Silly marketers, tricks are for kids
By STUART ELLIOTT
IF music hath charm to soothe the savage breast, what can calm worried consumers during an economic crisis? Madison Avenue believes one answer is nostalgia.
As the recession continues taking its toll, marketers are trying to tap into fond memories to help sell what few products shoppers are still buying. The time-machine tactics are primarily evoking four decades — the 1950s through the 1980s.
For instance, on April 20 a beverage unit of PepsiCo will begin an eight-week campaign for “throwback” versions of two soft drinks, Pepsi-Cola and Mountain Dew. The packages and formulas, along with advertising and promotions, will evoke the ’60s and ’70s.
The hope is that warm, fuzzy feelings about the past will help make people feel better about the present and future.
“It’s about yearning for the past, a simpler time, even though the ’60s and ’70s were not simple,” said Frank Cooper, chief marketing officer for sparkling beverages at the Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages unit of PepsiCo.
“They just seem simple, looking back,” he added.
The merchants of nostalgia also include other blue-chip names like Coca-Cola, General Mills, McDonald’s, MillerCoors, Target and Unilever. The companies are using marketing tactics including:
¶Reviving vintage slogans and jingles as well as package designs. Diet Coke is being promoted again with “Just for the taste of it,” the theme used by the Coca-Cola Company to introduce the soda in 1982. Five Big G cereals from General Mills, among them Cheerios and Trix, were sold in throwback boxes in Target stores, accompanied by a T-shirt offer (cerealwear.com).
And as part of “a back-to-our-roots campaign” for Nationwide insurance to be introduced this month, Eric Hargrove, a company spokesman in Columbus, Ohio, said on Monday, there would be a prominent role for the venerable “Nationwide is on your side” jingle. READ