How Nostalgia Marketing Drives Social Media Engagements

Maria Domenica Baquilod

Author & Editor

Social Media Team Lead

Published on: Jan 27, 2022 Updated on: May 16, 2024

There is no denying the effect COVID has on the present day. It makes us long for simpler times. Like when we could be with friends and family without social distancing. Or have events without worrying about spreading a virus.

As a result, social media feeds have become time capsules. Everywhere you look, people go online and post fond memories of days that have gone by. They are nostalgic; all to cope and find respite from the present day's worries.

But our Facebook friends aren't the only ones who have been nostalgic, but brands too. More and more, leading brands are exploring what we call "nostalgia marketing." Posting content reminiscent of the past, everywhere online, especially on social media.

So why would a social media marketing agency or your brand capitalize on old memories? What's the benefit of pitching into #ThrowbackThursday posts for your business?

The answer? The nostalgia effect.

The nostalgia effect and its power to influence

Understanding the nostalgia effect, you'll learn that it isn't just good for fuzzy feelings. It's also good for meeting a your digital marketing and business goals.

In fact, findings from studies fuel some of the successful nostalgic marketing campaigns. And these are:

  1. Nostalgia makes people put less value on saving money, and;

  2. it fosters positive feelings towards, and trust in your brand.

This is achieved by creating that connection between your brand and the warm, fond, and happy memories of your audiences. And it achieves something very few other marketing campaigns do; tapping into your customer's emotions. It makes the customer feel something, taking you back to happier times, giving you a feeling of serenity, and stability without being too intrusive.

Nostalgic media allows you to tap into the customer’s memories while selling your products and services and providing them with a feeling of comfort. It’s a win-win for both parties. 

If you’re now wanting to inject nostalgia into your campaigns, we give you five tips and examples below.

What is nostalgia marketing?

Nostalgia marketing is a specific approach that aims to make your audiences look back on cherished times that they subconsciously long for. It is used by brands to evoke positive emotions through recalling fond memories and referencing the past in creative executions. 

But why nostalgia of all things? Sure, we get happy feelings when we reminisce. But what good is that to marketers and advertisers?

Ways you can harness the power of nostalgia in marketing

In these times of uncertainty, nostalgia marketing is a breath of fresh air for your customers. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach because nostalgia marketing mostly targets a specific demographic and this can sometimes leave other age groups feeling left out. 

This is why you need to find the ideal audience for your content and utilize data-backed executions to accomplish your objectives.

So how can you achieve this? These five methods will help you excite, inspire, and influence your customers with a marketing strategy they soon won’t forget.

1. Research and listen to your customers

At this point, you should have an established picture of who your target audience is. Now, it’s time to do some digging into what they yearn for the most.

To do this, you can make use of social listening – a technique that allows you to find out what your customers are talking about online. What conversations are they having? What are they reminiscing about?

Through this process, you can identify memories your customers cherish and resonate positively with. Use whatever information you gather in your nostalgia marketing campaign.  Understanding buyer personas will help your marketing team create stories the customers will engage with and will no doubt win you massive points with your customers.

2. Be timely and accurate

The marketing industry is cutthroat so bringing your A-game and timeliness is of the essence. 

Capitalize on recent trends but don’t choose timeliness over the accuracy, as you can lose sight of what your customers want and your brand identity. It is imperative that your nostalgia marketing strategy is in line with your target demographic.

Music is a great way to make your customers feel nostalgic. Research has shown that listening to certain songs evokes feelings of nostalgia. But you have to do it right. If you wish to appeal to millennials, revisit the '90s or early 2000s. Don’t hire Justin Bieber for an ad that takes viewers back to the early 90s, go for Nirvana or Radiohead. And for Gen X, nothing beats the 70s. 

Note: This ties in with research, so you must know your audience. There is no point arriving first to the fight unequipped for battle. 

3. A new take on something old 

Take inspiration from within your company and what you have done in the past that has brought success to your brand. Reuse old strategies but don’t simply rehash them, incorporate new trends and lingo. 

This is a great way to reach your existing customers while appealing to an entirely new demographic. You can also use this as an opportunity to poke at some outdated ideologies your brand may have upheld while promoting recent and new ideas and products. 

3. Keep your method of delivery fresh

The best channel to fuel and deliver your campaign is through social media. But you must utilize the social media your target audience spends their most time on to achieve maximum results. 

For example, Millennials and Gen X spend most of their time on Facebook, the social medium they are more familiar with. But you can also use Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, as this can be a reliable way to reach across the proverbial pond and speak to Gen Z. 

Also, don’t forget to use relevant hashtags such as #ThrowbackThursdays or #FlashbackFridays. Doing this will increase the visibility of your posts.

ADDITIONAL READING: TikTok Marketing Tips to Boost Your Social Media Presence

4. Evoke emotions

Revisit your customers' childhoods and prepubescent years to find trends or events that will make them feel nostalgic emotions of joy and glee. The whole point of nostalgia marketing is to evoke memories and feelings within your customers that make them want to purchase your products or engage with your posts on social media. A 1994 research on consumer behaviour was carried out by Morris Holbrook and Robert Schindler found that consumers were more likely to interact with movies and music from their youth. 

