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Memory Lane: More Brands Lure Buyers with Nostalgia

Memory Lane: More Brands Lure Buyers with Nostalgia

By Jeff Youngs, March 05, 2012
For a growing number of brands, from time to time, the theme du jour seems to be tickling the nostalgic sensibilities of American consumers-especially the generation of baby boomers who can afford more car at this point in their lives than at any other time.

The latest exemplar of this trend is Subaru , which has just launched a marketing campaign, supporting the 2012 Impreza , called First Car Story. It features a website, FirstCarStory.com , that allows users to "recreate their first car, tell their story, and see it turned into an animated video, which they can also set to music and narrate with their own voice," as the company said.

"Everyone loved their first car, no matter how bad, beat up, or borrowed," said Alan Bethke, director of marketing communications, in a Subaru press release. "The First Car Story campaign provides a creative outlet for reliving those unique, funny, unforgettable car experiences anyone who had a first car can relate to."

Arguably, Chevrolet  kicked off the latest nostalgia binge by choosing "Chevy Runs Deep" as its new marketing slogan last year, a tag line that simply begs for a strong vein of nostalgia.
So, for example, one of Chevy's first ads under the new campaign showed Americans across the generations with their Chevrolets. And another TV spot focused on Herb Younger, a boomer who, as the ad tells us, "twenty years ago ... was forced to sell his '65 Chevrolet Impala. In this true story,  Younger's family is able to retrieve the actual Chevy he gave up and bestow it upon him as a gift.

When Toyota  was trying to figure out how to make the biggest possible marketing splash with its advertisements in this year's Super Bowl-at a time when the brand is trying to let Americans know its supply and safety challenges are behind the company-it chose nostalgia, too. One of Toyota's ads focused on real Camry s that owners obviously had held onto for a very long time.

The message was about reliability, sure. But it also communicated that Toyota was a brand that could also bring some game to the automotive nostalgia derby-that's how long American boomers had been favoring the nation's best-selling car.

And it's certainly no accident that Dodge  has been using old monikers on new models, such as Challenger . The next example of its attempt to tap into nostalgia to position and sell cars will be the 2013 Dodge Dart .

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