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If it’s not broken, don’t fix it

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‘Flashback Friday’ and ‘Throwback Thursday’ are now weekly norms for retailers aiming to fully capitalise on the ‘nostalgia trend’.

Ad week kicks off this week and in true celebratory fashion, Coca Cola is commemorating its100th year anniversary of the “contour bottle”, with a campaign featuring past icons Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Ray Charles being kissed by the famous container.

The campaign was announced at a Coca Cola launch event in Atlanta, following news that brands sales had taken a dip worldwide. The results highlighted that net income fell 55% in the company’s fourth quarter.

The retailer announced that in some areas, Coca-Cola just isn’t growing. This is put down to the quality of work, the execution not matching up to the marketplace or investments not being put in the right places. To overcome this decline, Coca Cola is hoping to reinvest productivity savings into marketing, with figures of up to $1bn to work with.

Global boss of Sparkling Brands, Katie Bayne, is supportive of the step saying, “The future of Coca-Cola’s marketing lies in experimentation with new media channels and technology”. The ‘I’ve kissed…” campaign will run for two weeks, starting 30 March outside Oxford Circus tube station, London. The television ad will be shown for a month.

Focusing on nostalgia is a strategic sales tactic implemented by Coca Cola, as consumers yearn for a bygone era. Research conducted at the University of Southampton and Minnesota found that nostalgia can affect a consumers ‘grasp on money’, making the customer feel socially connected to the product. This created a more relaxed atmosphere, less concerned with prioritising money. The researchers argued that as a result,” someone might be more likely to buy something .”

Wistfulness for a time past is also used to introduce the company’s heritage and evolution into the powerhouse it is today, with the traditional 100 year old ‘contour bottle’ reminding consumers of the brand’s simple recognition and fame with the use of star names.

Coca Cola’s Chief Executive, Muhtar Kent, is determined to keep marketing standards high, with the help of the company’s new Chief Marketing Officer, Marco de Quinto, while Marketing Strategy and Activation Director of Coca-Cola Great Britain, Bobby Britain, suggests that simplistic nostalgia is key to creating a classic:

“The Coca‑Cola Contour Glass Bottle is a design classic, which has stood the test of time and fashion changes.”

Coca-Cola will push its campaignwith 14 new and digital films, a new song on iTunes and an app to discover Coca-Cola’s history.

However, it isn’t just Coca Cola that is benefitting from consumer demand for the past, other retail giants have also got involved. Galaxy has been using its successful Audrey Hepburn app, inspired by class movie ‘Roman Holiday’ since February 2013. Playing Breakfast at Tiffany’s Moon River in the background, while a CGI Hepburn, introduces the icon to younger audiences and pushes the company’s endurance since 1960. Directed by Daniel Kleinman, the high tech advert took an overall seven months to create and was clearly seven months well spent. The ad has now run for two years, and the company is clearly thriving, having been ranked as the second best selling chocolate bar in the UK in 2014. Mars Inc has also announced this month it will be expanding in India

Making a brand timeless and clearly recognisable is a desirable aim for brands looking to stand the test of time. Maude Standish, a trend forecaster and director of strategy at the Los Angeles ad Agency Mistress believes that consumers appreciate reminiscing over past times. She said that people are “afraid of growing up fully- so they’re reaching for the equivalent of a security blanket”.

Though Coca-Cola chairman Muhtar Kent sees 2015 as “a transition year”, this will also involve a focus on the past. The firm is sticking to the notion that ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’.

Published on Monday 23 March by Rachel Gee

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