Ever notice how we miss things from our past, so much so that we go out of our way to play with old toys or watch old movies. Today Connor and Brittany dive into the reasons behind the powerful force called “nostalgia.”
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Connor: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Connor.
Connor: You know, I’ve noticed that a lot of things I loved as a child are kind of coming back into popularity and, you know, they keep making old movies like especially Disney movies now, they’re all like, live-action, you know, and they’re kind of redoing them all. It honestly feels like Disney has run out of her original ideas and they either remake old stories or buy other people’s, you know, like Marvel and stuff. Yeah. They’re just buying other stuff. but there’s, you know, shows like Full House that were on in the eighties and nineties that are being rebooted. I watched Religiously Saved By the Bell. Yeah. when I was growing up, and now apparently they’ve redone that. I’ve not seen it.
Brittany: I’ve heard it’s good.
Connor: Oh, interesting. Yeah. And so yeah, now Full House, there’s Fuller House, I guess is what it’s called. Also Great. Yeah. Haven’t seen that. I guess I’ll have to go back and watch some of these. And so, you know, they’re bringing these things back. There’s so much demand for people to relive, their past and remember those kinds of early days fondly. And you know, there’s even new shows, this one’s probably better for only the older kids and adults, but, stranger Things, which has been very popular. it’s not based on it, you know, it’s not recreating anything like Full House or Saved by the Bell, but it’s appealing to that same era of like the eighties and nineties. it’s set in that time. And so all the things in that show, you know, like the even simple little things like everyone wearing their socks up to like the middle of their cast.
Brittany: Or malls, like hanging out in malls,
Connor: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. The big poofy curly hair and just big colors like it for those of us who grew up, back then, you know, watching these shows gives us all the feels. Right. All the memories, and it’s just fun to kind of have that connection. But it’s been curious to me because, you know, we all seem to love things that remind us of when we were kids. And there’s a word for this, the word, that we’re gonna talk about today is nostalgia. And interestingly, the word actually means pain from an old wound. Which sounds pretty gloomy to me. I, never really think of it that way. But I think a better way to think about it is that you know, our youth is usually a really great time in our life that we look back to with fondness and you know, I’ll share a very brief story here. I grew up in San Diego, my whole childhood was there in California. And my dad would always make this meal, called Beanie Weenies. And it was, what are those beans even called? Like, I think they call ’em pork and beans or something like that.
Brittany: Pork and beans. Yeah.
Connor: Yeah, you can buy ’em in a can. And so he’d, get a can of that or a can or two and, throw in some brown sugar, some ketchup, and cut up some hot dogs. And he’d, warm that up. And whenever dad was in charge, like mom was away. My mom was never a good cook by her own admission anyways, but whenever she would at least try when it was just dad, he would just cook up some Beanie Weenies. Okay. So, fast forward with me a little bit. just last week we were all together for dinner. All I have, three brothers. So there’s four boys. and my parents and so we’re all gathered at my parent’s house. They’ve all moved up to Utah in recent years as well. So we’re all close, which is great. We’re all there. And my dad made Beanie Weenies. I haven’t, I haven’t had this keep in mind in like, you know, how old am I now? So 20 years probably. And so we’re sitting down for this meal and the nostalgia, like talking about pain from an old wound, right? Yeah. Like the old wound was having to eat this junk or dinner and so this pain. But no, it was fantastic. The memories that flooded in, right? The feelings that I had just eating that stupid little meal because of its connection to my youth. And it unlocked all these memories I remembered that I had never really thought of, you know since I was a kid. And so it’s that enjoyment, that pleasure of remembering the good times from the past, I think is why we see so many of these nostalgic things happening today.
