What Millennial Nostalgia Means for TV and Film

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Marketing teams and video content producers have learned the secret to reaching millennials: nostalgia. Why are millennials so uniquely impacted by this strategy?

group of millennial girls watching tv together

If you’ve been on the Internet recently you’ve probably seen your fair share of click bait articles about nostalgic trips down memory lane with “10 things you wish you kept from your childhood” or “15 Things They Got Rid of in the 90’s.”

Trending once again

This nostalgia trend has been growing for quite some time. Marketers have realized that nostalgic marketing works well on millennials and this has caused some products to come back like Crystal Pepsi and Juicy Couture tracksuits. This trend has bled into film and television in different forms. Ghostbusters, Fuller House, Girl Meets World or the upcoming and much anticipated Gilmore Girls revival take a direct approach, they pick up where they left off to make the (mostly Ghostbusters, ecto-1, nostalgiamillennial) fans happy, and they are full of fan service. This is working wonders on family shows because millennials are the nostalgic generation. Many millennials are either starting families or wishing they could, so these family-focused shows and movies not only give the nostalgia factor but the idea that you can now pass these shows on like heirlooms to the next generation just tugs on the heartstrings.

There are also the shows that take place in a time that millennials are nostalgic for. Shows like Netflix’s new Stranger Things hits on this truthful portrayal of what so many millennials feel is their childhood, but it doesn’t stop there. As a society we seem to be nostalgic for any time period, which can be seen in the popularity of shows like Mad Men and Downton Abbey. We often think of “the good old days” because it’s easy to gloss over the hardships and oh so easy to remember the really cute fashion trends and interior designs.

What does this all mean?

Basically we live in a time that feels awful. Many millennials are unhappy and depressed for one reason or another and they crave escape. When millennials think about time periods of the past, whether they’ve lived through them or not, they think of a time before technology kept us constantly connected and “on.” Nostalgia is a way for millennials to escape. With the success of many nostalgia-focused TV and film it is clear that this trend is here to stay, at least for a little while longer.

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