Nostalgia marketing and the coronation | WARC | The Feed
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Nostalgia marketing and the coronation
Brands jumping on the King Charles III coronation bandwagon are often tapping into a sense of nostalgia around the institution of monarchy, but they should be aware that not everyone shares that feeling and they could alienate consumers as much as engage them.
The power of nostalgia
Research* from insights agency Hall & Partners finds that 81% of Brits and 83% of Americans say they enjoy things that remind them of the past. And 65% responded in the affirmative when asked if they were more likely to buy from brands that they remember from their childhood. Younger generations, aged 16 to 34 years, were even more likely to do this (74% in the UK and 70% in the US) – a huge commercial opportunity for brands.
What it means for the coronation
It’s a case of ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’. The same research finds:
- less than half the UK is positive about the monarchy (44%)
- most people are indifferent (25%) or negative (29%). (And amongst the latter group, negative feelings may only have intensified with the recent suggestion that UK citizens in the 21st century might like to pledge allegiance to the new king.)
- for most Brits (and most Americans too), the coronation is more about Britain’s heritage and traditions rather than the monarch.
The value for brands
Past events and potentially generation-defining moments like the coronation can evoke positive emotions and build a sense of familiarity and trust. Brands can use these to connect with people and influence future behaviour, including purchase decisions. But given the high negative/indifference levels surrounding the monarchy, brands may be better advised to invoke nostalgia about the country rather than the crown in order to avoid a possible ‘reverse halo’ effect.
It’s also the case that some brands are simply better positioned to tap into nostalgia and strike a chord with certain demographics. Even then they need to appreciate that what may have had emotional significance in the past may not today. For example, a significant proportion of Americans (29%) and Brits (23%) feel the monarchy is outdated and out of touch.
And don’t forget the importance of basic competence. Retailer Tesco came in for some stick when it (or a republican employee?) placed a “Let’s celebrate the King’s coronation” sign next to a shelf of toilet rolls.
“Invoking positive emotions with nostalgic marketing campaigns is a powerful way for brands to connect with people but should be used in moderation and with sensitivity to avoid coming across as outdated or tone-deaf” – Kurt Stuhllemmer, Partner at Hall & Partners.
*Hall & Partners interviewed a representative sample of 2,000 people across the UK and US.
Sourced from Hall & Partners, Mirror, Guardian
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