May 16, 2011
Brands attempt to lure Gen X with nostalgia
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