Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gen X Nostalgia Marketing

Sarah Sladek - CEO & President of Limelight Generations distributed some interesting information regarding the reasons why we are seeing a return of the 80's. I think she brings up some interesting points. Here is her post -


Have you noticed? The ‘80s are back.

This week I was interviewed by National Public Radio for a story on marketing to Generation X through nostalgia. And while nostalgia marketing has been referred to as a trend, it is indicative of a significant shift in consumerism.

The Transformers movie is just one the latest—never mind the biggest—piece of ‘80s nostalgia that's been recycled. The film's producers took a reported $150 million gamble on a movie that targets Generation X, a generation characterized as cynical, unsentimental, and incredibly difficult to engage and entertain.

The movie was a hit, not to mention the re-introduction of toys like Care Bears, My Little Pony, Cabbage Patch Dolls, GI Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Rubik’s Cube.

On television, we’re seeing Bionic Woman and Knight Rider resurface. In music there’s The Police reunion, George Michael appearances on a new television series, and Super Bowl performances by ‘80s icons like Tom Petty, Prince, and Janet Jackson.

So what does all this mean for business? It means Generation X has moved into a position of purchasing power. For the past few decades, Baby Boomers have held most, if not all, the purchasing power. The Xers are now making an influential step up to the cash register, and the return to the ‘80s is an obvious attempt to reach these savvy, skeptical consumers.

Here's why nostalgia marketing works with Xers :

Xers, now ages 27-44, are experiencing their first quarter-life crisis. Nostalgia marketing recaptures the feelings of a simpler and happier time, when they weren’t paying off huge mortgages and balancing their careers while raising small children.

Gen X has been dubbed as the Family First Generation and their largest purchases revolve around their homes and their children. Xers like introducing their children to the icons and images of their youth and sharing that experience with them.

Generation X is the first generation to trust their peers more than anyone else. They are skeptical of advertising and marketing schemes and they aren’t brand-driven or trend-driven consumers. Xers make purchasing decisions on what they know and trust, which is why ‘80s nostalgia has resonated with them.

The Xer consumer is difficult to reach, but offers unprecedented opportunity for those businesses that can prove themselves relevant and meaningful to this generation.

Consider Wii, the video gaming system that’s selling out nationwide. Wii has been incredibly popular with Xers because it is family-friendly and simple to use, making it reminiscent of the Ataris they grew up with and also meeting their demands for family-friendly entertainment.

The purchasing power is shifting to a younger demographic. Does your business have what it takes to reach this elusive, emerging consumer market?

Time will tell.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

What are the next older group of people (over 27) called?

There are a lot of interesting and positive 80's influences making a comeback...but unfortunately there is also a comeback of the hideous clothing styles. I don't really need to re-live the 80's...I was there the first time :)