Throwback Thursday: ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ & Marketing With Nostalgia

“Despite nostalgia’s bittersweet rap and the oft-heard advice to live in the moment, studies suggest that the occasional detour down memory lane can give your spirits a significant lift,” says Marina Krakovsky in a 2006 article in Psychology Today.

In advertising, when trying to establish a connection between a customer and a brand, nostalgia can be an incredibly valuable tool.

“Reminiscence can motivate you,” says Loyola psychologist Fred Bryant. Nostalgia and a longing for yesteryear can give you “a sense of being rooted, a sense of meaning and purpose – instead of being blown around by the whims of everyday life.”

One need only look at the popular Twitter trend “#ThrowbackThursday” to see just how widespread the feelings of pining for the past are in social media.

In addition to Disney’s longstanding success with animation, you could point to nostalgia as one of the main reasons the studio’s upcoming Wreck-It Ralph release is so highly anticipated.

The film tells the story of video game villain (Wreck-It Ralph) who longs to be a good guy or hero. Disney is clearly confident in the film, going so far as to pay the licensing fees to use such iconic video game characters as Bowser from Super Mario Bros., the ghosts from Pacman and even Sonic the Hedgehog himself.

Using famous characters from video games that were popular in the 80s and 90s has already established a strong link to adult moviegoers, those who remember the games from the arcade or their own Super Nintendo (Turtles in Time for the win).

Not only is Disney marketing an animated films to kids and families, they’re tapping into nostalgia to target older viewers who might otherwise pass on an animated film. Wreck-It Ralph and its advertising/marketing efforts are beautifully toeing the line between kids flick and throwback picture.

The results have been encouraging thus far – the film is generating substantial interest and coverage on most mainstream movie blogs like /Film, thanks in large part to its promotional piece and viral marketing bits that call back those same feelings of nostalgia

(H/T /Film, Branding Strategy Insider, Psychology Today)

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