Posts Tagged ‘Honda’

Retro ads ease recessionary pain?

Monday, November 23rd, 2009 by Chris Bull

Retro is big, there is certainly no denying that. Whether it is aviator sunglasses, leg warmers or a Casio digital watch, you don’t need Gok-Wan to tell you that the latest fashion was probably the latest fashion at some point in the past as well. This trend has also moved to food with the return of the likes of Monster Munch and Wispa.

Now ad execs have caught the bug with recent examples including Persil, Milky Way chocolate bars and Toys ‘R’ Us. It seems that in adland, retro is now, but why the resurgence?

Stephen Foley talked of this trend on American television earlier in the year on the Independent’s website. With regards to a McDonalds’ retro ad campaign, he comments: ‘It is meant to raise a familiar smile, a warm glow inside, the perfect antidote to the sub-prime nightmares and job-shearing chaos of the modern world’.

In the article Barnardo Revello, an editor at New York based post-production house Cosmo Street, comments: ‘It normally happens in times of economic trouble, when people reach for unifying values and marketers adopt an attitude of pulling together…when the economic difficulties give way to something better, then this style will no doubt give way to something with a bit more energy.”

Rune Gustafson, Chief Exec of Interbrand endorses these views and believes they hold just as true on this side of the pond: “In changing times people fall back on the brands they consumed earlier in their lives, when times were less uncertain. You could argue that the Seventies were hardly a golden age of security. But if you remember feeling secure and protected within the family from what was going on in the world, the past will certainly seem easier, more secure, safe. There’s certainly an element of escapism in all of this.”

So rather than there simply being a chronic lack of cash to develop new advertising creatives, ad execs are pandering to consumers desire to take comfort in something that is certain – the past. It is also rather convenient that retro ads cost nothing develop.

But in an age when the likes of Honda have been concentrating on producing technically astonishing and painfully cool ad campaigns, it is nice that something as simple as a cartoon with a catchy jingle can generate just as much buzz.

Of course there is a saturation point where people will begin to tire of the recycling of classic adverts, but until that point, we can all enjoy a bit of nostalgia and who knows, perhaps in 20 years we will see a Honda ad from the ‘noughties’ and revel in its simplicity and purity of approach.

About Chris Bull

Account Exec for Staniforth PR, based in the TBWA\ Building in Whitfield Street, London. Areas of interest include politics, the car industry and sport.