T’WAS BETTER IN YE OLDE DAYS!

By the mid-2000, the retro trend was already well established in graphic design and general pop culture:  popular television series such as Mad Men, the return of the vinyl LPs and the retrogaming fad (think 1984 arcades). This blast from the past is a clear indicator of one strategic notion: nostalgia sells. The food industry is not excluded from the trend. On the contrary: the major players are foreseeing a valuable opportunity. In a world of processed foods, made of unpronounceable ingredients, manufacturers are aware that well-informed consumers are on the lookout for more authenticity.

With that in mind, in April 2009, Pepsico launched the Throwback product line, starring Pepsi and Mountain Dew, made with real sugar instead of corn syrup. To give the brands the full retro treatment, the products have been repackaged with their “good old day” look. These brands, which were first meant to be available in limited editions, have been included in the permanent Pepsico product catalog in March 2011. With a total revenue of about US$200 million per year, the success of this marketing strategy can be explained by the appeal to two distinct markets. First, the babyboomers, who will “reunite” with the product of their youths. Secondly, more surprisingly, the Y generation (born approximately between 1980 and 1996) who have raised the retro fad to an ultimate “cool” status: sharp and witty “youtubers”, they discover and enjoy the classic Pepsi ads with Cindy Crawford and Michael Jackson, with a mix of irony and nostalgia.

Another selling point supported by the retro trend: brand tradition and longevity. To celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2009, Danone introduced the Origines product line, offering 10 alternate packagings, inspired from the original graphic design platform.