90s Nostalgia a Strong Player in Spring Ad Campaigns

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It was the days of Beanie Babies, rollerblades, and Spice Girls. Blockbuster was ubiquitous, the O.J. trial captivated the nation, and everyone prepared for whatever might happen on Y2K. 

People wore Doc Martens, watched VHS tapes, and listened to their Discman. Britney ruled teen pop, people hung out in AOL chat rooms, and fanny packs weren’t embarrassing. Friends was a weekly must-see on network television.

The 90’s is often remembered as a time of general peace and prosperity, with the fall of the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War, and the onset of the internet sparking new opportunities in entertainment, communication, and business. 

For the most part, we loved the 90’s. And marketers are banking on that sentiment with this spring’s advertising campaigns, bringing back popular and influential women of the era to take the lead in purveying fashion and beauty. 

Cases in point. The Nanny’s Fran Drescher recently starred in fashion brand AMI Paris’s 2024 spring ad campaign. Pamela Anderson led as the poster girl for several cosmetics and clothing brands, as did Jenny McCarthy and Carmen Electra for shapewear brand, Skims.

Alicia Silverstone, who appeared in a throwback ad to her Clueless character during 2023’s Super Bowl, was a headliner in Osea Malibu’s Leap Day campaign last month, along with other 90’s celebs like Drew Barrymore. The push included a 90’s looking website and 90’s inspired merchandise, and was reported as “the highest performing campaign in the company’s history” across conversions and influencer posts.

Osea Malibu’s co-founder and CEO Melissa Palmer said the success of the campaign demonstrated that “90’s enthusiasm is real.” 

In March, the clothing brand Reformation revealed Monica Lewinsky as the face of their latest campaign, exemplifying “public figures from the 90’s reclaiming their power.”  Julianne Kane, an influencer and content marketing lead noted the campaign “nods to 90’s suiting trends” with Lewinsky projecting “confidence and empowerment.” So far the campaign has been well received online.

Some analysts say the 90’s trend has remained popular to varying extents through the past fifteen years, and the decade is still embraced today in areas of style, fashion, and music. The steady interest in all things 90’s could have strong implications for brands shaping their strategies into the future. What accounts for the lasting appeal of this prized decade? Read more here.

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