The power of nostalgia in direct marketing

We’ve all been there. That old song comes on the radio. You know, the one that takes you back to a time in your life. It was your favourite sing-a-long throughout that endless warm summer after you left high school, or maybe it was the soundtrack to that unforgettable holiday with friends (with moments you’d admittedly, rather forget) or the tune that blasted from the pathetic speakers of your first car as you drove – nowhere in particular – but just because you could.

For a few brief seconds you are back there. You can hear the sounds, even smell the air, you can really feel it in your bones when… reality kicks back in and you’re dancing around the kitchen in your dressing gown to Wham!, it’s a rainy Tuesday morning and you’re late for work… *sigh*

But never mind reality, this feeling of nostalgia is so special. It’s an emotional connection to yesteryear, to our fondest memories that nobody else has experienced in the same way, not even the people who may have been there and shared the experience. That same moment may fill others with nostalgia too but that memory is powerful and unique to you.

It’s no surprise then, that designers and marketers use an approach that works on a similar level, to help businesses to connect with their audience by tapping into these warm feelings, in order to create an emotional connection to their brand, product or service.

A good example of this in action is a targeted direct marketing campaign I designed whilst working at Reform Creative in Manchester. The campaign was for a company called Bankhall – who provide support services to financial advisors and aimed to generate positive leads and enquiries.

Aimed at a predominantly male audience, aged over 50, the subject of ‘support’ was brought to life through a fun mailer, inspired by Subbuteo – a game popular with children in the sixties and seventies.

To reignite happy childhood memories of a weekday evening spent flicking George Best around the kitchen table, recreating the action from the previous Saturday and the uncontrollable excitement of opening a brand new toy, the design of the mailer took reference from the classic Subbuteo box complete with felt lining and football figure. Themed messaging and a simple insert outlined the benefits of making Bankhall your new signing. 

Follow-up mailers on the football theme were also sent out, first a yellow, then a red card, to encourage the recipient to register their interest and book a meeting.

Intelligent ideas help brands communicate and connect with their audience. If you would like to discuss how I can help you capture the imagination and attention of your audience or if you fancy your chances against me in a game of Subbuteo, I would love to hear from you. Please call me on 07855 111 924 or email