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Nostalgia marketing and (re-)enchantment

Journal article
Authors Benjamin J. Hartmann
K. H. Brunk
Published in International Journal of Research in Marketing
ISSN 0167-8116
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Business Administration
Language en
Keywords Enchantment, Nostalgia, Nostalgia marketing, Qualitative methodology
Subject categories Business Administration


Most marketing and branding activities are essentially concerned with enchantment—the rendering of the ordinary into something special. To create enchantment, companies are increasingly marketing past-themed brands and products. Yet, there is little research about why and how such nostalgia marketing creates enchantment for consumers. Building on different modalities of nostalgia identified in sociological literature (reluctant nostalgia, progressive nostalgia, and playful nostalgia), we analyze the creation of enchantment through a longitudinal, qualitative, multi-method program of inquiry. We find three routes to enchantment grounded in different nostalgia modes: (1) re-instantiation (symbolic retrojection into a past), (2) re-enactment (reflexively informing the present with past-themed brands and practices), and (3) re-appropriation (ludic re-interpretation of the past). By unfolding the different ways in which marketers can press rewind to create enchantment, we discern important implications for theorizing and managing past-themed brands in terms of marketing strategy, targeting and positioning, brand experience design, and marketing communications. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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