#ThrowBack to the Future

In just three short months, LucasFilms will release the next instalment of the rebooted Star Wars series: Rogue One, following on from last year’s box-office breaking, The Force Awakens. Between Pokémon’s revival, the upcoming revamp of ‘Gilmore Girls’ and the incredible success of the ‘80s inspired ‘Stranger Things’ - The Youth Lab hopped in its Millennium Falcon and went back to the future to ask: what is making young people so nostalgic and how can brands get involved?

The Posts of Selfies Past:

Why are younger audiences obsessed with days, years and products gone by? Well, their nostalgia takes two different forms: the cultural and the social. The first is cultural nostalgia: a longing for the creature comforts of past, the familiar; not all that surprising in a time of financial, political and social turmoil. Think Star Wars, vinyls and Pokémon. The second is social nostalgia; for a generation who have grown up documenting their lives online, in many ways, these ‘posts of selfies past’ have reusable value. These are the #ThrowbackThursdays and #FlashbackFridays. They can be reposted, reliked, reshared and reappraised all over again.

Cultural Nostalgia: Remembering the Razr:

In May of this year, Motorola released a throwback video featuring their iconic Razr phone. Before the iPhone (a mere ten years ago), before the Blackberry - Flip phones were the ultimate tech gadget. The internet collectively lost their mind asking: Are Razrs making a comeback?! Sadly not, but the undeniable demand for it landed articles in every major news publication as the video stole the heart of its young audience, who harked back, longing for these beloved, simpler and flippier times of their youth.

Electric Ireland is years ahead of the pack when it comes to tapping into this nostalgiamania, having brought ‘80s Power Ballads (and Bonnie Tyler) to Electric Picnic in 2014. So successful was this trip down memory lane, that it was followed, last year, with a ‘90s Power Party. Electric Ireland is set to go back in time again for next week’s Electric Picnic with its Throwback Party.

According to Edel McCarthy, group sponsorship and activation's manager at ESB and Electric Ireland:

“The Throwback territory allows brands to connect with their audiences on a more emotional level, with social media facilitating this because nostalgia led content can be particularly compelling and share worthy. Young audiences relate these throwbacks to moments from their own youth, which really helps humanise a brand’s offering. Technology, year on year, is innovating in a way that allows brands to get involved with this culture in a relevant and current way, as Electric Ireland is doing this week with its Facebook Live game show ticket giveaway.”

Social Nostalgia: Memories, Like the Corners of my Newsfeed...

Between Facebook memories reminding us of the passing of each year, and Snapchat memories reminding us of the passing of each day - it seems young audiences are, now, no longer just nostalgic for yesteryear, but even for yesterday. These days, nostalgia seems to be decreasingly measured by any amount of time, but more by how much has changed in a short space of it. Social media only decreases the amount of time required for nostalgic sentiment from years, to mere hours. #Throwback posts have a whopper 62 million posts on Instagram, varying in time from years ago to the night before.

Brand Take Outs: So, how can brands get involved?

Look to the Future, while giving a shout out to the past: For 2015’s year of ‘Back to The Future’, Toyota partnered with the original cast members to create its ‘powered by the future’ campaign.

Embrace your audience’s throwbacks: In 2014, Expedia did a ‘Thrown Back Thursday’ campaign, where it sent selected families who shared their throwbacks, back to holiday destinations to retake old photos. How can your brand encourage your audience to share their memories in a way that builds positive association to your brand?

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