4 Rules for Nostalgia Marketing

Old school. Retro. Classic.  No matter how you choose to label it, nostalgia is soul-soothing and sweet.

Recent studies indicate that nostalgic swooning may make people feel optimistic about tomorrow.  This hopeful attitude can translate into sales.

So how do you add nostalgic treats to your assortment? Follow these simple guidelines:

Rule #1 Understand Why Nostalgia Sells

Nostalgic products evoke a predictable response:

Recognition followed by a smile, and finally, a hand reaches out to grab them.

Arousing a pleasant memory makes customers feel comfortable because the past is safe.  Connecting the present day to simpler times is good for business.

Today, nostalgic customers are compelled to snap a photo and share this experience to social media – perhaps even tagging you in their post. 

Rule #2 Include Different Generations

Yes, include Baby Boomers and Gen. X — but don’t forget the millennials.

Believe it or not, millennials look back wistfully to yesteryear too. This phenomenon is called “early onset nostalgia.”

Attract Boomers with DOTS and Chuckles.  Lure those Hubba Bubba chomping, Ring Pop licking Gen Xers with 80s treats.  Millennials love Laffy Taffy, Baby Bottle Pops and Wonder Balls.

While each generation may be coveting its candy, cross generational sharing gets a boost during holidays when customers are eager to share traditions.  Iconic holiday treats make an appearance every year like Halloween candy corn, Christmas ribbon candy, chocolate coins for Hanukah, Valentine’s Day conversation hearts, Passover fruit slices, and chocolate Easter bunnies.

Rule #3 Tailor your Mix to Customer Types

There are ways to spur nostalgia in all your customer types:

  • Browsers choose an assortment of “old fashioned” favorites with iconic packaging like Valomilk or a subtle reminder of the simplicity of childhood with Charms.  Consider offering top sellers like Hershey’s Milk Chocolate and Tootsie Rolls  in nostalgic packaging.

Rule #4  It’s in the Way you Display

Now that you’ve put all this thought and effort into an assortment your customers will love, don’t bury it in the back corner or on a bottom shelf. 

If you have the space, create a timeline of candy.  Put together a “throwback” theme that spans the decades and offers a little something for everyone. For example:


If you’re limited for space, take a container or basket, tuck in one candy for each decade and print a vintage inspired sign.  Pinterest and Vecteezy have lots of ideas and links to printables.

For a super simple solution to offer your customers a wide assortment of nostalgic candy: Nancy Adams decades boxes contain a fun sampling of retro candy that is sure to bring on the smiles.

Offer something special to your customers and you are undoubtedly helping contribute to their future nostalgia.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.