Memory Lane

Ads infused with nostalgia drive customers your way.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the September 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

"Remember how it used to be?" That question can be a powerful inducement to buying a once-laborious product that has been transformed into a zippy new wonder-widget. The visual contrast can be dramatic--think of commercials for kitchen gadgets and gardening gizmos in which the old is juxtaposed with the new.

This approach might be termed "negative nostalgia." But memorabilia can provoke a strong positive response, too. Bringing back sentimental favorites of another era is a way to make the good ol' days pay off, especially for nostalgia-loving baby boomers. Check out the audio aisle at your local electronics emporium, and you'll likely find a radio housed in the retro look of a bygone era. The same goes for hardware, furniture and, of course, fashion. Advertisers are very strategic in how they push consumers' nostalgia-inducing buttons.

The late copy guru Victor Schwab recommends using this "subcutaneous advertising" approach--that is, advertising that gets under consumers' skin with recollections of old--in his seminal How to Write a Good Advertisement.

Nostalgia is a fitting subject for this month's column, as it is my last for Entrepreneur after nearly 16 years as its advertising columnist. It's been truly gratifying for me, and I hope it's been informative and insightful for you.


Jerry Fisher is a freelance advertising copywriter and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising.

More from Entrepreneur

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.