Nostalgia is a funny thing in that the longer we’re away from something, the stronger our connection becomes. As a marketing tool, this idea has been capitalised on in recent years. From movies to TV and video games, we want to look at the growing part that nostalgia plays in modern business marketing.
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The Psychology of Nostalgia
As a chemical process taking part in our brain, nostalgia is a feeling primarily held within the limbic system. This is a major area controlling our mood which contains, among other important components, the hippocampus. Playing a significant part in memory, the correct stimulus of the hippocampus can associate former feelings of happiness with our current attitude. Interestingly, it is often the sense of smell which forms the most powerful nostalgic connection but given the difficultly of marketing through a sense of smell, businesses tend to take a different route.
Movies and TV
The most obvious type of nostalgic connection in most of our entertainment lives come from movies and TV. The big way this has taken form over the last few years is in the increasing adoption of classic remakes and reboots. In 2020 alone, remakes of older films like Mulan, Dolittle, Fantasy Island, and Death on the Nile are trying their best to relate us to the loves of our youths.
In television, continuing series such as Lost in Space, MacGyver, Party of Five, and even Thunderbirds are Go take a similar tack. As with films, these might not have had the trajectory to succeed if they launched in a vacuum. Starting with the continued momentum of their predecessors, it gives them an appreciable advantage over many of their non-nostalgic contemporaries.
Video and Casino Gaming
Unlike its passive counterparts, interactive entertainment has far more potential concerns when addressing the concept of nostalgia. The base idea is the same, to draw attention via positive memories of existing properties, but giving form in a modern way that inspires nostalgia can be more difficult.
Bingo is a game that we all know but somewhat fell out of favour due to changing tastes amongst other things. However, in the last decade, it has entered an electronic renaissance of sorts due to the game embracing new technology. With many providers offering chatrooms and mobile play, player numbers have only gone up due to increased accessibility.
Naturally, the bingo scene became, and still is, quite competitive with new providers appearing frequently, so finding the best new bingo sites is tough due to the wealth of options available. Review sites are often a go-to for players looking for guidance, helping them find the most suitable bingo sites, many of which offer various bonuses. Just as important is an overall website design and welcome bonuses like deposit matches and free games. Beyond that, many providers have brought in themed variants, using franchises to provoke a sense of nostalgia in players. For example, games like Monopoly or Deal or No Deal only plays a part in the equation and use established imagery from those franchises to help promote this. This way, nostalgia is another cog in the wheel and not a place that a business hedges their bets with.
Video games, given their place in such a constantly evolving spectrum, are a trickier difficult medium to work with. Take 2020’s Battletoads, as an illustration. Originally launching back on the NES in 1991, the first Battletoads was a straight beat ’em up, notorious for its difficulty. These types of games don’t sell well today, however, necessitating a redesign that many felt went too far from the roots of the original to inspire much nostalgia at all.
Much more successful was Doom: Eternal, released in March of 2020. Despite being different from the original 1993 game, Eternal leaned heavily on the feel and monster design of its forebearers. Instead of going 1-1, it updated the feel of the original’s speed, finding nostalgia in a way that some did not think was possible.
As a subjective thing, nostalgia can be difficult to quantify, let alone capture and market. What it requires is being able to take a snapshot of an era’s zeitgeist and update it to a modern age without missing the forest for the trees. As TV, movies, and gaming have shown, this is no easy task. It requires understanding the medium, and how culture has evolved. The only thing we know for sure is that, in the grand nostalgic scheme, we’re only just getting started.