80s Ads Make a Comeback as Marketers Capitalize on Nostalgia

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What do serif fonts and simple graphics have to do with the 80’s? They were hallmarks of editorial design during a decade etched in cultural history for great music, movies, iconic TV shows, and styles that went big on everything.

Now marketers are capitalizing on a growing consumer trend toward nostalgia, giving a nod to the decade when “life’s a beach” was a popular mantra and standards of living were improving. Aiming to reconnect consumers with feelings associated during this prosperous era, more advertisers are hoping that looking back will resonate with today’s customer.

Said author, Katie Hicks, in an article published in Marketing Brew, the resurgence of the 80’s ad designs could be “part of the broader nostalgia marketing trend that’s happening as people cope with the issues of today.”

Interestingly enough, millennials and Gen Z’ers seem to be embracing the nostalgia trend with equal enthusiasm. Marty Bell is one of the founders of Vacation, a sunscreen brand that bets heavily on the nostalgia theme in look and marketing efforts. The gamble has so far paid off, as Vacation demonstrated a whopping 500% year over year growth in monthly DTC revenue, according to the company.

Says Bell, “the look is resonating among all age groups, but it’s cool for Gen Z because it’s so far from how they grew up,” referring to the absence of cell phones or today’s technology. Bell is known as the guy who “makes things go viral” and the creator of the online radio station, Poolsuite, where he also chose a distinctively old-school vibe.

Erifili Gounari is a zoomer and founder of the Gen Z social media agency known as The Z Link. She recently took to TikTok to share her love for the 80s editorial look. “I got so many comments from people saying how the designs themselves make them want to buy products and check them out.” She believes a large part of its popularity comes from the sense of nostalgia that’s currently in favor among both Gen Z and millennials, even if they weren’t around during the 80’s.

Will looking back be the key to moving forward? Read more here.

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