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Inside of nostalgia marketing and how nonprofits can use it

Nhu Te
4 min read
Jan 17, 2024 1:07:11 PM
064: Inside of nostalgia marketing and how nonprofits can use it

Nostalgia marketing made its mark in 2023, with brands resurfacing millennial fan favorites like McDonald’s celebrating Grimace’s birthday, Mattel reinventing Barbie, or even Amazon reviving its 1999 “Sweatermen” campaign.

Why does nostalgia work? For one thing, it taps into the positive emotions, memories, and experiences of the past. Plus, standing out can be tough in this attention economy—it can be the needle that further connects people to your mission.

We see it work in the consumer arena, but how can nonprofits use it… thoughtfully? Read along as I share resources on nostalgia marketing and how to connect it to your mission.

(Hint: It’s a segmentation tool 😉)

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Inflight Briefing-assets

Snackable snippets 

Keeping your storytelling fresh and engaging 🎧
In light of the theme of this week’s brief, I wanted to resurface this conversation between Noah and Cindee Starkie, VP of Marketing and Communications at Starlight Children’s Foundation. In particular, Cindee emphasizes the team’s efforts on new ways to expand their storytelling so their audience doesn’t tune out.

“It’s about finding new moments of storytelling to help donors really understand how their dollars are making a difference, how this program continues to make a difference in these unique moments in time.”

This year will be rife with opportunities for creators, as 44% of brands plan on upping their creator investments. In our attention economy, people have grown tired of being sold to, so more brands are leaning on partnerships with both micro and macro creators to create more engaging content.

As you shape your content strategy, pay close attention to social This will be a key channel to focus on, as social commerce sales are expected to grow from $67 billion in 2023 to over $144 billion by 2027.

The power of nostalgia marketing 📖
We saw nostalgia make a big comeback in 2023. Likely driven by our post-pandemic era, nostalgia marketing has a hold on consumers, who are likely to spend money on goods and services that remind them of their childhood favorites.

However, it can be a little trickier for nonprofits to pull off. Look at your donor segments, how can you use nostalgia as an engagement tool? For example, if you’re a humanitarian aid organization for children, remind donors what it felt like to open their very first Furby for their birthday and offer the opportunity to recreate that joy for a child in need.

Google turns off cookies for 30 million Chrome users 📖
Google turned off cookies for 1% of Chrome users, impacting around 30 million people. Despite Google and Apple giving us fair warning of the deprecation of cookies, advertisers aren’t ready.

The good news is that post-cookie solutions are starting to roll out—like Google’s Privacy Sandbox. Keep this in mind as you expand your digital marketing, and plan so your team isn’t blindsided when cookies finally go away completely by year’s end.

Increasing engagement through audience segmentation 📽️
Audience segmentation is no longer a “nice-to-have.” It’s become an essential part of how nonprofit marketers strategize and connect with supporters. Imagine sending the same email to a major donor and a lapsed donor—doesn't make sense, does it?

In this on-demand webinar, Noah takes a deep dive into segmentation, showing you how to effectively identify key segments and deliver precisely targeted messages to the right audience.


In the news

The Super Bowl unites football fans worldwide, but it also serves as a prime platform for leading brands competing for coveted ad spots during the event. Already, five sweet brands have signed up to run ads during the big game on February 11, trumping the previous high of three in a single Super Bowl.

There are a few reasons for this surge: nostalgic marketing, more ad budget, and a chance to get in front of young people.


Earlier this week, Meta revealed plans to eliminate or consolidate certain detailed ad targeting options. This decision is driven by factors like limited usage, excessive granularity, or sensitivity concerns associated with certain topics.

The ad targeting options deemed "sensitive" are associated with interests linked to health, race, and/or ethnicity. This move is likely due to Meta’s past controversies over the unethical use of its ad targeting.

For your inspiration folder

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital needs no introduction as it is one of the leading organizations fighting childhood cancer. Rick Shadyac, President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, joins Jon and Becky on the We Are For Good Podcast to talk about community and collective generosity.

In both fundraising and marketing, we often lose focus on business and growth and we forget that people innately want to do good. Rick shines a light on that: “Humanity is good. What troubles me is all the focus we place on the negative things going on in the world. There are so many people that come together to do good, but they’re doing it quietly.”

Source: We Are For Good Podcast


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