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Retro In a Modern Digital World.

Retro looks, filters, and videos are everywhere now. But why are they so popular?

While building our website, we have decided to include an events section that has a retro vibe to it. We have talked about it more in a previous article, explaining all about our decision process.

Coming back to our subject.

In the past 3 years or so, we brought back different aspects from decades like the 20s, 70s, 80s or the 90s. You can see it everywhere now. From the fashion industry to nutrition. But what’s more important technology.

Obviously, we are not using flip phones again, but there are some characteristics that never seem to die.

The trend.

Being retro in a modern digital world seems more and more appealing to young people nowadays. Millennials and centennials being the ones riding the retro wave. Apps, clothes, social movements, diets, you name it.

Using apps such as Huji cam, Vintage Retro Camera, VHS and many more is a hit right now. Even if you use an app like Snapseed you can create a retro feel to it by adding some grain & dust and Voila!

The trend started to pick up when runway models started to post photos of polaroids on Instagram. The inspiration is very clear: photos from the 90s with fellow models taken on disposable cameras. Even the most followed account on Instagram, belonging to Selena Gomez, has a few pictures using Huji cam. Since models and influencers started to adopt the trend, everyone adopted it.

Taking it a step further, YouTube creators have started to edit or add in their videos tiny sections of videos filmed on VHS. Or even talk about how they are editing they social media posts with different apps to give them the retro look that everyone is dying to have right now.

Why does this work?

You might be wondering why is this working so well? Shouldn’t we embrace technology and everything it has to offer? Well, yes.

But, like everything else in the world, we are attracted to emotions. And nostalgia is the one playing a big role on the Retro scene. It’s a common feeling used in advertising to make people consume a wide variety of products or service. Just think about how Coca-Cola brought back one of their most famous Christmas ads.

While people are looking more and more on tips and tricks of how to be happy, how to live a more fulfilling life, the feeling of nostalgia comes at the right moment. And the great part is that you can attach it to many things: food, clothing, drinks, places, objects and, why not, apps.

“Nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” Wikipedia

Using apps that give your photos/videos a retro look is some sort of illusion that almost everything we post is a happy memory. Just think about how you interact with your social feeds.

If you see a post about a negative feeling, maybe you will feel connected, but if everything from your feed would be about negative emotions, you wouldn’t spend any time on it. We like seeing happy and positive things even if we are not in the same state of mind. And brands know how to use it.

Another example is Pokemon Go. The app got a huge usage from generation X that grew up with the Pokemon TV series. And none the less attracted generation Z with the fact that something retro has been brought into their attention in a more modern/digital way.

How can you use it?

To implement this in your digital campaign, you will need to keep a few things in mind:

Your audience.

Something that everyone tells you is to know your audience. In this case, it’s very important to do so. Knowing what your audience find nostalgic can be your winning ticket when implementing your strategy. It can be a movie, a music genre, a piece of clothing, certain color combinations or even a certain type of food.

And always keep in mind that in a very impersonal social media space people crave for connections and memories. If you know how to use attach that to your company/brand you have a winning ticket.

Your brand.

Another important aspect is your brand’s history. If you have been on the market for quite some time you might have produced or sold goods that some people find them nostalgic.
As an example, Pepsi brought back their retro logo and uses it now on all of their products. In the same time, in 2016 they have released a limited edition of the “Crystal Pepsi”, a drink popular in the 90s.

A final thought.

I believe that most businesses can leverage the retro trend to bring people closer to them and tighten the gap between brands and consumers. Tap into your audience insights, get to know them, emphasize that and create your communication strategy. Make your audience believe in you and what you stand for because just selling a product is not enough anymore.

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"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard."

Guy Kawasaki