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The Power Of Nostalgia

The Power Of Nostalgia

By Susan Williams

What is it about thinking about things from our past that makes us feel good? Why do we like to be nostalgic and reminisce about the “good ol’ days”?

In the following TED-Ed video, they shared that nostalgia’s origins began from something totally different then as it’s defined today.

The idea of nostalgia originated when some Swiss mercenaries became physically ill while serving abroad. Their symptoms included fatigue, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, indigestion and fever. This illness was often so debilitating that the soldiers had to be discharged and sent home. But what caused the illness wasn’t a physical problem. They were ill due to an emotional infliction resulting from their intense yearning for their homeland (my personal interpretation – severe home sickness).

Over time, professionals discovered that nostalgia was not necessarily a negative emotion as they had originally thought. Yes, memories of the past may cause sadness but also remembering personal meaningful and rewarding experiences with others were found to actually boost psychological well being along with having other positive benefits.

Here is the TED-Ed talk I’m referring to – it’s quite interesting;

But what is I find really interesting is how marketers are now using nostalgia to actively promote their products to consumers.

As reported by Forbes,  some of the benefits of marketing nostalgia to customers are;

“By sharing a compelling blast from the past, you can reach your audience on an emotional level, linking your brand message with familiar concepts to evoke feelings of security, comfort and trust. It can signify to your customers that you are worthy of attention because you are associated with something they already love. And those sentimental feelings make people increasingly willing to spend money on consumer goods and services.”

This approach was definitely evident in one of this year’s super bowl commercials. Jeep did an excellent job of bringing feelings of nostalgia (Groundhog Day with Bill Murray) while also marketing their product. Here’s the commercial;

And here is another super bowl commercial from a few years back based on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In this clip, Matthew Broderick (aka Ferris) is now living in today’s world. But as you watch it, you can’t help but feel this iconic movie’s past vibe;

So, here’s the good news. Remembering our past and the good times we enjoyed is not bad for us. It can even make us happier. But we also need to make sure that we do not get so lost in our memories that we don’t enjoy today – or even buy something we may not actually need.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.