By Robin Tricoles, University Relations - Communications December 21, 2015
From Budweiser’s Christmastime Clydesdale commercials to in-store holiday carols, nostalgia is everywhere at this time of the year, especially when it comes to advertising, marketing and retail sales.
But how and why does nostalgia influence consumer choices, behavior and (ultimately) spending, especially during the holiday season?
During this season, marketers and retailers use nostalgia more than at any other time of the year, says Sabrina Helm, a University of Arizona associate professor of retailing and consumer sciences. The holidays are a time when people take a look back at their past, and that can play on consumers' emotions, Helm says.
WATCH the video - "Who needs nostalgia" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEbwVA5CgkA
"We like remembering the past," Helm says. "Everyone has that innate impression that the past was better than today. That’s interesting to consider because not everything that we experience is positive. But looking backward, we see it (the past) in a more positive light."
In particular, family traditions stick in consumers’ minds. If those can be represented by a brand and brought to consumers’ attention, then there is a positive association with the brand, Helm says.
But why does the past always seem better than it was?
Helm says it’s because we are hardwired to think about our self-esteem and our positive self-image. In doing so, we tend to remember the good things that have happened to us and to block out negative experiences because that helps us create a positive image of ourselves. So a brand we encountered as a child or when we were just starting out in life might be viewed more positively, she says.
Anita Bhappu, UA associate professor of retailing and consumer sciences, says nostalgia takes us back to a place or connects us to something that is familar and was commonly experienced.