Retail in Asia

In Telligence

APAC food and beverage brands lean on nostalgia marketing amid turbulent times

Asia-Pacific food and beverage brands are looking to retro and vintage-themed product recipes, packaging, and marketing content to fuel consumer nostalgia, as shoppers in the region remain deflated about current macroeconomic headwinds.

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According to a recent consumer survey conducted by GlobalData, some 57 percent of APAC respondents said that they were extremely concerned about the cost-of-living crisis in the second quarter 2023.

Due to geopolitical tensions, climate change, the cost-of-living crisis, and economic uncertainty, the research firm said throwback marketing strategies are appealing to consumers, in light of the growing apprehensions.

Contemporary infused with the classic

Several APAC brands are leveraging this consumer sentiment by launching products with classic recipes or packaging that evokes nostalgia among older generations. Infusing vintage elements of past pop culture, historical, or social references into contemporary product and packaging formats allows companies to subtly hint at their longevity and heritage, without diluting their modern and trendy image, added GlobalData.

In March, Mamee-Double Decker launched a limited-edition line of its classic noodle snack, Mamee Monster, with the packaging label featuring the classic blue Mamee Monster mascot of the 1970s. Meanwhile, Bidor Kwong Heng also adopted a classic packaging design for its Angel line of sauces in Malaysia, while Pepsi-Cola relaunched its iconic Pepsi Blue in the Philippines in 2022.

Source: Pepsi-Cola

Throwback marketing increasingly popular in China post-pandemic

Chinese brands, including Nai Xue, Wang, Wahaha, White Rabbit, and Zhongxuega, are blending nostalgia and nationalism into their product packaging and marketing mix, continued GlobalData.

Both local and international brands have rolled out limited product packs featuring characters from popular old-fashioned cartoons, pop culture, and fashion and lifestyle trends that young Millennials and Gen Z adults know from their childhoods, with the limited-edition packaging often marketed as collectibles. Some campaigns are accompanied by social media activities that encourage consumers to share their memories, allowing brands to make personalised and emotional connections with consumers.

Similarly, foreign brands venturing into APAC markets are partnering with local heritage brands to tap into the nostalgia factor and gain a foothold in new markets, added GlobalData.

“When used appropriately, nostalgia can be a powerful motivator akin to health and environmental factors. Throwback marketing can appeal to consumer sentiments, even overriding their price sensitivity, when making a purchase decision,”said Bobby Verghese, consumer analyst at GlobalData.

“Alternatively, food and beverage brands can leverage throwback pricing from the 1980s or 1990s as a limited-time offer to grab consumers’ attention at a time when inflation is such a major concern. However, for nostalgia marketing to succeed, marketers need to time the campaign launch perfectly. Moreover, though the brand messaging targets an older generation cohort, it needs to be contemporised to suit present-day cultural and social sensibilities.”

For the report, GlobalData surveyed  6,438 respondents from Asia and Australasia during the second quarter of 2023.