Bringing back the brand

From apps like Instagram, to brands like Soap and Glory, vintage is ‘in’ and brands have jumped on this bandwagon, embracing their histories to capture new audiences, along with reengaging the old. Retailers aren’t just tapping into the past for the baby boomers, they are also busy playing on other nostalgia for all generations.

Some brands are lucky enough to have a rich history to tap into. Like Ritz, and its new packaging, conveniently launched in the run-up to Christmas. A simple design straight from the 1950s, Ritz have recaptured the essence of its brand in its new packaging, which focuses on a clean and minimalist aesthetic, away from the gradient glows and warped type from before. This timely rebrand is a tried and tested success and will spark memories on the shelves in supermarkets this Christmas, at a time when it is most important for a brand to market itself from the shelf out.

Nostalgia is certainly indicative of a wider trend as we look to another industry, Playstation’s new advertising campaign launching the brand new PS4. Following the brand from 1995 to the present day, the advert shows not just how the Playstation console has transformed in the past eighteen years, but how, bedrooms, clothes and even music tastes have changed. This is a very smart advert, which captures memories and has become a talking point with both consumers and press. This demonstrates the potential nostalgia has to be a lucrative emotion to crack.

Ritz and Playstation are not the only brands with histories to shout about though, and Kelloggs’ famously jumped back in time to the 1950s with its retro packaging to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. To mark the special event, Kellogg’s brought back old favourites such as Coco the monkey and the original Snap, Crackle and Pop with drawings dating back to when the Queen first ascended the throne. Not only did this become a talking point amongst consumers, but also drew a huge amount of media attention along which boosted sales.

Pic.: Kellogg's vintage Queen's Jubilee package, 2012
Pic.: Kellogg’s vintage Queen’s Jubilee package, 2012

Another way to grab media attention is through TV advertising and R Whites Lemonade did just that, when it brought back the infamous ‘secret lemonade drinker’, who crept onto television screens throughout the 1970s. Starring the lemonade drinker himself, this time he became the ‘secret lemonade licker’ tiptoeing in his pyjamas to promote the brand’s ice lolly range. Once again the advert tickled audiences, with the catchy ditty bringing back memories straight from the seventies.

Luxury brands often rely on the past to define their future, combining heritage and renewal, gives brands both substance and relevance. Take fashion brands, like Louis Vuitton and Gucci it is de rigeur to mine the archives for inspiration. Even Singapore airlines too has a potent icon in the air stewardess but often their ads today really feel like they are from the 70s, re-shot with modern techniques.

Whilst brands are busy cashing in on their history it is important not to underestimate the power of the human emotion of nostalgia. From bringing back old characters, to recreating popular eras, certain brands have the potential to really utilise emotions within consumers, to not only increase sales, but to further establish a personality. Products, particularly in the FMCG industry, need to stand out in an overcrowded market place. Thus playing on history and toying with consumers’ emotions acts as a unique selling point, encouraging consumers and the media to reminisce together, and tell a story about the brand that elicits desirability at the core.

About the Author

mark ringer_200

Mark Ringer is Executive Creative Director of global creative agency Anthem.

Mark started his career with a bang by winning the National Radio Copywriters’ Workshop in Australia in 1991. By the mid-nineties, while at Batey Ads in Singapore, he was rated in the top 20 creatives in Asia Pacific by Campaign Brief. In 2005 while Creative Director of FCB Melbourne, Mark was voted President of the Melbourne Advertising and Design Club. Prior to joining Anthem in September 2012 he had spent five and a half years at TBWA as Executive Creative Director in Hong Kong with Greater China and Asia Pacific responsibilities.