Remember to be creative with your campaigns. You may not be licensed to use media like soundtracks, characters but you can be creative by using fonts and incorporating other elements into your campaigns.

Examples of nostalgia marketing campaigns

So many brands have succeeded in using the power of nostalgia in marketing, and there are many lessons to be learned. A brand that listens is a brand that can effectively craft an effective nostalgia marketing campaign. 

You can craft a great marketing campaign by using some of the techniques listed above and taking a hint or two from these successful campaigns below.


Coca-Cola has a long and storied history of nostalgic marketing, it can be argued that nobody does it better than they do. From their vintage Coca-Cola print ads and posters all over social media and on your screens to reintroducing throwback bottles from the early 90s. In 2014, a social media petition started by fans urged Coke to bring back Surge, a discontinued flavor from the 90s.

Coca-Cola obliged but used this to their advantage, by releasing a limited number of Surges exclusively on Amazon. 

This no doubt led to more desire for the drink before it was ultimately released nationwide. This is a perfect example of listening to the fans and giving them what they want. Not only did Coca-Cola satisfy their old customers, re-releasing Surge gave them an opportunity to introduce the flavor to new customers all the while, maintaining brand loyalty.


If there is one thing Jollibee does very well, besides their fried chicken, it’s their marketing campaigns. Jollibee knows what the customer likes and they never fail to deliver.

The 'Kwentong Jollibee: Almusal' (Breakfast) ad reminds Jollibee customers of the importance of family, something we all need during these times. The ad starts off by showing an aged couple as they perform their morning routine of walking through the neighbourhood to get their Jollibee Almusal. Once they order and sit down to eat, the camera pans out and shows the old man sitting with his daughter instead as she says, “I miss Mom too Dad”. Everyone has lost someone before and it’s this relatability that allowed Jollibee to reach millions of people with one ad. 

This ad showcased that no matter who you are or where you’re from, we all have someone we miss dearly. 

Nintendo Switch

Next, we have Nintendo and their masterful attempt and success at tugging at the heartstrings of viewers. 

The ‘Two Brothers’ Nintendo ad reminds audiences worldwide why and how they started playing video games: Not alone, together. It reminded everyone what it was like being a child, by telling the story of two brothers who loved playing Nintendo (the console) together as kids, and grew apart as they aged. Then, they would, later on, reconnect as adults over a game played on the Nintendo Switch, online of course. 

This is something many can relate to as the whole world has found itself stuck behind screens and keyboards all day. 

But did it work? You bet your top dollar it did. If nothing, it set the internet abuzz and had everyone talking, with some using it as an opportunity to reach out to old and forgotten family and friends.


Apple has always been a trendsetter when it comes to creating ads and crafting marketing strategies that convert. 

Apple though seems to mostly target the new generation with its ads by using high-profile trendy celebrities when they look to release a new product. But in 2016, they went in a different direction.

Rather than target only Zoomers, they went further by making sure Gen X and Millennials got in on the fun. How? They used the Cookie Monster in their ad for promoting the new iteration of the iPhone, the iPhone 6. This was a brilliant way for the brand to remind their customers, mostly Gen X and Millennials, of when they were little and bring back memories of watching a favourite character on screen. It was also a way for the company to show that regardless of how old you are, the iPhone is for everyone. 

So did this work? Yes, it did. Other factors may have influenced this but the iPhone 6 has remained Apple’s highest-selling phone of all time, the Cookie Monster definitely had a role to play in that. 

Key takeaways

Marketing is all about the next best thing and looking forward. But sometimes, it is wise to take a step back to go forward. 

Nostalgic marketing is subtle, sweet, and reminds your customers of good times gone by. Through it, you can strengthen your meaningful connections with them and their core memories. In turn, you can expect not just continued, but even more fervent support for your brand, so long as you remember to: 

  • Maintain relevance by keeping in touch with current circumstances. An understanding of the current situation will lead you to create relevant solutions for your customers. Appealing to the past is one thing, but how well you connect and deliver your benefit – all while arousing emotions of glee and joy – is your make or break moment.

  • Understand what your customers want. Your brand and business will be nowhere without your customers.  Make sure you understand what memories your customers cherish, doing this is critical to your nostalgia marketing's effectiveness. Because without accurate insights, your marketing campaigns won't connect with them.

  • It pays to inject emotion in your campaigns.. We live in a world where consumerism is more than purchasing what you need. That’s why it’s important to look beyond demographics and into emotions. Because, more often than not, the feelings evoked by the things around us is what compels people to act.

Your brand can create the next viral campaign, generate traffic, and increase revenue. But in crafting an effective nostalgia marketing campaign it can sometimes be nigh impossible to hit the right note. If you need help creating one for your brand, please reach out through our Facebook, X, or LinkedIn accounts. Let's chat and see how we can help you.

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