How To Make Nostalgic Ads (A Practical Approach To Nostalgic Advertising)

how to make nostalgic ads
“Nostalgia is a powerful feeling; it can drown out anything!”
 Terrence Malick

Good old days hmm! Time that was great, as Terrence Malick said in the above profound words, No wonder it’s a strong feeling, filled with bittersweet memories from the past. Imagine connecting your brand with your target market nostalgia (past) and using this feeling to the benefit of your brand, that is to increase brand value, brand recognition, brand awareness, sales, using it as tool to attract customers. Because people love nostalgia! Well if you don't agree, read further!

Right, But Does it Work ?

Yes it does! There are couple of good reasons that will surely help you understand and realize its great value in marketing (esp. in advertising). Nostalgia has been pointed out as "the best" persuasive tool or tactic in various business and trade publications (1)

Another reason is, we all yearn for  past, we miss, remember and love certain things (people, place, things etc) from the past, right ? So why not use these feelings to the benefit of your brand? To make your target market notice your brand, Like I said nostalgia has been identified as the best persuasive tool.

As nostalgia is about feelings, not ordinary feelings, but really strong feelings, and as we know (probably not most of you but its confirmed via research!) that people decide about things, take decisions emotionally (feelings). In other words according to that research every decision humans take is based solely on emotions.

Well don’t believe me, check this recent research, where renowned Neuroscientist and Social Thinker Antonio Damisio conducted a research on people having certain part of their brain completely damaged (part that is responsible for emotions) while having other part intact, part that is responsible for rational thinking.

And as a result they couldn’t take any decision about anything, rather the subjects were giving up reasons upon reasons for one thing or another (because of having only rational part intact) when asked to decide between two different things. 

In a nutshell they couldn't even decide between cold drink and tea!

Now you know some solid facts so let's move to the how part!

Okay Tell Me How ?!, How to Use Nostalgia in Ads ? 

It's easy!
But let’s first understand types of nostalgia, basically there are two major types of nostalgia (2)

1.      Personal Nostalgia
Nostalgia that is caused by personally remembered past.

2.      Historical/Communal Nostalgia
Nostalgia that is related to a time before one was born.

You can develop nostalgic ads on these two types; using both of these types in your ads or any single type you prefer, read this post on How to Make Video Ads to learn how to make video ads and to use nostalgia in it.


But before that you have to look into your target market past, you have to do ample research, research (qualitative primarily) like for instance:

  • Like what do they (target market) miss, feels nostalgic about (majority of them).
  • Like what comes to their mind when reference like “Good old days” is given.
  • Like what cause those feelings, is it a particular music ? special events ? movies ? family members ? Games they use to play ? Places they used to go… other specific things they used to do so on and so forth.


And if you don’t know how to do that or you can’t afford to conduct such a thorough research then  I would recommend you doing a relatively easy and far less expensive mini research in terms of historical nostalgia by identifying sources, causes of historical nostalgia for your target market (like by carrying out surveys, interviews etc from people around us or certain group of people (target market) feels nostalgic about, its easy, beside that there are always substantial clues) and then developing your ads on it.

Though make sure your brand is blended in it in such a way, that nostalgia becomes part of the brand, brand becomes part of the nostalgia, so that your brand represent those feelings, so much so that your target market can associate with it, remember when it comes to nostalgia, get that “personal attachment” with the brand, feel that warmth, joy, yearning, affection!

Now down below there are some examples of nostalgic print ads by present day brands, hope you guys would like it :). Read this post on How to Make Creative Print Ads to make some nostalgic print ads with some creativity.

Pespsi nostalgic advertisement

kiss fm 97.7 nostalgic ad

coca cola nostalgic advertisement
Not a print ad though, thought might include it for its nostalgic packaging

twitter nostalgic ad by easy marketing a2z

facebook nostalgic advertisement

Related Posts

Over to you guys, share your mind, lets discuss the good old days in terms of present day marketing!

And here is a really sentimental video ad by Kodak related to Nostalgia, a must watch, here Mad Men: The Kodak Carousel shared by Dan O'Shea Thank you Dan!

One more thing, don't forget to subscribe!

1.      Naughton, Keith, and Bill Vlasic (1998), "The Nostalgia Boom," Business Week (March 23), 58-64.
2.      Stern, Barbara (1992), "Historical and Personal Nostalgia in Advertising Text: The Fin de Si?cle Effect," Journal of Ad-vertising, 21 (4), 11-22.

About Publisher Arshad Amin

Certified SEO Professional, Small Business, Start-up, Marketing Expert with ton's of practical, actionable ideas, insights to share, Proud Founder and Owner of and

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