Nostalgia Effect

🤔 Did you know…

As many as 50% of Walt Disney World visitors don’t have kids.

To which Disney sings, “Be our guest!” 😉

Why do child-free adults willingly go to a place with talking mice and spinning teacups?

And spend *serious* cash there? (Like $32,500,000,000 in 2023 alone)

Keep reading and I’ll tell you.

This post is sponsored by Circleback ❤️

Imagine this…

You’re heading back to your hometown for the weekend to visit your parents.

But after driving for 4 hours straight, you’re starving.

So you pull into a mom-and-pop diner a few towns over for a late lunch.

After you wolf down a burger and fries, the waitress asks if you’d like a slice of homemade apple pie for dessert.

It’s fresh out of the oven the smell of cinnamon and tart apples fills the dining room.

All of a sudden, you’re mentally transported back in time.

You’re standing in the kitchen with your grandmother helping her bake an apple pie.

Memories come flooding back:

How you used to help her roll out the dough…

Her laugh whenever you got flour on your nose…

The joy you felt sharing a piece with her…

Happy Tears GIF - Happy Tears - Discover & Share GIFs

Sadly, you haven’t eaten pie with Granny in 15 years.

Even though you’re stuffed, you order a slice—and tack on $5.95 more to your bill.

You had no plans to eat apple pie today. What changed?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy 🧠 we’ll explore the Nostalgia Effect—why we spend more when we remember our past.

Let’s get into it.

The Psychology of the Nostalgia Effect 🧠

At our core, we’re social beings. We want need to feel connected to others.

And researcher Jannine Lasaleta discovered one *super effective* way to get people to feel connected…

Help them revisit fond memories of the past.

She and her research team found nostalgia fills us with a sense of connection and belonging.

And because those feelings fulfill our basic needs, we view money as less important and desirable.

So when we feel nostalgic, we part with money more easily *and* spend more.

shut-up-and-take-my-money-futurama.gif | Trouble Free Pool

That’s why smart marketers weave bits of the past into everything these days.

Like pharmaceutical companies using ‘70s songs in their commercials to appeal to baby boomers.

You already know emotions drive our buying decisions.

This is the hyper-specific version of that.

By tapping into the power of nostalgic memories, you can help your customers feel the warm, fuzzy feelings of social connection.

Which means—you guessed it—more sales for you.

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?


Modernize icons from the past

The year is 2016.

You’ve never heard of COVID. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. And there’s a… Squirtle in the tree?!

20 years after being released on our Nintendo Game Boys, Pokémon was transformed into an augmented-reality game we could play on our smartphones.

By modernizing a game most of us loved playing as kids, Pokémon Go generated over $1,000,000,000 in revenue…

Within the first year.


Use storytelling to evoke desired emotions

For the 2023 holiday season, Amazon partnered with Hungry Man to release a commercial called “Joy Ride.”

It featured three lifelong friends longingly watching kids sled down a snow-covered hill—something they couldn’t do anymore because of their aging bodies.

Until one friend purchases seat cushions from Amazon.

As they fly down the hill laughing, the scene flashes back to when they were happy little girls sledding down that same slope. 🥺

Amazon’s use of storytelling to evoke nostalgia and joy paid off BIG TIME.

Their Q4 sales increased by 14%, netting ~$170,000,000,000.

Bonus nostalgia points: The instrumental version of “In My Life”—a beloved ‘60s song by The Beatles—played softly in the background.

I’m not crying. You’re crying!


Sell to a specific generation

Calling all millennials: Grab your Lisa Frank binders, backpacks, and… hotel rooms?

Yup, that’s the technicolored hotel room of our childhood dreams.

The popular ‘90s brand Lisa Frank has collaborated with numerous successful companies over the past few years.

From Orly and Morphe to Crocs and—just to name a few.

That’s not a coincidence.

Millennials are BIG fans of the past and, along with Gen Z, are more likely to buy something that makes them feel nostalgic.

Psst… those two generations make up ~50% of the ENTIRE consumer market.

The Short of It 💥

It’s 2024, and the saying “Everything old is new again” couldn’t ring more true.

That’s why smart marketers use nostalgia all the freakin’ time.

And no, it never gets old. 😉

Because selling more isn’t about selling a product or service.

It’s about how you make your customers feel.

*That’s* the game-changer.

Until next time, happy selling.

🐦 Your Brainy Tweetable

Fairytales aren’t just for kids. Ask Disney.

They make BILLIONS each year thanks in part to their child-free visitors.

How? By tapping into the Nostalgia Effect.

We yearn for our past. We’ll gladly buy a ticket + mouse ears to relive it.

Tweet this now >



Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

When you’re ready, there are a few ways we can help:

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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