Nostalgia sells. It’s undeniable. Study after study has verified it. But if you’re still not sure about this, just follow the money spent on nostalgia marketing and take a look at last year’s Super Bowl. The big game serves as the most expensive backdrop ever created for advertisers. Companies line up to spend millions to produce and air spots during the broadcast, so it’s REALLY important that those ads deliver in tangible ways. They need to sell. And for those of us who watched the game, we couldn’t help but notice a common theme surfacing again and again. Nostalgia was everywhere; represented by the ‘throwback’ uniforms on the field, to the halftime show entertainment, to those dozens of ads that walked us all back in time, helping us feel warmer and fuzzier about the products they were selling. The world’s largest consumer brands know that nostalgia sells, but why?
The Science Behind Those Feelings
Scientists have studied the effects of nostalgia for decades. It has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It can relieve pain which improves moods and makes people behave more generously to others. One study found that on cold days, or in cold rooms, people subject to nostalgic cues literally felt warmer.
And a brain imaging study in 2016 found that nostalgic musical cues increased the production of that ‘happy’ hormone dopamine; improving mood and feelings of social connectedness along with an increase in the willingness to spend. This is literally known as the ‘nostalgia effect’.
A recent study at Washington State University found that consumers who have seen nostalgic ads rated them AND the brand they were advertising more favorably than ads that were not nostalgic.
Associating brand messaging with positive references from the 90’s, 80’s and even the 70’s humanizes those brands and forges meaningful connections for consumers between the past and the present.
Baby Boomers are, almost by definition, inclined to respond positively to nostalgia marketing, through ‘personal nostalgia’ as they recall pleasant events experienced in their personal past. Millennials are the current bullseye for companies looking to utilize nostalgia as an advertising focus. Having fewer personal experiences than the Boomer and Gen X demos, Millennials and Gen Z generation are impacted by ‘historical nostalgia’; positive affinities to historic events, even though these groups were not around to experience them personally.
Nostalgia bridges the gap to connect generations. These groups are integral to the success of any lottery, and a marketing strategy that includes appropriate nostalgic content that reaches out to each is certain to pay off.
Nostalgia in Lottery Marketing
Lottery games that include a strong nostalgic theme clearly cut through the clutter at retail. Lotteries have consistently and strategically introduced a variety of games based on characters, board or arcade games, movies and television shows from decades past to help evoke that ‘feel good’ response that leads to trial. The emotional connection a nostalgic game evokes will result in the core player spending a bit more because the game makes them ‘feel good’ about it. Casual or even non-players are given a new and powerful reason to try a classic branded game because of the connection they feel to the brand itself. “We already know nostalgia marketing has a positive impact on consumer spending, and lottery purchases are no exception,” said Paul Guziel, CEO at Alchemy3. “Regular inclusion of nostalgic content within a lottery’s marketing mix will have a lasting impact on players.”
The benefits of including nostalgic content reach beyond an obvious increase in trial. In addition to feeling good about the featured nostalgic brand, and purchasing more tickets, players will identify the LOTTERY with the good feelings that a nostalgic experience evokes, and their perception of the Lottery, your products and your beneficiaries will be enhanced.
And the benefits of nostalgic content can often spread even beyond consumer spend and corporate affinity to deliver public relations opportunities across virtually every media vertical. Media outlets realize the impact of nostalgia on their own platforms, and social media influencers will be quick to pick up on these unique offerings.
Tapping into positive, familiar concepts from the past is an outstanding way to build trust and improve your bottom line, and no one knows nostalgia like the team at Alchemy3. Nostalgia. It’s like, totally tubular.