? People literally started hoarding Coca-Cola to make sure they’d always have access to the taste of their childhood. They didn’t want anything new.

A mockup of a nostalgic winter advertisment for Coca-Cola


The Japan-based gaming company rarely releases new titles these days. Instead, they’ve taken to re-releasing old games with updated graphics and visuals.

They take advantage of players’ love for games from childhood and use that emotion to convince them to purchase the same game multiple times.

It’s so effective, Nintendo doesn’t even have to develop truly new content anymore. The power of nostalgia in marketing is undeniable.

What Kind Of Audience Can I Attract With Nostalgic Advertising?

Nostalgic marketing content can attract almost any audience if you appeal to the right emotions. For example, if you’re targeting Baby Boomers, use images of classic cars or vintage clothing in your ads. If you’re targeting Generation X, try images of childhood memories like tree houses or playing in the sprinklers.

How Can I Find Opportunities To Use Nostalgia When Marketing?

Start by determining the age group you’re trying to market to, then work backward to figure out when they were children. If you can learn what was popular in your company’s industry during that era, there’s a good chance you’ll find an opportunity to use nostalgia in your marketing materials.

For example, imagine you sell classic cars. Most of your customers are retired. The age of your average client is 60+. Knowing this, you can determine that your average customer would’ve been a teenager in the 70s.

If you know the most popular makes and models of cars that were most popular from that time, you can generate the same feeling of excitement your customers felt when they bought their first cars. You might attract more customers by featuring classic cars from the 70s in your ad content.

This is a simple example, but the concept applies to any industry: looking at past trends can help you figure out how to better connect with your customer’s experiences and emotions.

Does Appealing To Nostalgia Have Any Limitations In Marketing?

Nostalgic appeal doesn’t work as well with younger audiences. They may still be living “the golden years,” and their age means they have less experience and fewer memories you can appeal to.

What Kind Of Marketing Content Benefits The Most From Nostalgia?

Video advertisements and photo advertisements can get better results than text advertisements and written copy. Visual associations are more memorable than verbal associations, so visual media makes a stronger impression on your audience.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are the best places to appeal to people through nostalgia.

Text-based platforms like search ads aren’t as effective because it’s harder to inspire positive associations from childhood using words alone.

How Should I Use Nostalgia In My Marketing Campaigns?

When trying to inspire nostalgia with your advertising, use images, colors, and words that evoke positive emotions associated with the past. Consider your tone as well. Are there any phrases or terms you can use to take your audience back to the good old days?

Nostalgia can be a powerful marketing tool, but it’s not right for every brand. To decide if marketing through nostalgia is right for you, consider your product or service, your target audience, and your overall marketing goals. Are you trying to sell a modern innovation or something that’s never been seen before? If so, nostalgic marketing might not be the best strategy available to you.

Add Nostalgia To Your Marketing Content With ClearBrand

When used correctly, nostalgia marketing can help you create strong emotional bonds with your customers that generate more leads and better sales outcomes.

If you’re not sure how to get started, consider working with a marketing agency like ClearBrand that can use nostalgia to get real results. Speak with one of our marketing specialists today to learn more about using nostalgia to enhance your marketing outcomes.


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