Millennials are inundated with more information than any generation past, thanks to social media and the digital age. The overload has compressed their sense of time, bringing on "early on-set nostalgia," as Digiday puts it.
Apps like Time Hop have soared to popularity as Generation Y reminisces about things that happened two, three, four years ago.
Brands are resurrecting old campaigns and mascots in hopes to appeal to millennials' sensibilities about the past -- like KFC’s Colonel and McDonald’s hipster dad remix of the Hamburglar.
Nostalgia isn’t a new concept among marketers, but the definition of what qualifies as “old school” or a “throwback” has changed. Separately, millennials have also come of age in a Great Recession leading to economic uncertainty and a fondness for a simpler time. And some brands are playing to Gen Y's tendency to idolize things of the past. The caveat is that stuff that is just five or 10 years old is already coming back as retro — which opens up possibilities for nostalgia-based campaigns to exponential brands.
Still, not all brands are, or should, embrace nostalgia. "There is a fine line between evoking memories and seeming outdated or out of touch," the author of the Digiday post on the trend writes, elaborating that products and brands that do well employing nostalgia tend to be versatile and evergreen in appeal.