The crackle of popcorn… the immersive surround sound… the trailers that always seem better than the film you’ve just paid to watch – who doesn’t enjoy a night out at the cinema? Though, if you ask me, the big ticket summer flicks of 2016 were somewhat lacklustre. Wannabe blockbusters such as Suicide Squad generated jaw-droppingly bad reviews (a meagre 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, if you’re asking) whilst Batman v Superman crashed and burned amidst the flames of a negative critical reception too.
However, whether or not they spelled success at the box office, one of the things I did notice about the most-hyped movies of the season was that they all seemed a trifle… familiar. Of course, Suicide Squad brought back The Joker, the villain we all love to hate, whilst Batman v Superman pitted two of the most notorious superheroes in history against each other in a sort of gladiatorial battle for supremacy. But then there was the feminist reboot of Ghostbusters, the return of Jason Bourne, the resurgence of Independence Day… I swear I’ve seen this lot somewhere before.
The thing is, inspiring a little dèjà-vu can go a long way in the world of content marketing. Nostalgia sells because we all have a certain fondness for the comfortingly familiar debris of our misbegotten youth – be it the games we played, the comics we read or the movies we watched. Even the adverts we remember singing along to as kids can trigger an unexpected emotional response. And if there’s one thing a content marketer wants to do with their audience, it’s make them feel something. Because feeling something means they will want to share something – and thanks to the power of social media, they can bond over nostalgic memories with networks totalling millions.
There is, of course, a name for this strategy. Nostalgia marketing has gained traction as an effective content marketing trend over recent years due to the fact it proves particularly popular with everyone’s favourite demographic – the millennials.
But what sort of tactics can your business employ to create nostalgic content that brings all the millennials to the yard?
Forbes reckons that the most successful campaigns have to be rooted in authenticity. In order to achieve this and tap into those old but gold moments in time, brands need to pay close attention to what’s hot and what’s not in pop culture. Keep your eyes on those #throwback hashtags on social media and tune in to what’s trending and what people are reminiscing about. People love a good bonding session about their favourite retro experiences, so give them content that makes them want to connect. Take something old and bring it back, with a twist.
A report in Psychology Today suggests that feeling nostalgic makes people feel more positive and optimistic about the future. During times of uncertainty (think presidential elections or post-Brexit), it can seem like things won’t get better. Put a positive spin on your nostalgic content and consider the timing of your campaign if you want to get your audience romanticising about the good old days of yore and get them feeling good. Because feeling good about your content is likely to translate to feeling good about your brand. Nobody wants a depressing blast from the past. We’ve got enough of that in the real world, thank you very much.
It appears that 2016 has very much been the year of nostalgic marketing what with the frenzy surrounding Pokémon Go, the fever surrounding the new Harry Potter musical and the 80s sci-fi TV series, Stranger Things. And there’s no reason why your business shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon.
If you can get it right and invoke those warm and fuzzy feelings in your audience on a regular basis, your strategy could run and run. After all, this is a world where Fast and Furious 8 is out next spring.
If you need some help kicking your content into the next gear, give M2 Bespoke a call on 01225 720099.Ben Hollom
October 28, 2016