Brittany: Yeah. And it’s actually an excellent tool for marketing. And we’ve talked a lot about entrepreneurship and marketing and branding is very important. and it’s actually something I’ve written about, so I will link that to the show notes. But as you said, humans seem to always long for the good old days. And we actually talked about this in an episode that like everyone’s searching for what these good old days are. But to quote, one of my favorite authors, Willa Cather, she wrote in this book called My Antonia. So, this is Latin, and I’ll tell you what it means in English, Optima dies prima fugit, and it’s Latin four, the best days in life are the first to Flee. And that really hits on this nostalgia theme. so let’s talk about how this is used in marketing, though. I’ve noticed that a lot of toys I played with as a kid are coming back. I feel like they’re worse now. They’re like, try to add like a modern twist and I’m just like, not happy about it, but whatever. So, Polly Pocket, for example, was one of my favorite toys. And I was just hanging out with my niece in Utah a couple of months ago, and she had a Polly Pocket. I’m like, wait a second, what is this? And all these little girls are playing with it, but it’s not just toys or media. We’ve talked about this. Also, when I was in a junior high surge, the soda called Surge was like, this was like a cool thing cuz it had caffeine in it. And so it was like, oh if you drink Surge, you’re gonna be so pumped up. And this was before energy drinks, remember? So like Red Bull didn’t exist. And this trend only lasted I think like a few years and eventually Surge was discontinued. And I’m in this convenience store, I think it was last year, and I saw a can of Surge sitting next to Sprite and Coke. And I’m like, oh my goodness. Like it’s back. And even Pepsi resurrected, for a little bit Crystal Pepsi, which was huge in the 1990s. And the only thing that made it cool is it was clear Pepsi. That was It was like, there was nothing special about it.
Connor: I’ve seen other brands do this too, right? Like, like General Mills cereal. they kind of jumped on this bandwagon by introducing, or I guess reintroducing retro packaging of its most popular cereals. Like, you know, Cheerios Tricks, lucky Charms, and just like, you know, stranger Things and Fuller House. These, you know, reboots were popular with customers who are eager to pay money just for a short trip back to their youths. I mean, it can even be things like Mountain Dew. They had a throwback version.
Brittany: Yeah, they did. It was delicious, right?
Connor: Yeah. And, then they stop it, which is a great lesson on scarcity, right? that marketing is really good that way. It’s like limited time. We talked about this with Girl Scout companies, right? They create artificial scarcity and you know, this trip down memory lane, it doesn’t just make customers feel good, it pays off, I think for the companies who do it as well, which is why we see so much of it.
Brittany: That’s right. And so many of us don’t drink alcohol. I know Connor and I don’t, but there is a marketing lesson to be learned from a beer company that I wanna share, cuz I think it’s pretty genius. So in 1975, Miller Light, which is a beer brand, did the impossible. Well actually it was just the Miller Company did the impossible when they founded a diet beer. But you have to realize something, back in those days, diets were not associated with men. Like, now men are into health and nutrition. Back then it was like women dieted, men were men. So they thought they had come up with this great product, but, the beer market was dominated by men. And men thought the dieting was like a feminine thing. They didn’t wanna be associated with it at all. So this was the first of its kind. And then eventually it actually, other brands started jumping on this bandwagon because people were actually buying it and they began making their own light beers. And as we’ve learned, we’ve talked about this before, you know, with more options available, it wasn’t long until Miller lost or Miller Light like lost their edge in that marketplace, right? Cause there was just so many. So they began to see really steep declines in sales. And in 2008, Miller’s Light and Coors Light joined forces and they became Miller Coors. So Miller basically had to face the fact that it wasn’t even its own brands top selling beer anymore. They had to like go to someone else to even stay alive. But in 2014, something really, really exciting and extraordinary happened, and this is where nostalgia comes into play. So Miller Light decided to bring back it’s original packaging, right from the 19, what did I say? 1960s, 1970s. So they were selling the beer in this retro-style white can. and their new, I think had been blue. So they started this limited-time scarcity. We’re gonna go back to this throat back, you know? And, this call to the past may have only been meant for short-term production, but it threw the beer a lifeline what it needed It most sales began to just skyrocket. In fact, the growth was so strong that the company began to use the original white logo on all Miller Light products, including the glass bottles. Cause they had glass and they had like the soda canned looking things, and even coasters. So in the second half of 2014, after they brought back their old packaging, Miller Light sold 43 million more cans than it did in 2013. And Miller Light’s market share increased from 6.2% to 7.5 in a single year. So Fortune Magazine, which is like kind of the big thing in the business world, said it was an increase of, of it actually ended up being like 20%. So to basically put that in perspective, they went from like dying and needing to join another company to just skyrocketing and sales all because they took a trip down memory lane.
