Using nostalgia to increase brand awareness

I bet that you have said “that reminds of a time when…” or “when I see that colour I always think of…” or “this time of the year makes me feel…”, this is our memory tapping into our senses. Our associations with the past, either positive or negative, can have a major influence on our buying behavior. This is why it is important to factor nostalgia into your marketing activities.

Brands that help us to take a trip down memory lane can cleverly position their products and services next to things that awaken our senses.

Why Nostalgia Marketing Works

Think about you feel when you see an episode from a series that you used to watch as a teenager? Home and Away, Friends, Saved by the Bell…the list goes on. If you watched any of these shows and stumble upon them today then a smile or two may appear. Big brands and advertisers are trying to replicate this emotion with nostalgia marketing.

Sharing memories makes us feel closer and more connected. Reflecting back on positive times in the past can provide a sense of fulfillment and help us to cope with change. Think about a time when you completed a project or graduated from a course. This can be very comforting if you are struggling to complete an activity or task.

How to use Nostalgia in your Marketing Activities


Consider the words and images you are using within your campaigns. Words like retro, throwback and hipster all have connotations of the past. Grainy images, historic images and black and white photos are also clever ways to associate your services/products with the past.

Think about the music that you use the next time you create a video for your brand. What emotions does this music stir in the listener? Music is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to nostalgia marketing, so pick the songs that conjure up the warm and fuzzy feelings.

Life Events

To create a sense of nostalgia you need to bring the reader, viewer or listener back to a time in their lives filled with emotion. Falling in love, Childhood memories, Driving your first car; pick out the big life events.

Negative Associations

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a positive state of emotion. For example, the drink aware ads, use negative associations to create a sense of urgency. Car crashes, hospital visits and break ups may be hard to stomach but they trigger a reaction in the audience and this may be the most effective way to get your message across.


This is the most common way that brands link their products and services with nostalgia. People enjoy reminiscing on seasonal events and traditions. Also, the change in weather patterns brings a visible change in scenery so it is easier to for designers to make advertising attached to a particular season.

Examples of Brands Using Nostalgia

Coca-Cola are the leaders when is comes to tapping into our memories. Just consider everytime you see a Christmas Coke Ad.

The Joy of Sketching with Bob Ross by Adobe

For help with your Nostalgia marketing campaigns get in touch with us. We love reflecting on the past and reaching out to the audiences of the future.