May 16, 2011

Brands attempt to lure Gen X with nostalgia

Posted by: in North America

Twentieth anniversaries tend to mark the beginning of the nostalgia phase, and a number of defining pop culture totems for Generation X (ages 34-46) are hitting that landmark this year: Lollapalooza, Nirvana’s Nevermind, Sonic the Hedgehog and Slacker. That indie movie by Richard Linklater is now getting a 23-director remake, due out in late summer. Meanwhile, MTV is bringing back both 120 Minutes (which premiered in ’86) and mid-’90s phenomenon Beavis and Butt-Head. And touchGrove has created throwback iPad games based on the old Mattel handheld sports games that used LED lights as “players.” Even the ’80s-era kids from Sweet Valley High are back (and adults) in a new novel.

The big question before marketers is whether a nostalgia tactic will connect with the notoriously cynical Gen X. Golla Bags, a Swedish maker of accessory bags and covers, is taking a decidedly Benetton-like approach to its marketing materials, and Tootsie has been running its ’70s-era Owl/Tootsie Pop commercial steadily on Disney’s XD channel (targeted at tween boys and their Gen X parents). Fox co-opted Coca-Cola’s iconic Mean Joe Green back-and-forth from 1979 for a promo during this year’s Super Bowl, while Coke itself has been using its ’70s-era “I’d like to teach the world to sing” jingle for an ad in Europe. Pepsi, meanwhile, has used ’70s-era styling to promote its throwback beverages.

Check out our study on Gen X women from two years ago: As the nostalgia engine revs up, many of our points on this generation—including their worries about finances for themselves, their children and their parents, and concerns about mortality and aging—are worth remembering.

Photo  Credit: nickstone333

1 Response to "Brands attempt to lure Gen X with nostalgia"

1 | Jessica

October 14th, 2011 at 12:24 pm

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I think the 90s also hold a great amount of nostalgia for Millennials, as well.

As younger Millennials have been among the hardest hit by faltering economies, we’re seeing the TV, music and movies of their youth resurge in pop culture as this group harkens back to a simpler more innocent time in their lives. Back by popular internet demand, Nickelodeon aired a late night block of early 90s programming including Doug, Kenan and Kel , All That, and Clarissa Explains It All this summer. Additionally, some beloved 90s classics are getting a second shot at the big screen. We’ve already seen The Lion King hit theaters in 3D and 1997s Titanic will be resurrected with the 3D treatment this spring. 1993s then state of the art Jurassic Park is being digitally re-mastered and re-released in theaters this fall.

Next year, a number of projects will pay tribute to the not so long ago 1990s. ABC has a comedy project in the works based on the premise of a 1990s all-girl band—composed of “four Gwen Stefani [characters]”—who attempt to reunite after two decades of feuding. There are also three forthcoming films paying tribute to Jeff Buckley, Greetings from Tim Buckley (slated for release in 2012) and A Pure Drop along with a third that’s still unnamed. And the cast of 1999s American Pie will get together for their high school reunion in next year’s aptly titled American Reunion.

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