Editor's comment: Nokia shows the future of retro

As the old joke has it, nostalgia isn't what it used to be. Everyone knows that reading the entrails is a dangerous business, but if looking forward is risky, what about looking back?

Cadbury's Wispa capitalised on affections for the 80s using the power of noughties media. The bubbly bar is back and here to stay, with Wispa Gold ready to cash in on support of Team GB at London 2012.

Sweet memories of childhood and confectionery: it all works. What about mobile phones, though? Doesn't our fondness for old technology work best when it's dead and buried? Witness the fashion for tattoos of cassettes and typewriters.

Well, Nokia hopes that its latest campaign (see page 3 of this week's Marketing) recaptures the glory days before iPhone stole all its smartphone clothes. It has a new phone and operating system to talk about, but the creative executions feature 'tiles' reminiscent of the old 'Snake' game that was so popular on early Nokia handsets.

Will youngsters, currently nagging their parents to fill their Christmas stocking with the latest gadgets, get this reference?

Perhaps the creators of such advertising miss the point. After all, there is nothing very 'old school' about Nokia's media strategy, which is all blipverts and page takeovers. What about a nice colour DPS in the Sunday supps?

But there is a link with the anger of The Smiths' fans over the perceived exploitation of a much-loved B-side in Adam & Eve's Christmas ad for John Lewis. Professional misery-guts Morrissey didn't mind, though; and for the many non-fans, it's just a nice song with appropriate lyrics.

Connecting with your target audience is the key, even if the details of any nostalgic element goes right over their heads.



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