We’re back with Round Two of “Now That’s What I Call Millennial Marketing!” Social sharing, selfie sticks, and Snapchat haven’t replaced the consumer’s need for nostalgia. Throwback marketing allows consumers to feel as though they’re buying a feeling rather than making a purchase.

What is the deeper meaning of this feeling? Trend forecaster Maude Standish was quoted in a 2015 Adweek article as saying, “Millennials are wistful for that time when our pre-9/11, pre-Great Recession, pre-24/7 cyber connected world seemed a lot less threatening and a lot more fun.” As Mastercard famously coined in 1997 – that feeling is priceless.

Let’s ride the wave of nostalgia and journey through more of the most successful throwback marketing campaigns to resurface. This round we’ll focus on the feel-good relics that are turning back up in fashion, design and film.


  • No brand from the ‘90s encapsulates an ease of sexuality and controversy like Calvin Klein. The “Re-Issue Project” was launched in 2014 and features nine limited-edition, modernized versions of CK’s most iconic ‘90s fashion pieces. The current campaign nods to the past through imagery and famous faces, including Lottie Moss, whose big sister Kate was supermodel extraordinaire in the ‘90s. The Biebs recreated one of the most recognizable underwear ads made famous by ‘90s hunk Mark Wahlberg. Calvin Klein also spun the successful I ______ In My Calvins ad into a Millennial-focused #mycalvins social media campaign.

  • Converse is embracing the fact that much of their core, kicks-loving fanbase are getting older, and that means our bodies, backs, and feet sadly need more support. The iconic brand re-designed their sneakers for the first time in 98 years when they introduced the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II. This next-gen sneaker provides a new foamy insole, tougher canvas, better ankle support, and a no-slip tongue. This ain’t your grandma’s sneaker though. The Converse II still have a cool factor that ties together the best of form and function.

  • Tons of fashion fads from the ‘90s are making a comeback, including goth lipstick, flannel shirts, and chokers. Even the wide-leg denim wonder JNCO is bracing for a new generation of counter-culture kids. It’s like middle school all over again. AS IF!


  • Many consumers are entering the next phase of adulthood and trading in their futons for financing a new home. Part of the fun of owning your own place is getting to decorate and design it just the way you want. The ‘90s is bringing back old design trends that are finding a new home amongst Millennial and Gen X homebuyers. Whether you had a fondness for flowery pastels, light wood accents or zen influences, your childhood home may have actually been cooler than you thought. Thanks, mom.


  • One of the most thrilling movies of the ‘90s was “Jurassic Park.” I can still remember my jaw dropping at those totally awesome special effects! Twenty-two years later, “Jurassic World” roared into theaters and was the fourth highest grossing film of all time. This T. Rex-sized franchise is set to return as part of a trilogy in 2018.

  • The Force awoke the most famous franchise in cinematic history for a whole new generation of fans. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” became the fastest film to gross $1 billion. Fans loved seeing their old friends Hans Solo, Princess Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO and (spoiler alert!) Luke Skywalker back on the big screen. Kids who saw “Star Wars” in 1977 are now sharing their lightsaber love with their kids and contributing to the over $250 billion in merchandise sales. The one-off flick “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” hits theaters in December.

  • I ain’t afraid of…women playing “Ghostbusters”! That was the talk of the town when Paul Feig decided to reboot 1984’s beloved “Ghostbusters” with an all-female cast. Millennials don’t play the gender card, and so by spinning our “Average Joe” heroes into “Average Jane” heroines, die hard fans or first time viewers got their streams crossed with a new perspective.

  • Great Scott! “Back to the Future” couldn’t quite manipulate the space-time continuum and grew up to be 30-years-old. Many brands that had cameos in BTTF and BTTF2 got on “hoverboard with the 30th anniversary fever. Pepsi and Nike, the two brands that had the most prominent placement in the films, both released limited edition products. Universal poked fun at itself by releasing a mock trailer for Jaws 19. Tony Hawk sort of rode a Hoverboard, and tons of brands had fun on social media celebrating “Back to the Future” Day.

  • From childhood to Hollywood: Here are some more kid classics that are getting a shiny new movie makeover. Wargames (1983), Police Academy (1984), Splash (1984), Flight of the Navigator (1986), Overboard (1987), Three Men and a Baby (1987), Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Flatliners (1991), Jumanji (1995), The Craft (1996)

It doesn’t look like Millennial love for the ‘90s is quieting down anytime soon. That’s even more reason to find an opportunity for your brand to creatively connect its roots into future marketing strategies.

Don’t forget to check out Part One and Part Three of “Now That’s What I Call Millennial Marketing.”

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