Experts view: The power of nostalgia in Monsoon Marketing


It’s raining, quite literally, and like us, brands have rolled their sleeves to leverage the season to market their products right. Experts share a few insights and tips for brands to get monsoon marketing right with the power of nostalgia.

The best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain – Henry Wardsworth Longfellow

This weekend while cozying up on my sofa, my fingers navigated the laptop’s keyboard typing ‘Monsoon quotes’ for an Instagram story, it continued pouring outside. I came across an ad that took me back in the lanes of my childhood memories where we would make paper boats and float them in puddles of rainwater.

Such was the power of nostalgia evoked by the campaign. While rains come with their own pros and cons, especially in a city like Mumbai, a few brands like Paperboat have always proved their mettle in generating buzz around monsoon integrated product marketing. Some get it rightly done, others fail to create the mark. 

The power of nostalgia

saumil mehta“Leveraging on nostalgia to communicate a brand message is basically playing on the human longing for positive memories of the past”, said  Saumil Mehta, Group Solutions Manager, Schbang (now Saumil Mehta, VP, Integrated Solutions at Schbang)

According to him nostalgia advertising taps into the fundamental nature of the human psyche.

Every time we revisit a memory, we don’t only evoke the memory but can subconsciously remold it into a more pleasing version of the same.

Monsoon is one season that brings back a million memories. Right from the smell of wet mud after the first rain, getting wet in the season’s first shower, splashing in the puddles on your way to school, spotting a rainbow, or watching paper boats go by.

Mehta further added that most people prefer buying things which in some way are related to their pleasant memories; the objective of nostalgia marketing is to reinforce these positive associations with the brand.

With millennial being termed as nostalgic futurists, more and more brands are trying to use nostalgia as an effective tool to create a niche for themselves in the minds of this elusive target group.

surbhi-aroraSurbhi  Arora, Regional Head – Creative Strategy (North) is a firm believer of emotional branding and luckily, there’s something extremely innate about monsoon that gives birth to a vast spectrum of emotions – right from happiness, freedom, elation to anxiety, yearning, regret to contemplation, claustrophobia or even confinement.  “While the objective may differ from brand to brand, nostalgia is a strong marketable emotion that harmonizes the remembrance of the past and anticipation of the future, making it the perfect ad capsule to convey the brand directive.”

“Serve it like the comfort food they need to beat the grey and watch the magic unfold,” Arora said.

Ritik Kumar Singh, Creative Copy Writer, GozoopThe only thing that comes to Ritik Kumar Singh‘s, Creative Copy Writer, Gozoop (now Account Manager at Gozoop),
mind, when he thinks of monsoon, marketing, and social media, is ‘madness’.

Singh too thinks that while there are hundreds of ways to market anything, monsoon is special – people have so many feelings associated with it. Therefore, as long as your marketing message can connect with the masses, irrespective of how simple it is, it has the potential to be effective.

For example, some people really like their garam chai ki pyaali and pakode; but others may hate the traffic jams and train delays that are by-products of monsoon. So as long as you can answer the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the campaign, monsoon can be an amazing muse for any marketing campaign and not just for social media. “Love is another major theme that is often used by brands to foster a relationship with their potential customers. After all, what better season than monsoon to initiate a relationship,” he shared.

“Monsoon anywhere around the globe is a picturesque time of the year. Even simple activities like going Instagram/Facebook Live from a place like Marine Drive can go a long way,” Singh feels.

Also Read: 5 monsoon campaigns for some good old nostalgia…

jatin punamiyaHowever, for Jatin Punamiya, Account Director – FoxyMoron (now Senior Manager-Digital at Garnier), emphasizes not to force-fit brand for any occasion – be it monsoons or a celebrity’s birthday. That being said, if a brand is doing something of the monsoons, it should be about the season and how the brand is fitting in.

“Example a restaurant could run a great Instagram campaign which focuses on the beauty the monsoon brings, whereas a pharma company can run time-based ads about the medicines one would need during the season,” Punamiya added. 

Tips to engage with the audience during monsoons

Surbhi Arora

If I am looking to leverage the customer’s sentiments to persuade them into buying my point, I’ll begin with being an ally with relatable as well as useful information (because the rains may not help the cause at all). Case in point, automotive brands, and road safety during monsoon in India.

I’ll try to take them to a familiar place with visuals, sounds and if possible, touch. These hold the trigger to one’s fondest memories and transports them into happier times. A perfect example would be Paper Boat and how they made each one of us comfortable with their product even before we tasted them.

Lastly, I’ll avoid being a tone-deaf, jilted lover. Emotional blackmail may work for (legendary) brands like Nestlé Maggi, however, it may end up being a flop show for the ones who play on the borrowed sense of nostalgia.

Jatin Punamiya

Use the platforms for what they are meant to be. Keep monsoons at the forefront. Don’t try spreading yourself too thin. Take one idea and own it.

Saumil Mehta

A brand can leverage social media by forming positive associations with monsoon micro-moments and placing itself in the mind of the customer/consumer. It can actively take part in ongoing conversations & become a channel to transport the audience back in time through its interactive content. Encouraging customers to interact & share experiences created for them helps form a deeper and long-lasting connect with the brand which would foster brand preference & loyalty.

Ritik Kumar Singh

Monsoon or no monsoon, I strongly believe that the best type of communication is one that has a personalized feel to it. This applies to all forms of marketing communication too. Speaking of monsoon, it is that time of the year when channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are flooded with stories and images. People love expressing themselves. Brands should therefore be giving their audience something to have conversations around. It obviously requires a thorough understanding of the audience, which is the difficult part. But once that is done and the cart is pushed, your audience will do the rest.

(Updated on June 09, 2021)