Nostalgia Marketing


Fans worldwide are thirsty for a taste of ’90s nostalgia, according to Coca-Cola’s announcement of the revival of Surge, a citrus-flavour soda that was discontinued 12 years ago. The company reintroduced the drink at the behest of The Surge Movement, an online fan base that had spent years lobbying for its return. The group raised nearly $4,000 to purchase a billboard near Coca-Cola’s headquarters, created numerous YouTube videos and bombarded the company’s consumer hotline, among other efforts. The Surge Movement’s Facebook page now boasts more than 150,000 likes. Calvin Klein has also brought back ’90s hits. The apparel brand collaborated with luxury fashion store
MyTheresa.com to reissue items from the collection that launched Kate Moss’ modelling career in 1994. The new denim pieces and sweats were crafted from the same fabrics the company used 20 years ago. Five of the 12 reissued styles, priced at about $100 to $375 each, sold out within roughly two months.

It seems that Millennials are pining for their salad days of the ’90s, and brands are tapping into that nostalgia to connect with them. And why not? Millennials represent a quarter of the U.S. population, more than $200 billion in annual buying power and $500 billion in indirect spending which can be defined as their impact on other generations. Moreover, they are the savviest generation of consumers ever seen. They influence people older than them, process lots of information from lots of sources, and they account for 21 to 25 percent of consumer discretionary purchases, which is only going to increase as they get more earning power.

For brands, particularly the iconic ones, marketing to Millennials poses a challenge because the group’s purchasing, communication and personal-interaction habits and preferences differ significantly from those of earlier generations. The techniques that appealed to Baby Boomers and Generation Xs may not resonate with the enigmatic Millennial generation, which prefers brands that are authentic, that create a sense of purpose and that are wildly differentiated. At the core, brands are trying to, in many cases, create engagement with consumers, and nostalgia marketing is an engagement hook for them. It doesn’t hurt that nostalgia has proved effective at loosening consumers’ grips on their wallets. A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people who were asked to think about the past were willing to pay more for products than those who were asked to think about new or future memories. Another experiment proved that there is an increased willingness to give more money to others after recalling a nostalgic event.

While brands like Coca-Cola and Calvin Klein are taking Millennials back by relaunching ’90s faves, others are using nostalgia to demonstrate how they’ve changed. One of the most popular examples is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer video, dubbed “Child of the 90s.” It begins, “You might not remember us, but we met in the ’90s,” then reminds Millennial viewers of happier days, with references to childhood favourites like virtual pets and the tabletop game Hungry Hungry Hippos.


Adapted from www.entrepreneur.com


Exercise 1

Find the words or expressions in the text which mean the following:


1) bringing sth back to life : __________
2) to buy sth: __________
3) clothing: __________
4) more or less: __________
5) people born between 1980 and 2005: __________
6) sb’s younger years: __________
7) to create pressure on sb some authority: __________
8) yearly: __________
9) well-informed: ___________
10)symbolic: __________
11)sth that sb normally or usually does: __________
12)to be attractive to sb: __________


Exercise 2

Match the expressions from the two columns into logical collocations:


1) to discontinue               of sb
2) at the behest                 out
3) a fan                               information
4) to launch                       sb’s career
5) to sell                             a product
6) to pine                           purchases
7) to tap                             base
8) buying                           into sth
9) to process                     for sth
10)discretionary              power


Exercise 3

Provide English equivalents of these expressions:


1) stanowić wyzwanie
2) istotnie
3) przemawiać do kogoś
4) haczyk
5) wyrazić chęć zrobienia czegoś
6) przypomnieć sobie o czymś
7) ponowne wprowadzenie na rynek
8) popularny produkt
9) okrzyknięty
12)wydatki pośrednie


Grammar corner…

In the text you found a fragment about a product that WAS DISCONTINUED. Do you know by whom? Well, in this case by Coca-Cola, but you might as well not care about it, because in PASSIVE VOICE you’re not interested in WHO did something, but rather in the fact that IT HAPPENED. If your car WAS BROKEN INTO, you don’t need to add by a burglar, because it’s obvious that it wasn’t broken into by an
opera singer:-) Cars ARE BURGLED by burglars, opera IS SUNG by opera singers, and patients ARE OPERATED ON by surgeons. All of these are examples of passive voice.


Exercise 4



1) I … (FIRE) from my job for stealing company money.
2) I … (GIVE) a raise for delivering an important project on schedule.
3) It … (DECIDE) that Turbo chewing gum would be reintroduced.
4) The management … (FINALLY CONVINCE) that not paying out a dividend was a bad idea from HR point of view.
5) The news … (JUST ANNOUNCED) and we’re all in the state of shock.
6) The goods we … (SEND) are damaged, so we’d like to ask for a replacement.
7) You are … (REQUIRE) to wear protective apparel if you enter the factory floor.
8) It … (REQUEST) that the manager should be replaced.
9) The biggest advantage of nostalgia marketing is that the people to whom the goods … (SELL) already want to buy them.
10)I … (TELL) that you’d like to work at our accounting department.




revival of sth – ożywienie czegoś
apparel – ubiór
roughly – około, orientacyjnie
Millennials – urodzeni między 1980 a 2005 r.
sb’s salad days – szczenięce lata
savvy – dobrze poinformowany, zorientowany
a habit – zwyczaj
to discontinue a product – zakończyć produkcję czegoś
at the behest of sb – za sprawą kogoś
to sell out – wyprzedać się
to pine for sth – tęsknić za czymś
to tap into sth – wykorzystać potencjał czegoś
discretionary purchases – zakupy dobrowolne
to pose a challenge – stanowić wyzwanie
significantly – istotnie
to recall sth – przypomnieć sobie o czymś
to relaunch a product – ponownie wprowadzić produkt na rynek
a fav – popularny produkt
dubbed – okrzyknięty
indirect spending – wydatki pośrednie
to boast sth – szczycić się
to loosen sb’s grip on their wallet – dobrać się komuś do portfela
a burglar – włamywacz
to deliver on schedule – zakończyć z powodzeniem i zgodnie z harmonogramem
to resonate with sb – przemawiać do kogoś



download lesson (pdf)


Ex. 1
1) revival of sth
2) to purchase sth
3) apparel
4) roughly
5) Millennials
6) sb’s salad years
7) to lobby for sth
8) annual
9) savvy
11)a habit
12)to appeal to sb

Ex. 2
1) to discontinue a product
2) at the behest of sb
3) a fan base
4) to launch sb’s career
5) to sell out
6) to pine for sth
7) to tap into sth
8) buying power
9) to process information
10)discretionary purchases

Ex. 3
1) to pose a challenge
2) significantly
3) to resonate with sb
4) a hook
5) to be willing to do sth
6) to recall sth
7) relaunching a product
8) a fav
9) dubbed
12) indirect spending

Ex. 4
1) … was fired …
2) … was given …
3) … was decided …
4) … was finally convinced …
5) … has just been announced …
6) … were sent …
7) … are required …
8) … was requested …
9) … are sold …
10)… was told …