Encores, reboots, and the power of nostalgia marketing
By now you’ve probably heard all about the Choco Taco drama. (Yes, we’re still talking about it.)
Despite the public outcry over the discontinuation of the beloved Klondike ice cream, (and the very loud chorus of celebrity objections–from author Stephen King to Food Network star Andrew Zimmern, to soccer superstar Alex Morgan) it looks like the quirky confection that symbolizes childhood summers for so many is ultimately headed for the chopping block.
It doesn’t seem real. Especially with what we’ve seen lately with successful reboots like Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza (with added boosts from Doja Cat and Dolly Parton) and 90’s lunchbox favorite, Dunkaroos.
There’s a common draw to each of these cultural artifacts: nostalgia. The allure of the past is psychologically powerful and means that whether there’s a successful encore of a favorite product or not, the underlying emotions we feel are still the same–a longing for what reminds us of simpler times–times where life seemed good to us. Marketing gold.
It’s no coincidence that millennials are the biggest targets of nostalgic campaigns. Generation Y came of age in the era of 9-11, were graduating college during the Great Recession, and are raising kids during extreme political polarization and a global pandemic. No wonder they want to lock themselves in their pantries with friendly animal-shaped cookies and vanilla frosting.
Romanticizing simpler times is a powerful tool to unify a special generational cohort (and advertising segment) that remembers what it’s like to grow up before the internet, smart phones, and Snapchat. But Millennials aren’t the only ones longing for days gone by. Gen-Z is successfully resurrecting 90’s and Y2K culture even though they didn’t come of age in the era. And they’re using their preferred broadcasting medium–Tiktok–to share the gospel of Friends, Polaroids, and thrifted 90’s clothing far and wide.
The marketing formula is simple: emotional attachment + brand authenticity + comfort = nostalgia. And brands who leverage the equation are reaping the rewards. Look at Motorola’s 2019 re-release of the Razr flip phone, the renewed popularity of Nintendo games like Mario Kart and Zelda, reboots of favorite family sit-coms like Full House, and (the true wildcard of the bunch) mom jeans.
It makes sense. The economic disruption and global upheaval has younger generations pining for a past they wish they’d experienced. And as long as the social climate is marked by uncertainty for the future, you can count on brands to continue capitalizing off of advertising’s favorite comfort-food–the good ol’ days.
Travel will be cheaper this fall
After months of sky high airfare prices, fuel hikes, flight cancellations and general inflation malarky, it looks like there’s some relief in sight.
The big picture looks promising. Overall, the cost of travel is predicted to drop by as much as 40% in the fall compared to peak summer months. Later in August, the cost of roundtrip air travel will fall to $286 on average, down from $400 in May. And that’s just the beginning. Post-Labor Day prices are expected to run you about $238 roundtrip, down a whopping 37% from the beginning of the summer.
So what’s behind the big shift? There’s a few factors in play: 1) the price of fuel is steadily dropping, 2) hotel rates are stabilizing, and 3) the summer vacation demand has slowed and won’t pick back up till people start making plans for the holidays. In other words, we’re in a seasonal and economic sweet spot that’s ripe for bargain hunters.
Although it looks like prices won’t return to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, those who held off on booking summer trips now have every incentive to plan one for the fall. According to Hopper, beach destinations like Hawaii and Hliton Head, SC are trending up and mountain towns like Jackson, Wyoming are also increasing in demand. Internationally, folks are making a beeline for Bali, Sydney, Vietnam, and Tokyo.
Bon voyage, friends.
Apple is (ironically) upping its ad game
Recent reports suggest that Apple plans to transition more of its pre-installed apps to start hosting ads, similar to what we already see on the App Store, Stocks, and News.
In apps like Maps, for instance, companies would compete for space to appear in top search results for nearby restaurants, stores, attractions, etc. This could also apply to Podcasts and Books, with the highest bidder getting pushed to the top of search results.
For the tech company that’s historically only relied on ads for 1% of their revenue, this is big news. It also comes with a twinge of dramatic irony… Alanis Morisette style.
Apple’s release of App Tracking Transparency (ATT) last year introduced a pop-up which asks users if they want to be tracked by the app to receive personalized ads. Apple revealed in May that most users (78%) opted out.
Although the move was a win for user privacy, it simultaneously dealt a crushing blow to the mobile advertising industry. (Mark Zuckerburg says it could cost him 10B this year, as ads make up 98% of Meta’s revenue.) Wowza.
Now Apple has set its sights on increasing ad revenue to double digits. It would do this by expanding advertising to more standard Apple apps, and possibly through introducing multi-tiered options to its streaming platform, Apple TV. (Following in the footsteps of other streaming services like Netflix, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery.)
It all ads up, if you ask me. Advertising is Apple’s newest (and most lucrative) frontier.
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More News from the Week.
- Farewell to the G.O.A.T. Serena Williams has officially announced her retirement from the sport of tennis. Williams won 39 total Grand Slam titles, 4 Olympic gold medals, and ended her career with a record of 855-153. Respect.
- Everyone’s favorite post-soccer game beverage, Capri Sun, recalled 5,760 cases of their Wild Cherry variety, reporting that a diluted cleaning solution was “inadvertently introduced” on the production line. Can we request a Sunny D revamp ASAP?
- Walmart announced it will add the Paramount+ streaming service to its Walmart+ membership package. The deal will bring staple shows like Star Trek, SpongeBob SquarePants, and South Park to Plus subscribers at no added cost.
- Snapchat Plus racked up 1m+ subscribers only six weeks after its release. New Plus features include custom emoji sign-offs on Snaps, exclusive Bitmoji backgrounds, and custom icons, oh my!
- Miller High Life’s new ice cream bar actually tastes like your favorite dive bar. (Yes, it’s totally on purpose.)