Sep 24, 2019SpottedSPOTIFY AD FUELS NOSTALGIA FOR GEN X AND Y MUSIC FANSSPOTTED: the insights behind the ads

Spotify is getting users humming along to tracks from the '80s and '90s in its 'Listen Like You Used To' campaign. By evoking memories of well-loved tunes from the past, the streaming company is using the powerful force of nostalgia to create emotional connections with people and build brand loyalty. We explore the insights into why using memories from our pasts is such a great way for brands to make connections.

Author
Isabel EvansIsabel Evans is a behavioural analyst at Canvas8. Fascinated by how and why people do things, she has an MSc in cognitive and decision sciences from UCL. You can often find her drinking endless coffees, running around Regent’s Park, or delving into a book.

The campaign showcases a series of quirky visuals that feature 'blast from the past' tracks and cultural moments and then contrast them against life in 2019. One of the ads reads: “1995: Smashing Pumpkins. 2019: Smashing avocados.” Showcasing a variety of genres, the campaign is looking to appeal to people who grew up in the '80s and '90s. "We all have a soundtrack to our lives and know how nostalgic songs can be that were popular or released when we were growing up,” says Spotify marketing director Olga Puzanova. “We’re delighted that people are already starting to celebrate how we’ve brought that to life with our 'Listen Like You Used To’ campaign and are adding their own spins.”

Spotify "Listen Like You Used To" Campaign

The Spotify campaign puts Generation X front and centre. However they do this while still bringing in other generations who appreciate the music references and pithy jokes. Generation X is often referred to as a “forgotten generation” in advertising. Indeed, 54% of Gen X think that brands treat them as an afterthought, feeling that brands misrepresent their experience. The excitement brands felt about marketing to Millennials, who now outnumber Boomers, mean that Generation X is said to suffer from a forgotten middle child syndrome. However, Generation X have now entered their middle age and still continue to out-earn and out-spend all other generations, so making them feel seen should have a huge impact.

Nostalgia not only helps brands build emotional connections, but it’s also a savvy money-making device – research shows that people tend to spend more when they’re thinking about the past. The study demonstrated that people are willing to part with money when they’re thinking about the past, but not about the present or future. Nostalgia brings back childhood memories of friends and family, and therefore evokes a feeling of community and connectedness.

Some 44% of people endorse products based on emotional criteria. Looking back also provides a sense of comfort in a world where changes are happening more rapidly than ever. This could be why old-school media like vinyl, cassettes, and print are having a revival, as people are looking to the past with rose-tinted glasses. Other nostalgic innovations include the iconic '90s magazine The Face, which has been relaunched, and Sony's limited-edition Walkman, which was released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original device.

Isabel Evans is a junior behavioural analyst at Canvas8. Fascinated by how and why people do things, she has an MSc in cognitive and decision sciences from UCL. You can often find her drinking endless coffees, running around Regent’s Park, or delving into a book.

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