Nostalgia is the Treatment

Remember the future? From jet packs to artificial intelligence, visions of tomorrow once preoccupied our collective imagination. Lately though, young people are obsessed with looking the other way.

Nostalgia is huge. Super charged by social media, retrogazing seems to have a grip on Gen Z consumers. Unsurprisingly, luxury brands are embracing the trend as well. T-shirts emblazoned with the cartoon characters you loved as a child now command hefty price tags; Y2K-era velour tracksuits are back; and pop culture reference points that were derided yesterday (think Paris Hilton and Ed Hardy) have acquired a renewed potency.

For many people, pop culture serves as their primary form of expression. However, tastes for popular movies, TV shows, and other forms of popular culture no longer drive awkward first dates' talk. They are potent markers of identity, and many people prefer to express themselves through them by donning a T-shirt from their favourite rock band or bringing a coffee mug from their preferred television programme to work. It is not unexpected that there are countless communities devoted to pop culture products. However, Gen Z is about more than just being a digital native and falling for online hype. Gen Z consumers expect brands to be open, sincere, and honest. This can be expressed by leaning on nostalgia, and nothing surpasses the physical experience for conjuring up memories.

Brands who have the foresight to think beyond seasonal product releases and instead bring nostalgia to real settings can engage with this demographic on a deeper level. For storied brands, this broader, multimodal version of nostalgia is a potent approach to honour their history.