There are moments where we’re taken back to an earlier time in our life. For some, it’s a smell while for others it’s a particular song or a TV show. Nostalgia and yearning are a strong wave and make an impact that many marketers should take advantage of. They should try to evoke and harness their power for good with their advertising. Especially during the global pandemic, people want to go back to a time when life was good –whether this was two years ago, 10 years ago, or more.

Saudi millennials and Gen Z represent more than 50 per cent of the Saudi population. They are coming of an age in a time of real change. They stood by and watched as all sorts of changes were thrown their way, but their childhood was still a story of a totally different reality from this openness era.

Saudis tend to remember the1980s and 1990s most fondly; even somebody who considers their greatest days to be in the present will feel warm when looking back on memories. It has been said that consumers are more receptive and likely to act after getting past the initial barrier if they are made to feel a level of warmth and comfort.

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that nostalgic feelings made participants more willing to spend money on consumer goods and services.

This means that nostalgic marketing works best for those who had their golden years during these decades. Saudi businesses, and even global ones, should create advertisements to induce this kind of feeling and make people smile while thinking of a better time.

This concept was first discovered in the 17th century by Johannes Hofer while trying to understand soldiers’ need to return home during a war. Originally, nostalgia was thought to be a mental disorder rather than a way to find comfort during a difficult situation. Nostalgia is the reason we love curling up under a blanket watching a Disney film with a hot chocolate: It takes us back to our childhood. It also serves an essential psychological function, in that it is a highly social emotion.

In a time when most Saudi marketing focuses heavily on the future, the potential to interact with a nostalgia-fueled generation pushes companies to take people back to their glory days through advertising, which has become increasingly valuable in the international arena.

Strategic insight is crucial for developing ideas that tap into the emotions of viewers by harnessing the power of nostalgia, which can be ruined and can go wrong with one false move. Regardless of age, nostalgia’s impact is huge on everyone. In fact, it’s one of the effective ways to evoke emotions and the right memories if it’s used in a smart way, because at the end of the day everything in life is a double-edged sword, and understanding the audience and what they find special, and paying attention to the small details, will evoke the desired response from the consumers.

Nowadays, TV commercials aren’t on the radar for most marketing teams. However, this doesn’t mean those teams can’t enjoy this technique. In fact, some of them are already doing it with a ‘throwback’ vibe. The marketing team can use social media to send trends regularly to generate that nostalgic feeling in their followers – and include the story of the brand in the strategy.

Once again, it is the nostalgic marketing that takes people back to their younger years, but nostalgia is not solely used for targeting millennials; it appeals to different ages. It can make us think of our own holidays with family and friends when the aim is to show a realistic and recognisable image of the authentic roots of Saudi life.

The key to nailing Saudi nostalgia is to understand what motivates Saudis, how they were raised and where their deepest interests lie. Here in Saudi Arabia, the opportunity of nostalgic marketing is more than a Super Bowl or a commercial. It can take place on a variety of mediums, which can combine providing the opportunity for brands to improve relevance and impact. Some Saudi companies have already used this method to reach their audience, and if you were fascinated and touched to buy a product or service after watching a commercial, you’ll instantly recognise the power of nostalgia in marketing.