< back to index

When the Future Recalls the Past

May 6, 2013

Nostalgia is an emotion that everyone can relate to as the past affects the future. It is a way to bring people together with one common theme that hits home. Advertisers understand the power of emotion and how it can consume and divert one’s thoughts. By looking back on their past, many large brands are paving their way into a brighter future.

Click here to watch “Child of the ’90s”

Microsoft Windows aimed their campaign for the new Internet Explorer towards those who grew up in the ’90s with a video filled with reminiscent things. This “Child of the ’90s” video includes many unforgettable things from floppy disks to yin-yangs to Tamagotchis. It sends viewers in a blast from the past adventure showing the original Internet Explorer transforming into the browser it is today on a Windows Surface tablet ending with the tagline “You grew up. So did we.” This gives the program a chance to reconnect with its original audience and shows how advanced it’s become in the present.

Click to watch the revival commercial for Herbal Essences Smooth Shine Hair 

Unlike Microsoft Windows, Herbal Essences took a different nostalgic route. Rather than showing the advancements made from the original products, they just brought them back to the public. With their unforgettable commercial featuring a women shouting “YES! YES! YES!” while in the shower, the products became a hit in the ’90s. By bringing back their old-school campaign with slogans stating “Now back and more irresistible than ever!” Herbal Essences shows the love for the original product rather than feeling the need to show its transformation into the present. This route of nostalgia brings back the feelings of happiness rather than frustration. The original colors, images and bottle bring back a sense of youth that triggers memories from the past.

Many brands leave their past in the past when it is their connection to the people. Similar to how certain movies or songs or that hoodie your ex-boyfriend used to wear every day has a connecting story, it is how each individual relates to the products. The connection and story behind each product and how it affected customers in the past are what inclines them to continue participating and purchasing in the future. This nostalgic tactic makes customers happy and boosts ratings for brands, making it a win-win situation for all.