Foreword Online

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As Millennials Get Nostalgic, So Do Brands

Posted by admin on 3/12/14 11:00 PM
Topics: college retail, MBS Monthly Marketing Plans

The following excerpt is from an article written by Lauren Katz and published on Read Katz's account on one of the latest retail trends below then check out her full article for further examples of brands taking a retro approach to retail.

Ranging from roughly 18 to 30 years old, Millennials are generally optimistic about their futures, but they're also approaching the age where they start to become nostalgic. Digital technology has been an integral factor for the majority of their lives, and it continues to advance at rapid rates. In addition to the speedy tempo of technological upswing, Millennials have faced many challenges posed by today's economy. These are just a couple of reasons why Millennials are beginning to long for "the good old days" of their childhood.

Which means now is the perfect time for brands to chime in and remind Millennials of the good times. This can be achieved through a term dubbed, nostalgia marketing, or marketing that is aimed at evoking a feeling of nostalgia in a target market. In times of instability or uncertainty, we tend to look back at times that were happier and more simple. For Millennials, these happy and simple times are more than likely to be spawned by anything related to the decade of their youth: the 90s.

Nostalgia marketing can pose a number of perks. It can cause people to reminisce on simpler times, it can create an opportunity for generational inside jokes, and it can make people feel like they are kids all over again. Many brands have already caught on to the trend. By positioning their products or services in a nostalgic context, companies link themselves with happier times in the minds of Millennial consumers. Below are three examples of brands that have implemented this strategy.

Urban Outfitters and Lisa Frank

Urban Outfitters embraced nostalgic marketing by bringing back iconic Lisa Frank products that were once popular with young girls in the 90s. In 2012, Urban Outfitters began selling limited edition Lisa Frank stickers, folders, and stationary. It even launched a Lisa Frank Contest that asked social media followers to use the hashtag, #UOxLisaFrank and create their own Lisa Frank-inspired doodle.


Nickelodeon is notorious for shows geared toward children and teenagers. The network created a programming block during TeenNick called, "The 90s are All That." Each night, viewers of the Millennial age range could tune in to shows that were once the emblem of their childhood. The program earned the network a 50 percent ratings spike among viewers 18-35 years old.

Whether it's creating childhood memories or generational inside jokes, there are many ways brands can pair their products and services with the good old days of the Millennial generation. By finding the best qualities of the original product and then tweaking them to fit today's mold, brands can not only bring back good times, but can also enhance Millennials' brand association.

Ready to go retro at your store? We've got you covered. We created a 90's Night Marketing Plan that is packed with fun ways to appeal to students' sense of nostalgia. Take a look!

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