What ‘90s Nostalgia Means For Your Brand

Child of the 90sAlthough the ‘90s weren’t that long ago, Millennials are nostalgic for the past. They wish for the simpler times when life wasn’t so stressful and the biggest decision was which Beanie Baby to buy. Now, they face high unemployment rates and uncertainty about their future. Understandably, they seek familiarity and reminders of a childlike state to provide them with comfort amidst confusion. What started off as retro revival as an escape from reality has quickly become a full-blown phenomenon. Millennials have a soft spot for their childhood and as a result, the return of ‘90s culture is being seen across all industries.

Everyday, it seems like there’s “breaking news” of the ‘90s popping up again. Lately, much of the buzz has been about “Girl Meets World,” the sequel to the hit show “Boy Meets World”, which will feature many of the original stars. And of course there’s the highly anticipated Package Tour featuring New Kids On The Block, 98 Degrees, and Boyz II Men. But that’s certainly not all. No Doubt recently reunited, and Destiny’s Child performed together at the Super Bowl. Matchbox 20 is back, Kriss Kross is returning, and Backstreet’s back…alright! New boy band and girl bands are also taking over, and you can’t forget the Spice Girls reunion tour a few years ago, followed up by their performance at the London Olympics. Millennials are emotionally invested in the return of the ‘90s and feel a closeness to the culture in which they grew up. They’re eager to attend these events, share ‘90s news with friends, and they look forward to the future while paying tribute to the past.

Nickelodeon jumped on this trend a while back with “The ‘90s Are All That”, a late-night block of TV shows from this decade. Even Lisa Frank is splashing color into today’s culture with an app and a limited…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Most of the role models and leaders in my life have been Gen Xers so far."

–Male, 16, WI

Instagram has reached 700 million active users, and its growth has been speeding up. The app hit the new user mark just four months after reaching 600 million, and the introduction of Instagram stories in August may be a major contributor to its accelerated growth. The feature has a reported 200 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’s 161 million. Overall, Instagram now has twice the user base of Twitter and is quickly approaching the coveted 1 billion user mark that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger have reached. (TechCrunch)

Millennials are using social media and YouTube to decide what to buy. A U.K. study found 32% of 18-24-year-olds are using social media to research their purchase decisions before checking out, and 25% are using video platforms like YouTube. There are also signs they’d like to search for products on social media: 25% of U.K. 18-24-year-olds reported the desire to search media based on their lifestyle and 23% would like search to understand their current mood. These findings, paired with the detailed targeting available to advertisers, are changing the consumer journey from search query to cart. (AdvertisingWeek)

Millennials are keeping 70% of their money in cash, reluctant to invest in anything, from stocks to their own retirement plans—according to new BlackRock research. Clearly impacted by the Great Recession, Millennials are most likely to agree, "What you might earn investing isn't worth the risk of losing your money," and a third say “they learned what not to do with their money” from watching their parents. They also tend to undervalue the potential returns of investments by millions of dollars, which is not good news for their futures—at their current rate, most Millennials will have less than $1 million saved for retirement. (TheStreet)

Influencer marketing is proving its worth. Though marketers have worried about determining ROI with the approach, one report is claiming it’s more effective than advertising alone, showing a direct lift in results rates of up to 30%. Across 450 influencers and 11 campaigns, the expansive research compared results from consumers exposed to ads featuring influencers versus control groups, overwhelmingly showing increased action when an influencer was involved. Good news for marketers, who spent $570 million on influencer marketing on Instagram alone last year. (Adweek)

The Amazon Echo can now help pick your outfit—and tell you when you don’t look good. LED lights and a depth-sensing camera will let the new Echo Look take pictures of any look, and “Style Check” software “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists” to evaluate which outfit is best, and lets you compare pictures of multiple outfits, from multiple angles. Amazon’s already extensive product recommendations could feasibly be a part of this product’s future—and, if all goes well, a drone will ship the recommended new clothes to your door. (Quartz)

“I want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

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