The past 12 months have been a tumultuous, dare-we-say, interesting year, but it’s also been a time when our favorite brands have made a comeback, and our nostalgic young hearts are here for it. 

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It’s like comfort food, or a warm blanket that takes us to a simpler time. It’s no surprise that we have sought out that comfort given all of the challenges that the pandemic has thrown our way.  

A simple scent, a few musical notes, a line from a movie, or a familiar taste drive us to embrace the memories of our childhood.  Studies indicate that most consumers view the past with rose-tinted glasses, so a blast from the past triggers positive feelings and a sense of security that helps us process the lack of certainty and loss of control that has touched us all.  Further, the common feelings that we feel towards brands, toys, and experiences of the past creates a feeling of connectedness and bonding with others over a shared commonality, easing feelings of isolation or loneliness.  The relatability of nostalgia transcends generations; while you may have fond memories of your Tamagotchi, your parents certainly recall your obsession, and while your heart may flutter when you hear a certain song, your younger siblings can’t forget hearing that CD or record blasting from the basement.

Social media has helped us to warmly embrace nostalgia, re-introducing us to old-school images, moments and experiences – BlockBuster being amongst the most fondly adored brands, and Fleetwod Mac now being added to our playlists. More personally, Facebook reminds us of what we were doing just a couple of years ago, and Spotify gives us the soundtrack to our year.

Brand-related nostalgia graces the brand with a feel-good positioning and consumers are prepared to spend on things that help re-create the feelings they felt back then.  The value of that emotional connection allows brands to make a comeback that will create fond memories with the next generation.  Better yet, it’s an opportunity for brands to foster collaborations and drive innovation to create excitement and reflect the ‘now’.

The Original Koosh®, popularized by Rosie O’Donnell in the 90s,  has made a comeback with an epic new lineup of products and a collaboration with super stars of this generation, Dude Perfect!   Neopets entered many of our lives at a time when Myspace was popular and is now creating excitement with a mobile-first platform and collectable PRIDE merch that sells out in days.  And Spirograph® was in all of our homes, and now our kids are designing on the Spirograph Animator bringing designs to life with the magic of light and motion.  How’s that for 21st century art? 

If the 20-year rule hints that what’s popular now will be popular 20 years later – what do you think we’ll be writing about in the future?

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