Unlocking Nostalgia As Marketing Tool

October 27, 2015

There’s something magical about seeing your childhood musician again in concert. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, or maybe they’re just that good.

Nostalgia is a universal sentiment, but it’s triggered differently for every person at different stages in life. Sounds, smells, sights, and sites all have a way of triggering nostalgia. It’s engraved in old photos, your hometown, in music. It pops out at us sometimes unexpectedly.

My nostalgia moment hit me last night at the Andrew McMahon concert at First Avenue. “Dark Blue” had me jumping and singing along.

dark blue

Photo Credit: my lovely cousin and partner in crime, Lauren Maccoux-Kizaur.

I remember when McMahon used to close out with that song. Now he opened with it. Today’s rendition of “The Resolution” had me choked up.

on piano

Music has a way of telling a story of your life. The music you consume (or write!) at different points in your life is woven into your personal history.

Music tells a story, just as the best marketing and communications tell a story.

ad nostalgia collage

Consumers buy into a purpose, an emotion, an experience in the future (FOMO) or to relive one in the past (nostalgia). Your story also includes advertising and marketing — probably a good amount, in fact.

We may be at different points in our lives, but the music and advertising both have ways of “speaking” in a way that words may not express. The secret is firing a universal nostalgia trigger. These can be pretty universal in a concert venue, but it’s a bit harder to do in the real world. Perhaps that’s the challenge as marketers, but some of the results of that struggle have become cultural constants. And that’s a testament to the power of nostalgia.