AP

Nostalgia sells; nostalgia with a twist can be a smash

Feb 3, 2023, 11:20 AM | Updated: 11:25 am

This photo provided by Just Born Quality Confections shows Dr. Pepper Peeps. Nostalgia sells and marketers know it, having used the brands of yesteryear fully aware that consumers will willingly open their wallets to scratch that sentimental itch. That winning formula is being tweaked increasingly to create hybrids, however, products that possess the same heartfelt recognition, with a twist. (Just Born Quality Confections via AP)

(Just Born Quality Confections via AP)

Nostalgia sells and marketers know it, having used the brands of yesteryear fully aware that consumers will open their wallets to scratch that sentimental itch.

Those oldies but goodies keep popping up today, but increasingly with a twist. Companies continue to re-release snacks, entertainment and technology that millions of people grew up with, but tweaking them to create hybrids that possess the same heartfelt recognition, with a modern flavor.

Companies have recognized that they can win over consumers nostalgic for the past and, at the same time, win new generations of consumers with a new spin.

“Younger consumers, like those in Gen Z or younger Millennials, had no direct exposure to many of the fads and trends the first time around so they have a different relationship to them, filtered through more current perspectives,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData. “That necessitates a modern spin in order for products to resonate. The younger consumer is often more concerned with curiosity and experience-seeking rather than with simple nostalgia.”

The fintech company Klarna said ‘vintage tech’ sales have rocketed in recent years, some unchanged and some with significant updates. Sales for wired headphones increased by more than 300% in February 2022 compared with the previous year. Flip phones sales were up by more than 80% in August, it said.

Here are a few successful reboots.

HAPPY MEALS …. FOR EVERYONE

Remember when that Happy Meal landed at the table and you didn’t know whether to grab for a chicken McNugget or a toy first? For a brief period last year, you could relive that bounty of riches. This week, McDonald’s reported that strong quarterly profits were partially driven by by sales of Happy Meals, these ones for adults with toys made by the streetwear brand Cactus Plant Flea Market. The meals came in a totally redesigned box in Cactus Plant Flea Market’s signature style alongside McD’s iconic Golden Arches. It included either a Big Mac or 10-piece chicken McNuggets, along with fries, a drink and one of four collectible figurines – Grimace, the Hamburglar, Birdie or Cactus Buddy. Half of the toys included in meals were gone in the first four days of the promotion.

PEAK PEEP

Celebrating 70 years in business in 2024, the maker of Peeps brought something new to the Easter basket this year by partnering with other classic brands and doubling down on the nostalgia. Just Born Quality Confections has continually updated the classic Easter treat, but this year teamed up with two brands that have been around for decades to create Dr. Pepper Peeps and Mike and Ike Peeps. “Inspiration from earlier ages is nothing new but the nostalgic imprint on this year’s trends is remarkable,” said Agus Panzoni, a trend researcher, speaking about sales in 2022. “Against the backdrop of a changing world, it seems people have been escaping to more comfortable territories as the antidote to everyday life.”

FLIP THE CALENDAR, FLIP YOUR PHONE

After vanishing for a decade flip phones are back. Believe it or not, there are teenagers opting out of some technology circles, tired of the glow from their cell phones. A quick search of Amazon or manufacturers websites show numerous models available, but the technology has also been updated in a big way, like Samsung’s Galaxy Z flip phone. The company shipped nearly 10 million foldable smartphones worldwide in 2021, an industry increase of more than 300% from 2020, according to blog post from Dr. TM Roh, head of Samsung’s MX business. Of all the phones sold that year by Samsung, 70% were flip phones.

CLASSIC CHARACTERS, WITH A TWIST

Nostalgia is not a new phenomenon in entertainment and numerous classics have been dusted off for new generations. But movies like “Top Gun: Maverick” and shows such as “Cobra Kai,” based off of “The Karate Kid” movie franchise and “Wednesday,” based on “The Addams Family” television show and films, have begun to resonate heavily. “Top Gun: Maverick” was surprise nominee for best adapted screenplay for the 95th Academy Awards. “Wednesday,” which debuted on Netflix in November and centers around a teenage Wednesday Addams making her way at a new school and solving mysteries, broke Nielsen streaming records and was renewed for a second season. Netflix announced in January that it gained 7.7 million subscribers during the October-December period. “Even those who remember products from the past often want their slice of nostalgia alongside something new and innovative, so that means reinterpreting and reinventing slightly,” Saunders said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

2 days ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant served indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

2 days ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

3 days ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

3 days ago

audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents blocked...

Associated Press

GOP advances Garland contempt charges after White House exerts executive privilege over Biden audio

The move to release audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents was blocked on Thursday by the White House.

4 days ago

audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents blocked...

Sponsored Content by

The move to release audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents was blocked on Thursday by the White House.

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Nostalgia sells; nostalgia with a twist can be a smash