Ye Good Olde Days: How Nostalgia Can Build Better Relationships

Use nostalgia to pull from the past and connect with your clients 

Ah, the holidays. ‘Tis the season to spend time with family, friends, and loved ones. Time to dust off that Menorah, assemble your army of plastic Frosty the Snowman figures on your front lawn, and spend hours untangling your festive lights and putting out other decor. Some folks look forward to all the seasonal treats (Eggnog and gingerbread houses and pie, oh my!) while others can’t wait to holler carols at their neighbors. But no matter how it differs from person to person, we here at Blue Flamingo suspect that there’s one bit of holiday nostalgia that everyone looks forward to now, whether you celebrate a particular holiday or not. 

holiday movies nostalgia

Holiday Movies.

Feel free to pillow fight us on this one, but one of the best parts about this time of year is that it’s totally acceptable to sit back in your Baby Yoda PJs and watch old classic movies on repeat. No excuses needed: ‘tis the season. 

And we suspect we’re not the only ones who look forward to a weekend watch-a-thon of our old faves. No permission needed to indulge in that TikTok-inspired donut cake or jumbo sampler of chocolates while taking a walk down memory lane. 

Show of hands: how many of you have a special old movie that you watch once a year during the holidays? 

What if we started rattling off titles, like: Miracle on 34th Street, The Holiday, Home Alone, Nightmare Before Christmas, The Family Stone, Meet Me in St. Louis, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Elf, Scrooged, and It’s a Wonderful Life. Strike any chords? 

Yeah. We thought so. Unless you’re The Grinch (another fine holiday movie, ahem) most humans have one special flick that they watch on repeat for comfort and joy. 

Not only that, we suspect you know many of the lines by heart, and can give us a quote. Whether it starts with “Yippie-ky-yi.” (from Die Hard, which many of our partners swear is the ultimate Christmas movie) and ends with “Love, actually, is all around.” (From Love, Actually, in case you’ve been living under a rock) there’s a kind of magic in repeating these old lines to each other. Movies are a common experience that we share that unites us. 

And now more than ever, doing a deep-dive backward into the Hollywood Fountain of Youth is key. Considering these last years (thanks, 2020 and 2021!) most of us need a solid dose of comfort and joy courtesy of our fave films. 

While we’re feeling pretty clever about bringing up this subject, we’re not the first. A recent piece on Dan Lok about Disney’s drive to redo old films hits it on the head. “Nostalgia marketing appeals to our wish to return to an easier, simpler time with fewer responsibilities and more acceptance.” Disney’s stroke of marketing genius at remaking some of their old classics is on full review there. 

I mean, who doesn’t want to clock out for an hour or two via an old movie and briefly forget about our pandemic-ridden world? 

Nostalgia often gets a bad rep, being associated with people stuck in the past and unable to dwell in the future. Ages ago, it was even regarded as a mental health condition, and links were drawn between nostalgia and depression. But lately, there’s been new speculation that it could be a positive tool. 

The New York Times recently pondered the question of Why We Reach for Nostalgia in Times of Crisis. Turns out, nostalgia can be a powerful coping mechanism during dark days. When used as a reminder of positive days gone past, it can help us deal with anxiety about the future. 

So. What does that mean for you, and your business? It’s an opportunity, friends, for you to be The Pied Piper of Joy. Take this lesson and lead your customers back to kinder, gentler times with nostalgia this season. And don’t stop there–it’s a valuable tool to utilize in your marketing in the new year. We’ve talked about the power of emphatic messaging before with the legendary Coca Cola commercial. Find a similar oldie-but-goodie that is in step with the zeitgeist of 2022 and utilize it.  

A few ideas:

  1. Embrace the #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) in your social media content.
  2. If you’re an established brand, highlight your history. Is there something special about your location or other aspect of your business that may evoke fond memories?
  3. Tap into a nostalgic look and feel for your ads and other marketing material.
The iconic Coca Cola Christmas Caravan 👆🏽

Connect with your customers over shared cultural touchstones in your marketing. Engage them with holiday nostalgia by reminiscing about movies, bands, and slogans from yesteryear. Include a catchphrase from the ’80s, or take a poll on 90’s fashion items that your clients still own and wear. Remind them that better days are ahead. Then listen, and learn.

And isn’t that fitting with the spirit of the season? 

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Blue Flamingo is a creative messaging, communications, and PR firm known for helping organizations stand out and get noticed.

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