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Millennials Obsession With Nostalgia

Posted by Catherine Andrews on Dec 8, 2016 9:00:00 AM

When I think of millennials in the marketplace, I think "trendsetters". This is not to be seen as cocky, but millennials have definitely made some drastic changes in the marketplace with their unique shopping style. Although some companies ,like Buzzfeed, have captured millennials attention, it has taken quite some time for most to feel like they have some sort of handle on how to market to millennials. (For more on how Buzzfeed markets to millennials, click here) It is a difficult task to try to market to such a large and diverse group of people, but one way companies have tried to tackle this feat is through nostalgia.  

When we millennials grew up, we were overwhelmed with amazing movies and shows that have now become the classics of our childhood.  It is natural, and probably a smart move, for companies to want to tap into such a successful niche.  Let's take a look at some companies who have been bitten by the nostalgia bug. 

Burger King

With their cheesy tots back on the menu, Burger King did something huge to get these tots to be the talk of the town, of the inteBurger King Logornet.  These tots are something that Burger King loyals have been praying for for quite a while, via social media, and Burger King knew that this couldn't just be any old comeback. That is why they pulled out the big guns for this new release, and by the big guns I mean the classic, Napoleon Dynamite. Burger King got part of the cast back together to create a simple but infamous commercial. By taking such an iconic movie that has such a strong tie to tater tots, Burger King was able to tap into that tucked away pocket of love that millennials have for Napoleon Dynamite... and tater tots. This commercial did just what Burger King hoped for, and got people talking. Not only have Burger King loyals been talking about this commercial, but so have Napoleon Dynamite lovers of all kinds. Through this commercial, Burger King was able to reach into the hearts of Burger King lovers as well as Napoleon Dynamite fans to create a lot of conversation. Well played Burger King, well played. To watch this commercial, and get a glimpse into the old classic, watch it below.

Nike Air Jordans
For Air Jordans, it's only natural that they delve into the realm of Space Jam.  Space Jam is a classic movie that we could all turn to as kids. Thankfully, Air Jordans knew that they should keep it close to the roots with the iconic characters and more. This way, millennials are able to appreciate this commercial with an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.  Getting to see these characters uphold their traditional roles while also delving into a new atmosphere Space Jam Logowas a tricky thing for Nike Air Jordans to capture; however, it was done tastefully. Space Jam was the perfect classic to mix into this brand because they relate on so many levels, and this means that they have an overlapping fan base.  Not only are fans getting to see the old characters that they love so much, but they are getting to see them interact with and support one of their favorite brands.  And quite possibly, this commercial reached out to a new niche audience of Space Jam fans, or any classic cartoon movie. Air Jordans knew who they were working to reach with this commercial, and I think they did a pretty good job doing so.  I mean, who doesn't like to be hit with a bit of nostalgia while scrolling through your newsfeed or maybe even flipping channels?  Watch the commercial below.
Lastly we have Arby's.  If you ask almost anyone, they could probably describe to you what Arby's commercials are like.  It's simplistic with full focus on the sandwiches and is narrated by a very burly and booming voice.  For some, they love these commercials and don't mind that they tend to all be the almost the same, but for millennials?  This just isn't going to cut it.  So, Arby's did something a little different this time around with their newly inspired "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" commercial.  Now yes, this commercial keeps consistent with the others by having the same overall visual theme as well as the same narrarator's booming voice, but this time... he's singing. Arby's has taken the classic and oh so loved "Fresh Prince ofArby's Philly Sandwich Bel Air" theme song and revamped it to highlight their new Philly sandwich.  Arby's saw the ties between the Philly sandwich and Will Smith's character, who is from Philly, and they ran with it.  Did it work? There seem to be some mixed views towards this commercial.  Some don't like that Arby's revamped such a classic song to talk about their sandwiches, while others find it pretty humerous.  Even though they took a new route for this commercial, it was smart for Arby's to keep an overall consistent aesthetic to avoid confusing their viewers.  Arby's knows that millennials are the generation to try and capture so that they can continue to broaden their reach across all demographics.  They are attempting to attract more millennials who love the "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" by sparking that sense of nostalgia. To see what it's all about, check out the commercial below.
I do not know whether these companies achieved their goal of attracting and converting millennials through these ads, but I do know that these commercials are likely to make a lasting impression.  Some believe all press is good press, and some don't, but even if you were to hate each one of these attempts at nostalgia, you probably still talked to your friends about it, just like they wanted you to.  As a millennial myself, I love being drawn back into my childhood through these classics, and for now, companies are smart to take advantage of millennials' obsession with nostalgia.
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Topics: Brand Marketing

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