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Brand Driven Nostalgia – By Nicole Reaney, Director, InsideOut PR

It certainly was a good news day when headlines broke confirming that Aussie favourite, Violet Crumble, would receive a new lease on life after an acquisition from Nestle by fourth-generation confectionery business, Robern Menz.

The purple and gold branding, the crackling of the packet and memories of being passed a cube where the edges of chocolate would be methodically nibbled before crunching into the golden honeycomb.

It was the era of lazy summer days by the pool, slurping a Sunnyboy while dad mowed the lawn with his Victa. Toobs were another favourite, and despite Warnie trying to publicise a return in 2015, this snack has not survived the same fortune and is lost from our supermarket shelves indefinitely. Humphrey B Bear, Perfect Match and Agro’s Cartoon Connection are no longer on our screens, while cigarette lollies are not politically correct these days. And who could forget Mello Yello, which evaporated from our sights.

It is understood that Robern Menz plans to develop the product including the return of “nostalgic formats” to our shelves.

There certainly is a special connection boomers and Gen X consumers hold with nostalgic brands. Brands weren’t viewed to be as commercial as they are today, we believed their messaging, life seemed to play at a slower pace and there was genuine affection and loyalty towards them. They were entrenched in our lifestyle, and beyond ‘product’, were part of special memories we have held into adulthood. Just like a favourite song or a certain fragrance, can evoke certain feelings, stories or people.

Back in the day at Colgate-Palmolive, people would call in and post (physical not social) copies of advertisements from the past, that were fondly collected and treasured. I’m sure this happens in offices of historic brands round the country.

While some iconic brands make a return and some discontinued, others are reinvented, just like Vegemite flavoured burgers and sausages that have hit our stores along with a dubious coupling of Jatz and Drumstick. Experimenting with limited editions can draw new publicity and new markets in an attempt to revive.

With the sheer volume and turnover of global brands today, and an online generation – will brands today be able to create the same consumer attachment?

Armed with i-everything technology while shopping at The Iconic and following experiences on Instagram or Snapchat, millennials may not form the same personal relationship to physical brands as they age – at least with the emphasis of digitally driven brands they devour. This absorption of living our lives through devices may also prevent a consumer’s presence in the moment and missing these life memories and brand connections.

According to US research, a majority of millennials follow brands on at least one social media platform – with price the major deciding factor on purchase. Two-thirds of millennials say they will switch brands if they are offered a discount of 30% or more.

And with this, perhaps today’s brands that are winning the hearts of Millennials will need to adapt their offering and consumer relationship as its target ages or remain focused on reinvention to remain relevant with its consistent demographic.

Creating an emotional and sentimental connection will always remain powerful armor for brands.

What was your favourite Aussie brand in years gone by?

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