Connor: Well, I mean, yeah, we see this with serial companies, we see it with landscaping, we see it with apparel like clothing. We see it on TV shows. You know, so it, whatever, segment of the market, whatever industry you’re in, you know, it’s a clear tactic that can win. There’s actually research that backs this up, showing that one of the top trends in things, products like toys, or even food, is nostalgia. And in this research, they found that it was highly likely that someone would be more likely to buy something when they’re feeling nostalgic. And so it’s a really good way to get someone to buy something or do something, right? But, it’s about a lot more than just marketing. There’s something about nostalgia that our brains kind of craves. In some respects, Britney, I feel like it’s kind of like a time machine, right? It lets us go back to the simpler time, right? When life didn’t have as much stress, we weren’t, as worried. And of course for the kids listening, right? You’re kind of in that prime time right now, And so.
Brittany: Enjoy it.
Connor: Yeah. And so the adults who are kinda like nodding their head and understanding this, but you kids, like you guys are creating so many memories right now that later in life you’re going to pay more for things that help bring back those memories that you have now. The food that you’re eating now, the music you’re listening to, like Brittany, just the other day I was teaching my kids the concept of a one-hit-wonder.
Brittany: Ah, yeah.
Connor: And, let me prompt you. We haven’t talked about this before at all. So I’m asking you here on the fly, what song comes to mind when you think of one hit wonder name? Any song?
Brittany: I actually think of the movie, that thing you do, cuz it’s all about a one-hit-wonder. So that’s what comes to my mind.
Connor: Okay? All right, cool. For me, it was MMMBOP by Hanson.
Brittany: Ah, okay I was never a Hanson fan, but yes, I remember.
Connor: Oh, me neither. But it exploded on the radar, right?
Brittany: And It makes no sense.
Connor: No, it makes no sense. But it was huge. And then it fizzled. And so I was teaching my kids. So I pulled up this song on my phone and played it. And, this nostalgia just hit me like a wave. I started remembering all these memories of when I was listening to that song just in a random car ride with a bunch of friends and everyone was just like singing along to play stupid. Like, no, one likes this song, but we’re, it’s kinda like that Rebecca Black Friday song. Do you remember that one years ago? Friday? Fri like, no one liked it, but everyone kinda sang along for a few weeks. And so anyways, the nostalgia was so you kids listening right now, the music you’re listening to, right? The food you’re eating, like later in life, there’s gonna be this very powerful force that wants to draw you back, to, you know, how you feel right now. And these memories and capturing like that piece of your past, is just kind of really important for a lot of us adults and here in the market, right? Like, we place value on those things. We say, you know, it’s valuable to me to pay a little bit more for a can of soda that has a design like the one when I grew up, just cuz it makes me feel happy.
Brittany: You know, you’ve mentioned before that kids should take advantage of their youth when it comes to experimenting with entrepreneurship cuz they’re so little risk. But I’d like to add that in addition to that soak up all this time you have to be kids, right? Because it’s such a short time before you’re worried about paying taxes and your rent. And it’s like, wait a second. Life used to be awesome. What happens?
Connor: We became adults. Well, nostalgia’s really important. So you kids, you’re kind of at the cusp of it. You adults know exactly what we’re talking about. And if nothing else, we get some fun little products that we can buy or, you know, a can of bini weenies with your family and we all suffer somehow. But, really important, you know, not like we say just for marketing, but just for life. And maybe the broader life lesson is, you know, enjoying those times because we’re gonna create memories that we’re gonna like, to revisit later in life. so, fun, little topic. guys, as always, show notes are at Tuttletwins.com/podcast. we enjoy, what we’re doing here. We thank you guys for listening, and until next time, Brittany, we’ll talk to you later.
Brittany: Talk to you later.