Nostalgic Ads Evoke Holiday Memories

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Think you’ve seen that holiday commercial before? That’s because you have – maybe even as long ago as the 1980s. In a move to touch the nostalgic hearts of consumers this holiday season, businesses like Toys R Us are recycling the old in order to captivate younger audiences and remind their parents of times past.

David Allan, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, says vintage campaigns are tactical in the wake of a shaky economy. “This Christmas the hope is that the consumer can be awakened from a long winter's nap to a time when life was simpler, easier, more affordable,” he says.

By reintroducing two commercials that feature their familiar jingle and Geoffrey the Giraffe, Toys 'R' Us is situated to evoke childhood memories in parents and grandparents, the targeted market for children’s retail. Allan notes that concentrating on the parents’ own holiday experiences can increase the desire to share those experiences with their children – while at the same time creating the sense that there are better times ahead.

“It takes adults back to better financial times when there was less fear in spending,” he says. “When there was more faith in the future.”

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