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If there was a word to categorise 2016, it will be nostalgia. Nostalgia has been a prominent feature in 2016. You can see it through the many reboots, revamps and revivals that has been presented. From Ghostbusters, to Westworld, to Kodak, 2016 is just filled with them.

There are always places we all want to go back to. To immerse ourselves in the best times of our lives. But we can’t. Even if we did, it will never feel as it once did. So we do the only thing we can do, we stare into space and reminisce the days that contributed to the person we are today.

Such is the emotional connection of nostalgia. For as long as we’ve lived, we have created memories that are worthy of remembrance. In our subconscious it resides, emerging and submerging in accordance to our encounters.

Multiple brands are celebrating the effects of nostalgia. Some brands are even trying so hard to associate themselves with a nostalgic element. Like Oreo associating themselves with Aladdin or MBO using the swirls from the Looney Tunes world. A lot of brands are bringing us back in time. Star Wars brought us back to a time before A New Hope was born.

Essentially, there are two kinds of nostalgic methods a brand can execute: One of a corporate, historical and personal kind of nostalgia and the other is of a cultural sense.

So let us take a step back down memory lane, both recent and old, to see the ads which executed nostalgia to perfection.

Corporate Nostalgia

The corporate nostalgia is a personal nostalgia. A feeling that comes from a personal experience between the brand and the individual.

1.    Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker got actor Robert Carlyle to literally walk down a path to narrate the history of Johnnie Walker and how it became the powerhouse it is today, with visual interpretations to match each timeline.

2.    Pokemon

Through the raptures and the ruptures, of all the memories we’ve caught; we evolved. With the release of Sun & Moon, Pokemon shows that they evolved together with us.

3.    Shell Malaysia

In commemoration with its 125th anniversary here in Malaysia, Shell released a limited edition canister collection of the designs they have donned throughout the years.

4.    British Airways

To Fly. To Serve. These four words has guided British Airways in the past and will continue to guide them into the future.

Cultural Nostalgia

Cultural nostalgia is about a particular moment in time that was experienced by a group of people, may it be a society or a generation.

1.    Microsoft

Remember the days when you were an ember, discovering frontiers you never knew existed, as you took your first steps into the virtual world? Microsoft’s Internet Explorer understands very well. Because it was just like every other 90’s kid.

2.    Astro

Astro’s “Macam-macam ada” series featured Tok Wan, a woman who embodies the spirit of balik kampung. No vibe is more nostalgic than always visiting the home in which you grew up in.

3.    Maxis

Flying the kite or the wau is something very Malaysian to do. Almost every kid has experienced it at least once. Maxis brought a technological spin to it. It gave Kite-maker Pak Cik Shafie a chance to see his dream come true.

4.    Petronas

For every major festive period in Malaysia, Petronas has released a series of heartwarming stories that came from the nostalgic roots of the festivities’ respective cultures.

Nostalgia is not something new in the branding world. It has always been a key element as it creates an emotional connection and humanises the brand. But it has been more rampant in recent years. And that’s probably because people can see its effectiveness as a certain social media constantly bombard us with memories.

How is your brand utilising nostalgia?
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