Companies reselling old products with a modern twist

Global Business

It seems you can’t turn on the TV without seeing an old show with a modern twist.

CGTN’s Phil Lavelle takes a look at the new trend.

Everything from “Will & Grace” and “Twin Peaks” to “Dallas” and “Dynasty” have had the refresh treatment, while new versions of shows like “Roseanne” and “Magnum PI” are in the works.

Even new offerings like Netflix hit, “Stranger Things,” hark back to a nostalgic era which seems to hit the sweet spot for viewers.

And advertisers are capitalizing on that. Nostalgia is really booming in advertising.

Spotify’s brought back the hit movie, “The NeverEnding Story,” while beverage maker Sunny Delight’s energetic teenagers from the nineties are back (along with their exasperated mother) and in their thirties now.

Jason Pires is a Marketing expert and CEO of MVC Agency in Los Angeles. “Nostalgia’s a big deal because it connects us with our past”, he said. “It connects us with previous experiences and things that are valuable to us and it gives us a sense of reference moving forward.”

But he points out that there is an exact science here. It’s not just a case of bringing an old idea back for the sake of it. It has to be done correctly, or not at all: “If you get it wrong and it’s a bit like “That’s not how I remember it”, then people feel like you’re just trying too hard to do something that connects with them and they feel like they’re being patronized to some extent. But if you do it right, it can be absolutely amazing and can revive all of these great emotions that people have within them. And it can be exciting as well.”

Nintendo is a classic example of a company that’s relying on nostalgia to drive sales. It had huge success in the 1980s and 1990s with the likes of the Game Boy, the SNES and Nintendo 64.

But sales dwindled and even though it had later hits with the Wii and Switch, it hasn’t been able to match those of its heyday. Rather than giving up on hardware and going down the software-only route like its one-time arch rival, Sega, it’s capitalizing on its old titles: the likes of Zelda and Mario – the latter of which has just been re-released for all of its new consoles to rave reviews and is also one of the top downloads on iOS and Android devices.

Gaming expert, Ray Carsillo, explained why those old ideas are timeless. “We know what we’re getting when we get a Mario or Legend of Zelda, any of these great, old school games, we know what to expect so we know that our money will be well spent. They add new mechanics and obviously the graphics have gotten better, so the characters may stay the same but they have grown and developed over the years, kind of like a lot of comic book characters.”

Lily Kipper runs iconic LA toy store, Kip’s Toyland. She’s seeing a direct correlation between nostalgic ads and sales of old games.

“I’ve noticed different companies are now going that route, labeling toys as retro, going back to the basics. Like building blocks are making a really big comeback. Customers are really happy to see that – especially in such a technology based generation. This still works.”

During the lucrative Christmas and Holidays shopping season, prepare to say to yourself, on more than one occasion ‘that takes me back!’