Nostalgia is not a thing of the past – it sells, just ask Oxo as their classic advert returns to TV

March 25, 2010

Premier Foods have recently announced that Linda Bellingham will be returning to our screens as the Oxo “Super Mum”, albeit a generation on she will presumably have graduated to “Super Grandma”!!

Oxo logoCould it be that as the consumer faces a protracted period of enforced austerity as citizens of “bankrupt, broken Britain”, the advertisers and brand managers have decided that a good dose of old fashioned nostalgia is just the fillip we all need?! It might just make the bitter pill of the continuing recession, slightly easier to swallow.

There’s no doubt that the TV commercials of the 1970s evoke a feel good factor that we rarely find in contemporary society. Who can forget mother and daughter at the kitchen sink, extolling the virtues of “Mild Green Fairy Liquid”? Or indeed the amateurish looking, Doctor Who-eque aliens laughing at the human race’s labour intensive¬† potato peeling in the “For Mash get Smash” adverts? The fact that the re-constituted powdered potato left much to be desired, doesn’t seem to matter thirty years on!!

Nostalgia oozed from every pore of The Hovis TV adverts, as a baker’s boy clambered up the cobbled street, pushing his bread loaf laden bicycle, in an unidentified Victorian Yorkshire Hovis advertMill town. Again the fact that the street urchin probably returned to an orphanage after his fourteen hour shift at the bakery was conveniently overlooked!! Victorian England seemed idyllic in comparison to the strike torn Seventies society; in the same way that we romanticise the kitsch 1970s from the perspective of the twenty first century.

The TV commercials of the 1970s weren’t just comforting, but also creative. Cadburys called upon the work of the Cadbury Flakeclassic artists to inspire a backdrop for one of their products. Do you remember the exotic girl painting with her easel in the Monet-esque sweeping poppy fields in the 1973 Cadbury Flake advert? The Cadburys Flake Brand manager in conjunction with the advertising agency went one step further in a successive advert, introducing Van Gogh’s sunflowers to a scenario that included a classic romany caravan.

The strength of the commercials wasn’t just based on the powerful imagery, or humour, but the catchy jingles and slogans that accompanied them……only the crumbliest, flakiest songs would suffice!! The gauge of their success is that thirty years on, we still remember the brand, imagery, ditty and jingle.

Which adverts epitomise a golden past for you? Could it be the cheeky “Beanz mean Heinz” boys or the family aloft in the hot air balloon in the Nimble bread commercials………or possibly the shadowy, silhouetted James Bond figure, who’s death defying escapades came about all because “the lady loves Milk Tray”?

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