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We're Still Married to the Past

August 11, 2008  

"It is a sociological fact that when times are tough, people turn to the past—to what they know—for comfort," writes Patrick Byers in a post at the Responsible Marketing blog. "So, it should come as no surprise that recent advertising is taking us away from the present and into our cultural and advertising past."

Byers cites two examples of this nostalgic marketing trend, both of which play on products near and dear to many hearts. The first is a campaign from Volkswagen that features a 1964 Beetle called Max, who interviews celebrities like model Heidi Klum and coach Bobby Knight in a faux talk show. This clever series helps project the classic Bug's appealing personality onto its new, and otherwise unrelated, line-up.

And then there's a montage-style spot for JC Penney that plays a cover of the Simple Minds track "Don't You (Forget About Me)" as it recreates scenes from The Breakfast Club, a seminal 1985 examination of teen angst. The fluffy interpretation and casual attention to detail might annoy devoted John Hughes fans, but for most viewers it will spark warm memories of a movie that seemed to understand exactly how they felt. If JC Penney is hoping for a feelgood connection, they got it.

Your Marketing Inspiration: "Mark my words," says Byers. "We'll see more advertising reminiscent of cultural icons and campaigns from the past in the coming months."

More Inspiration:
Ted Mininni: 7 Trends Worth Watching
Alan Wolk: The Aesthetics of Viral
Paul Dunay: For Social Media, Reach Is Found in the Long Tail!


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