Crystal Pepsi, Legos, and the nostalgia factor

Nostalgia is an innovative way to rekindle interest in brands - except when it isn't.
Written by David Worthington, Contributor


Nostalgia can be a powerful concept for brands
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Nostalgia often wins the Internet, and some brands are betting that recirculating past hits in their marketing will also be a winning formula for boosting their sales.

BuzzFeed rose to prominence with its lists and quizzes; many have been focused on past decades. Children of the 80’s and 90’s can destroy their workplace productivity by spending hours browsing through childhood memories. Vintage board games, totally 90’s rewinds, and extinct foods generate big traffic.

There’s a social component also: people discover nostalgic content that’s shared by peers of their age groups on Facebook and other networks. That’s how I learned yesterday that Pepsi was launching its early 90’s misfit product – Crystal Pepsi – except that it wasn’t. A 2013 article got caught up in the social zeitgeist.

It’s easy to believe that Pepsi might do it. Facebook is trying to rekindle the romance of the printed word, Hulk Hogan and Sergeant Slaughter headlined a Super Bowl ad, RoboCop will be back in the theaters soon, Legos are hotter than ever, and Billy Ray Cyrus has updated his signature hit “Achy Breaky Heart.” Remember when Twinkie disappeared and then reappeared? The consumer uproar was marketing gold.

There might even be a Clinton back in the White House in 2016, as in the 90s. People love brands.

“Nostalgia's a fun way to engage a target audience because it evokes powerful emotions and longing but there are some things that should be left in the past. No one's saying, ‘let's bring back dial-up internet,’” said Temple University Fox School of Business teaching fellow Mary Conran.

“Pepsi was not successful in its original launch of Clear Pepsi (it was the butt of jokes in it's core market) - why bring back an unsuccessful version of a brand?”

Nostalgia might produce steady Web traffic and even enable toy manufacturers to reinvigorate long dormant products, but revisiting things that (both literally and figuratively) left a bad taste in consumers’ mouths isn’t novel thinking.

(image credit: Wikipedia)

Crystal Pepsi: the memory is sweeter than the taste:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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