‘Good old days’: The power and pull of nostalgia in marketing

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

Do you embrace brands that make you feel connected to your roots and hark back to simpler, perhaps happier, times?

If you answered ‘yes’, then you are not alone. Researchers and marketers have long known that leveraging feelings of nostalgia, sentiment and fond memories in consumers has many benefits – such as loosening their purse strings and fostering brand loyalty. 


It’s for this reason that big brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mattel and Cadbury’s have, in the recent past, rolled out nostalgic marketing campaigns.  


The visceral human response to memories and past connections is why soft-drinks maker Coca-Cola was able to run a global marketing campaign in 2015 celebrating the 100th anniversary of its iconic glass bottle.  


As then global marketing chief, Marcos de Quinto, told Campaign UK at the time: “Since its creation in 1915, the Coca-Cola bottle has achieved iconic status as a symbol of refreshment and uplift[ment], and it remains an important asset for our business today.”


Arch-competitor Pepsi has recognised the same pull of nostalgia. In 2023, it unveiled a new logo which takes inspiration from its 1990s design, amid a surging nostalgia for the era, thanks to Gen Z.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


At the time, PepsiCo’s Chief Design Officer, Mauro Porcini, told CNN that’s because most people, when asked to draw the logo from memory, still produce something like the design used from 1987-1997. 


“We couldn’t ignore that kind of insight,” he said. “Instead of rejecting it, we decided to embrace it.” 


Nostalgia in Africa 


In developing markets like Africa and Asia, marketing strategies that tap into feelings of nostalgia certainly hold promise, with the 2023 ‘Global Trends in Marketing and Advertising: The Enduring Appeal of Nostalgia’ study by Ipsos noting that “feelings of nostalgia are highest in Asia and Africa”. 


Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya feature strongly among the countries surveyed, with Morocco in North Africa appearing further down the list.  


According to Mac Mabidilala, Ipsos Strategy3 Regional Head for Sub-Saharan Africa, and Ibitayo Salami, Country Manager for Ipsos in Nigeria: “Nostalgia is a very human reaction to a world that is undergoing as much change and uncertainty as we’re experiencing. It is, however, always dangerous to extrapolate findings from one country to another – especially in Africa where there are some similarities between countries, but also very wide differences.” 


You will find this story, and much more, in Issue 1 2024 of Strategic Marketing for Africa – the voice of African marketing and the official publication of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC).  


Read it online or download it here. A print edition of the magazine is also available. 

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.