The Power of Nostalgia

I was reminded of the power of nostalgia recently when the heads of MMS came to my town for a conference. They brought with them a great, unique marketing tool: a View-Master with slides showcasing our company services.

unnamedWe had quite a line of people come to the table, each drawn in by the sight of the View-Masters. Even though the slides were Metaverse Mod Squad specific, 95% of the people who stopped by took one. A lot of them said to “show their kids,” but we knew the real reason (they wanted it for the sentimental value). Oh, we knew!  The toys reminded them of their childhood.

That got me thinking about some of the things from my own past. Having popcorn in the evening reminds me of staying at my grandmother’s, watching TV shows we normally never watched at home, like The Love Boat, followed by Fantasy Island, or the Columbo mysteries. If I close my eyes I can still feel the old house around me, the big living room with the old rotary phone, wooden blocks, and Coca Cola in glass bottles. Oh, the memories of a simpler time!

unnamed-2The ‘A Christmas Story’ marathon started this week, and that’s something of a tradition in itself. My friends and I still love to pronounce fragile as “fra-gee-lay” like Ralphie’s father does. I can stop in at any point of the movie and enjoy a good chuckle. The classics are classics for a reason.

I even get sucked-in by stores that sell ornaments. While I always scoffed at my sister and mother for their post-holiday ornament sales, I now find myself stopping and looking at any ornament made of wood. My grandfather used to spend hours and hours crafting and painting wooden ornaments, and those are still my favorite ones for the tree. I even almost bought a set to make recently, now that we have our own tree.

Even video game companies use nostalgia to bring back customers. The rush to make games free-to-play allows customers to rejoin games they used to play, like WoW and LOTRO (even if they don’t have current accounts). A gamer’s MMO memories may only be a few years old, but that is an eternity with games and consoles.

Is leveraging nostalgia as a brand a bad thing?  I don’t believe so. People will spend their money on something during the holidays, so why not make a purchase that transports a person to another time?  After all, the best gifts evoke strong feelings and happy memories.  Take old memories and reintroduce them – make them new all over again! Allow for a little nostalgia this holiday.  Carry in old memories, embrace them, and make new experiences combining old & new.  It’s the best of both worlds!

Michael Marcantel
Project Manager

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