Nostalgia makes a comeback in TV ad-land

May 14, 2009

The recession is bringing back the strangest characters.  Rising from their graves like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead are people we thought had been buried decades ago.

The Milky Bar Kid is one, Persil mum is another and, inevitably, the Hovis bread delivery boy struggling up his cobbled hill while the brass band plays on.

What next? Bing Crosby singing about Shell perhaps or the famous Smash-peddling Martians who thought it was so funny that Earthlings bothered to peel potatoes?

Advertising experts believe nostalgia works because it takes adult consumers back to a time when they were young and without any worries. Never mind recession, the old ads say, these are value brands that have stood the test of time.

Marks and Spencer has been trying a similar tack with the launch of its 75p plain jam sandwiches. “For those who haven’t eaten one for years, one bite takes you straight back to your childhood,” runs the blurb.

The old ads are peculiarly effective transports to the past. Some of us go so far back we can still hear the jingle from Esso Blue adverts and remember those gobsmacked housewives comparing the whiteness of their newly washed sheets with Daz man. Ah, takes you back …

Are there any old adverts that you would like to see come back?

(Hamlet cigars – Ed)


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Alka-Seltzer “Lifeboat”, possibly the best TV commercial ever made….

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

In efforts to stop you reaching for the ‘value’ products in these tough times major brands are trying remind you of times gone-by, when things were better or reminding you of your childhood. Hovis led the way with their iconic TV ad from last year which showed the boy running through the ages with his loaf under his arm but now there is nostalgia overload on our screens. has a few of the current ones to view all in one place.

Posted by Jason Edge | Report as abusive