Nostalgia Marketing

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Nostalgia Marketing

The main purpose of this paper is to examine the existing literature and research that has been developed regarding the use of nostalgia as a marketing strategy both in its use in advertisement as well as in products that try to generate a nostalgic response in the customer. The main definitions and causes of nostalgia will be examined and the applications that nostalgia can have to modern marketers.

The use of nostalgic motives has been increasing since the early nineties from the re-introduction of the mini cooper by BMW and the launch of the New beetle by Volkswagen, to the recent resurgence of 1980´s themes like Transformers and The A – team, as well as the use of pop culture icons and old music in advertisement directed to attract customers that are especially vulnerable to appreciate them.(Holbrook, 2003)

Definition of Nostalgia

Nostalgia has been defined in a number of occasions and its definition may vary depending on the look from where it is described, in psychology and anthropology is generally described as a a positively toned evocation of a lived past (Davis 1979), but the study of nostalgia can be traced further back in time, in the seventh century it was considered a clinical condition (Stern, 1992) Nowadays nostalgia is considered to be “An emotional state in which an individual yearns for an idealized or sanitized version of an earlier time period”,(Stern, 1992) it contains both pleasant and unpleasant components, it brings a bitter sweet emotion characterized by pleasant memories of the past as well as a sense of loss and knowledge that this past is long gone and cannot be attained again.(Holak and Havlena,1992)

The recollections generated through nostalgia are those of an idealized past, the memories are filtered and modified so that the negative aspects of the past are omitted. (Havlena and Holak, 1991, Brown, 1999,Muehling and Sprott,2004) Sometimes the causes of nostalgia had been explained through socio-economic factors, long migration patterns as well as societies in turmoil had been seen as more prone to nostalgia (Brown, 1999)

Three levels of nostalgia have been described by Davis (1979)

Level one is characterized for the desire to return to the past and the belief that things were better in the the old times.

Level two is more reflexive and involves the investigation or reflection of the motives and causes that generate the nostalgic response.

Level three is analytic in nature and in it the subject interprets the nostalgic experience itself. (Davis, 1979)

Historical and personal nostalgia

There has been controversy as whether nostalgia can be generated only from recollections of a person's own life or if events from the past, before they were born can also generate this feeling. (Holbrook and Schindler,1991, Holbrook,1993)

Davis (1979) states that the experiences must be drawn from one's personal history and not from events seen in books or films, but more contemporary authors disagree, some claim that events before someone was born can generate a nostalgic response, that is why nostalgia has been separated into two categories: personal and historical.

Historical nostalgia is the representation of the past before the subject was born, is the desire to retreat to a fantasized past when things where better than the current time. It is generally displayed by almost mythological characters and exotic places.(Stern, 1992)

Personal nostalgia is the idealization of a past time in someone´s life, the memories are filtered, so that the past recollected seems better that how it actually was. (Stern, 1992, Muehling and Sprott,2004) Even though personal nostalgia can be evoked from ten to up to seventy years back, the adolescence and early adulthood seem to be more likely to generate this feelings. (Havlena and Holak, 1991, Holak and Havlena,1992)

Nostalgia in consumer behaviour

In the end of the twentieth century the recurrence of...
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