Chloe Fineman cries ugly in 90s video but still looks amazing thanks to Maybelline and...five more campaigns that mine nostalgia

Best trending ads series plus a curated pick of past campaigns that use a similar approach in some way.

Chloe Fineman cries ugly in 90s video but still looks amazing thanks to Maybelline and...five more campaigns that mine nostalgia
Campaigns using nostalgia

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion for brands, marketers, and content creators to create emotional connections with consumers. Some great ways to use nostalgia are to focus on genuine connections to past experiences; using iconic imagery and sounds, and creating a sense of community around shared memories. Here are some that do just that.

Ugly Cry | Maybelline

Maybelline New York launched a new digital campaign titled "Ugly Cry, Perfect Liner" featuring comedian Chloe Fineman to showcase the waterproof, smudge-proof, and 24-hour longwear benefits of the brand's all-new Tattoo Studio Ink Pen Eyeliner. The nostalgic video is inspired by 1990s (cough, Britney) music videos and features Fineman testing the durability of the eyeliner by crying and being exposed to rain - thus humorously demonstrating the liner's ability to withstand any situation without smudging or running! Fitting in with the 90s theme, Fineman's outfit in the video is nostalgic too, featuring a backless sequin top and silver baggy pants, while her hair is styled in a bright pink color with blonde roots.

Remake Challenge | Nestle Cremora | McCann Joburg  

The adverts for Nestle’s Cremora are instantly recognisable – but dated for a modern 21st-century audience. To show Nestle’s steps towards inclusion and diversity and to reflect the changing market who enjoy their products, they remade the famous ads with a more diverse cast. And subverted them. By remaking the advert and flipping the slogan of ‘it’s not inside, it’s on top’ to ‘it’s not on top, it’s inside’, Nestle was able to showcase that the phrase applied to people too. Focusing on inclusivity and allowing the inside of everyone to shine resulted in 57.3 impressions and 4 million engagements with the brand’s joy sentiment also increasing.  Learn more

TAG The Game | Unilever/Persil OMO | Lola MullenLowe

Older generations are forever claiming that children don’t want to play outside anymore. So, Persil – whose brand previously hinged on the fact that they can help children enjoy their youth by tackling the stains of playing outdoors – targeted kids in a forum they would most appreciate: video games. Okay, so it's not strictly nostalgia to the kids targeted but by repositioning the game ‘tag’ as a high-graphic, exciting video game, they were able to communicate to children the virtues of playing outside. This in turn helped promote their brand as custodians of youthful escapades in the mud (and winning the hearts of nostalgic parents everywhere in the process). Repurposing the playground game for a modern audience saw influencers targeted attracting many of their combined 10.2 million audience. The hoax was then revealed by the end of the influencers’ videos, revealing that the action-packed video game was merely running around outside.  Learn more

The Golden M | McDonald's | Weber Shandwick

During the pandemic, there was a rise in DIY hairstyling, and in Sweden McDonald's sought to lean into the return of the floppy haircut. They held a promotion centered on the "Golden M" haircut, which gained popularity in the 1990s due to its resemblance to the fast-food chain's iconic Golden Arches logo. The company set up a pop-up shop called the M Barber Shop, where customers could receive virtual appointments with a celebrity hairstylist to learn how to cut the Golden M style at home. The appointments sold out quickly and the promotion capitalized on the nostalgia associated with the haircut, which was made famous by celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and David Beckham, as well as the recent interest from K-pop stars BTS. Additionally, McDonald's Sweden launched The Golden M Detector, a mobile app that utilized AI and machine learning to identify Golden M haircuts in users' selfies and reward them with a free Big Mac.

Happy Birthday From Earth | Husqvarna | Weber Shandwick

Inspired by the Curiosity Mars rover singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to itself up in space, Husqvarna wanted to give something back to the intrepid explorer alone in the cosmos. So, through clever coding and a system update, they programmed all branded lawn mowers to play ‘Happy Birthday’ at the same time as a tribute to Curiosity. This helped reflect the brand’s tech-focused USP. Through engineering their products to do something out of this world, Husqvarna received coverage in 26 markets, 8.2 million video views, and an increase in brand exposure of 11000%, culminating in earned reach of 210 million. The brand’s website saw a 250% increase in visitors with time on the site boosted by 300%.

Stranger Duomo | Netflix 'Stranger Things'  | Dude Creative Network

The launch of Stranger Things season four in Milan needed to be impactful and the independent creative network DUDE certainly delivered with a three-day immersive launch experience that transported Milan back to the 1980s. The iconic Piazza del Duomo was transformed into a nostalgic haven, complete with vintage brands and a retro atmosphere. The activation began with a massive projection mapping on the façade of Palazzo Carminati in front of the Duomo, followed by a city-wide transformation to the 1980s. The immersive takeover included groups of rockers and 80s hipsters roaming the square, past editions of national newspapers and magazines, a roller disco, and an original vintage Milanese bus that offered an onboard trip into the famous Upside Down. The nostalgia overload was infused with Stranger Things vibes and icons, creating an unforgettable experience for Milanese citizens that made the show the talk of the city for the day.