Red Setter Selects – Nostalgia Brands
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. A warm fuzzy feeling, a sentimental longing, or wistful affection for something in our past. It’s no wonder that nostalgia is a tried and tested marketing solution to make consumers feel good about something.
In recent years, life in the era of Covid has perhaps pushed us more towards things that bring us comfort with many of us seeking solace in the re-watching of old TV shows, films and listening to songs from our youth.
As part of our ‘Red Setter Selects’ series we asked our team to share the brands that have played important roles in their lives and the ones they look back on and make them feel special.
From toys (Hot Wheels!), to drinks (Cherry Coke!) and to entertainment brands like Disney. We all have one brand that gives us the warm fuzzies and takes us back to certain period in our lives.
Claire – Walkman
“My nostalgia brand is the Sony Walkman. My Walkman made such a difference to my life when I eventually persuaded my parents to buy me one. They were convinced it would make me deaf but finally they decided my moaning outweighed the risks.
“I have a really clear memory of the first time I played it. I was eight years old and listening to a tape of Madonna. It made me so happy. It was the first time I realised that music could change my mood. It could make me feel happy, energised, relaxed – whatever I needed.
“I could listen to my own music for the first time so it felt pretty grown up and independent, but it was a Walkman I wanted, not another brand of personal cassette player. An Alba wouldn’t have cut it! Walkman was so cool. I still have mine and it always makes me happy when I see it.”
Jack – Pokémon
“Pokémon is one of the first brands I remember becoming obsessed by. It hit the UK when I was about 6 or 7, and straight away I was immersed in the games, the cards and the cartoon.
“Pokémon celebrated 25 years last year and it struck me that the logo is still the same, even after branching out into mobile, cinema, music and beyond. Most of all, there are certain characters and designs that trigger memories of being 6 years old and catching a Pokémon on my Gameboy in the garden, or watching Ash and Pikachu battle on my TV. The sights, sounds and smells all come flooding back when I see them to this day.”
Sarah – Nickelodeon
“This brings me memories of my childhood! That iconic orange splodge and white text (sadly gone with the new logo), binge-watching Sabrina The Teenage witch and episodes of Hey Arnold and Tucker before binge-watching had even been coined. It hit that sweet spot between Cartoon Network and MTV – that pre-teen age where you feel too old and cool for most cartoons but you weren’t old enough to watch any teen dramas. Happy memories too of visiting the studios in Orlando as a kid, being sat in a kids competition as part of a studio tour, and then realising it has been RIGGED and the winner was a girl next to me who was set up. I was outraged at the injustice.”
Vicky – SKY magazine
“I grew up a complete magazine nerd, spending all my pocket-money on them, but it was SKY magazine in the early nineties that as a fresh young teen, blew my mind.
“Launched as a monthly in 1987, it targeted a ‘cool’, young, metropolitan unisex reader – fairly unusual for the time – and totally aspirational to young me. Featuring the coolest cultural icons of the day as the cover stars like Madonna and Prince. It was edgy, tackling controversial subjects, but it was also witty, creative and entertaining (and it always looked sleek and sexy with those neon pop accent colours). It was everything you ever wanted to know about pop culture and more – in just one issue you’ve got Rob Lowe talking about ‘THAT’ infamous night, plus Public Enemy, Keith Haring, and new SKY merch designed by Katharine Hamnett.
“The final issue in 2001 was the end of the golden age of magazines. I had long grown out of it, but perhaps it had kick started my love for the media and pop culture?”
Róisín - Disney
“My brother and I are best friends and Disney is one of the things that has been key to the greatness of our relationship.
“We grew up on all the classic Disney films - Jungle Book, Aladdin, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, falling in love with the music, aesthetics and sheer fantasy of it all. We’d get excited every time we’d see the famous logo of Cinderella’s castle glitching on VHS tapes. People worry about Disney filling children’s heads with false expectations of life, and while this is probably very true, for us the old Disney films are about our childhood and a pure and shared escapism. My brother who is a composer, now and then uses the classic Disney songs as inspiration - that nostalgia gets re-written and I get to experience it all over again in a new way.”
Miriam - Bang on the Door’s Groovy Chick
“From bed cover and water bottle to pencil case and lunch box, I was the 10-year-old boasting all the Groovy Chick merch I could get my hands on. This was the ultimate desired brand that you showed off in the school playground to the envy of your friends, the shiny new thing that made everyone gather to admire its coolness. With lime green crop-top perfectly accessorised with mini hand-bag and strappy heeled sandals, the brand’s glamourous character was the style icon and idol for us 90s kids on the brink of adolescence trying (and mostly failing) to be cool. And with the range now making a comeback appearing on T-Shirt designs at ASOS, the brand still seems to hold its stamp of cool-girl approval.”
Liv - HMV
"HMV is a British music and entertainment retailer that was first opened on London's Oxford Street in 1921 and has been a constant on the British high street ever since (the last music retailer actually left on the high street now). With HMV standing for ‘His Masters Voice’, the brands iconic bright pink logo, and the image of the dog and the grammar phone, is one we are all familiar with.
"My personal memories surrounding this brand are mainly from the early 2000’s, heading into London with my parents, particularly my Dad who was completely obsessed with music. I have happy memories of being given a few pounds to buy a CD as my parents trailed through the shop for hours buying another 20 records to add to their collection. With the boom in digital music platforms in recent years, HMV has struggled to keep up with the pace of change, with many shops sadly shutting down. This means for many, HMV has taken on a new feeling of nostalgia, as the joy of buying a physical music in an actual shop has increasingly become a novelty."