How Nostalgia Marketing Is Affecting Event Trends
Associations and other groups are working overtime to capture the attention of Generation Y (also known as millennials), which experts define as including those born anywhere from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. One ramification of this is the rise of “nostalgia marketing.” Calvin Klein, for example, has launched a new capsule collection that features replicas of apparel it made in the 1990s. In addition, a Vimeo video heralding the 2015 lineup for the Fun Fun Fun Festival features ‘90s TV personality Bill Nye the Science Guy. Josh Murray, creative director of Extraordinary Events in Los Angeles, remarked, “The great thing about nostalgia is that it can target any generation. It’s safer than picking a demographic. If you choose, say, the ‘80s [as a general theme], that stirs nostalgia in nearly everyone alive, whether they lived it or not.” Nostalgic memories may be especially potent for millennials as it is a generation that has come through some very dark times with the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Great Recession and so forth. Scott Miles, senior vice president of strategy and ideation for Mosaic, said, “Anything that allows them to have a brighter experience with a brand is the goal.”

Consequently, more and more organizations are marketing events that take millennials back to a brighter, simpler time. For some, this may mean booking musical acts that were big a decade or more ago for an event. Others are using nostalgic games to get people to bond at events. Groupon hosted an annual summer outing for its staffers that featured food, drinks and games such as inflatable Twister and an updated version of foosball. Constellation Brands has tapped into nostalgia at its events in several different ways, most notably hosting an “I Heart the ‘90s” Valentine’s Day party with such celebrity attendees as Debbie Gibson and Mario Lopez. Event planners love that nostalgic moments can also translate readily into social media shares. Looking ahead, event and marketing professionals do not see the nostalgia trend going away any time soon. (07/16/15) Berg, Jenny
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