Trends Briefing: The Impact of Nostalgia
Thursday 25th May 2023
The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. But did they do it better?
On our consumer sentiment tracker we ask a question designed to measure how nostalgic people are. It asks people to say whether or not they think life was better, worse or the same for people like them 50 years ago. We’ve asked it every month for five years and the results are surprisingly volatile: we’ve found consistently that changes in how people are feeling in the present can dramatically affect their views of the past.
We’re most nostalgic when we’re least optimistic.
Personally, politically and commercially, nostalgia can be tempting. The search for a better yesterday is present in election campaigns, branding and all manner of small conversations. It’s very tempting to look at the troubles we face today – a cost of living crisis, housing in short supply, public services in peril, the climate under threat and a land war in Europe – and yearn for the sepia-tinged golden age of our childhoods. But is it true?
We’ll be exploring trends in nostalgia, what’s driving it and how it might develop in the future at our next trends briefing on May 25th. We’ll include examples of how brands and businesses leverage nostalgia and an assessment of the implications for organisations of our current nostalgic climate.