Who hasn’t used the phrases “in the good old days” or “in my time”? Our emotions and fondness for the past and the familiar are often very strong even if we embrace the new. It is a characteristic of humans to appreciate both innovation while cultivating an interest or even a passion for objects, characters or themes of the past. Nostalgia, an emotion linked to memory, is sometimes a source of comfort but also sometimes of regret.
In the world of communications and public relations, waves of nostalgia often remind us how much less immediate everything used to be! Many tasks had to be accomplished manually rather than using automatic systems. No more workbooks filled with journal clippings – databases now offer ultrafast and accurate results. We all also remember the good old “fax.” The fax machine has become obsolete with the advent of texts and e-mail, except for some players in the health system who continue to use it.
Birthdays in pop culture and marketing
The new year of 2023 promises to be one full of nostalgia because it will be rich in commemorations of all kinds, especially in the world of popular culture and marketing.
The 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company
One of the big anniversaries of 2023 will be the centennial of the Walt Disney Company. Created by Walt Disney with his brother Roy, the company began in 1923 as Disney Brothers Studios. With Mickey Mouse recognized as Disney’s emblem around the world, the company has thrilled the hearts of young and old over the years. Today it is a veritable empire combining film, television, tourist attractions, merchandise and more.
The celebrations begin in January and an anniversary of this magnitude represents a perfect opportunity for several brands to join the festivities by making affiliated products. Think of LEGO, which has planned to market new figurines for the centenary of Disney.
The colorful Toucan Sam, the favorite mascot of Kellogg’s Froot Loops cereal, will celebrate his 60th birthday. The bird has appeared on the packaging of this sugary cereal since 1963 and this celebration focus on bringing back fond memories several generations of children have from the breakfasts of their youth.
Nostalgia sometimes pushes fans of a brand to oppose the transformation of the logo, mascot or other key aspect of a brand. In this case, the modernization of Toucan Sam in 2020 was strongly criticized by the public. Kellogg’s wanted to simplify the character in order to make it more visually appealing to today’s target audience, children accustomed to animated characters.
Faced with the outcry created by Toucan Sam’s modification, the exotic bird was retouched again in 2021, two years before its big birthday. It’s as if adults, finding the former mascot more friendly and consistent with their memories, were saying, “Don’t touch my childhood memory!”
Nostalgia also takes hold of the world of treats! In 2023, Ferrero’s SweeTarts candies will also be 60 years old. Formerly produced by the American Willy Wonka Candy Company, these treats were initially available in five flavours (cherry, orange, grape, lime and lemon). Today there are several variations of these semi-sweet sweets half-surettes. Nerds candies will be in their 40th year of existence in 2023. Also now under the Ferrero banner, these small sweet and multicolored crystals have spawned many derivatives since.
Nostalgia in cinema
As for Universal Brand Development, 2023 will be an opportunity to remember several blockbusters that have gone down in history. Indeed, in addition to the movie AND The Extra-Terrestrial which will be 40 years old, the media company also has plans for the 30th anniversary of Jurassic Park, the 35th anniversary of The Big Lebowski and the 40th anniversary of Scarface.
Among younger audiences, this nostalgia gets converted into interest in things “vintage”. Your children may never have seen the original of Jurassic Park in theatres, but perhaps they have succumbed to toys bearing the effigy of the original characters and dinosaurs!
Special editions for the Corvette
Even in the automotive world, 2023 will feature some important nostalgia! The famous Chevrolet Corvette will celebrate its 70th anniversary and a dapper new version has been in production since the summer of 2022. This is a special edition that will be available from January 2023 in two models and in different colours. No other car model still in production has blown out so many candles!
And closer to home...
In Quebec, nostalgia regularly influences the television world with the return of certain soap operas or children’s programs that were once popular (think, in particular, of the success of the second version of Passe-Partout). From artists announcing an anniversary tour to iconic milestones for Canadian history, there is no shortage of opportunities to relive the past in a different way.
In 2023, Jean-Paul Riopelle’s 100th birthday will be marked through special programming, TV programs and other activities. The famous artist and prominent figure of the Refus Global still inspires artists and art lovers today.
And in 2023, the Zellers big-box store will rise from the ashes... among other things in the form of an online transactional site! It can also be found in various Hudson’s Bay Company businesses across Canada. Some nostalgic for the store “where the lowest price is law” even hope for the return of the Zellers restaurant!
You’ve probably already noticed the tendency of some companies to use nostalgia as a marketing strategy. Does this approach work with you?