Y2K is trending and so is everything retro – here’s how to use it in your marketing campaigns

According to Falcon.io’s 2022 Digital Marketing Trends Report, there’s a popular theme among brands this year, and it’s all about nostalgia.

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21st February 2022, 3 minute read

Y2K and related hashtags are trending on social platforms and it’s bringing much joy to consumers as old advertising campaigns and characters are being dug out of the archives. Perhaps because 2020 and 2021 were so tough for everyone, we’re all clinging on to happy memories.

Nostalgia has always been an important factor in marketing. Stirring emotions in your target audience is a skill that the best marketers perfect with their art of words, images and sounds – think of those famous Christmas TV adverts. Pepsi’s latest advert celebrates 50 years of the film Grease and includes images of past can designs.

While we don’t all have an internationally recognised brand like Pepsi, we can still amuse and delight customers and contacts using nostalgia in the same way, so here’s an idea for your next content planning meeting.

The Replace Base

Case Study: The Replace Base

An online retailer of mobile device repairs and replacement parts

Who is your target audience, what was important to them when they were growing up and where are they now?

We talk about personas – a lot. They are so important for defining your marketing strategy and planning your content. Even if your brand has only been established a few years, you can still use nostalgia in the context of what’s happened in your locality or your industry; how technologies, fashion and tastes have changed, and so on. For financial services brands, this might include sharing images of banks and forgotten building societies, particularly now that many bank branches have vanished from the High Street. Most Millennials will have fond memories of the toy treats they gained from saving £50 in their Building Society account, or the race to collect those famous piggy banks.

Case Study: Peer to Peer Business Lender

How we developed a unique targeting approach and improved lead volumes from direct marketing by more than 80%.

If your company has been established for a long time, share the photos you have in your archives. Laugh at the funny hairstyles, bad ties, and so on. Marvel at how much your office space has evolved, share screen shots of your old website with one of my favourite parts of the internet – Wayback Machine (you’ll be addicted once you start. Check out bbc.co.uk and amazon.co.uk) or perhaps you have some copies of old leaflets or magazine adverts that you wouldn’t dare publish now. It’s always interesting for your customers to see how your brand and business has changed for the better.

Think about what’s most pressing for your audience now. For me, it’s locking in a low interest rate on my mortgage while I still can, but in 2001, it was probably something to do with Justin Timberlake. Show your audiences that you have something in common with them, that you’ve been through the years together, and they’ll repay you with engagement and exclamations of happy memories.

This is a planning meeting all the team can enjoy, why not turn it into a lunchtime pot luck meeting too, anyone for a cheese and pineapple hedgehog and jammy Wagon Wheels?

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