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Can nostalgia restore the pride of major renowned brands?

By Dominic Omondi | May 2nd 2017
By Dominic Omondi | May 2nd 2017

Nokia 3310 will finally reach Kenyan stores before end of this month, offering a long-awaited re-union with phone lovers of one of the most loved and cherished mobile handsets.

Nokia, which capitulated after tidal wave of digital onslaught, will be banking on nostalgia to bring it back from obscurity.

The Nokia 3310 was a key affair, each key with three or more letters, and this month, Kenyans who stayed loyal to the Nokia brand until it dissipated will have a chance to feel its make over with the promise of battery life that its predecessor was loved for.

News that Nokia 3310 would be making a comeback got some people excited. Kenyans, especially those who were among the first to own handsets and sim-cards back then, recalled the fond memories of how buying a phone, SIM card and credit was a costly affair.

Nokia is not the only brand that fell victim to the digital whirlwind. American technology company Kodak’s film cameras were also rendered obsolete by the advent of digital technology.

Four years after the company stopped making digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames, Kodak made an attempt to join the digital fray with the unveiling of Kodak Ektra- an android phone.

Leather wrapped

CNN noted that the device is “packed into a retro-style body reminiscent of an old Kodak camera” with such features as “a big f/2.0 aperture lens, leather wrapped around the surface and a curved edge, which makes it easier to hold.” Kodak, just as Nokia, is tapping into nostalgia to make a comeback.

However, Nokia will not be the first company to use nostalgia to win customers- or tapping into fond memories. Other products have also tried to use nostalgia to make a comeback include Sunblest bread and Treetop.

Sunblest, which was popular in many Kenyan households in the 1990s also tried to make a comeback, once again with the objective of riding on its past glory.

“Aligning marketing strategies with emotion has already proven to be successful, but tapping into fond memories can be an invaluable tactic, especially for engaging millennials,” said Forbes Magazine in article this year.

But the magazine added that using nostalgia can also backfire. “Brands who rush into employing retro-strategies without placing the modern world in context may be seen as out of touch — or worse, irrelevant,” noted Forbes, adding that the key is to create an emotional hook using nostalgia while also offering something new - the perfect combination of past and present.

Nokia 3310, for example, will come with the Internet, which has become a must-have for most mobile phone users. Kodak Ektra has a USB type-C port on the side, “so you can easily port photos onto your computer. It also comes with 32GB of storage, which means you won’t need to transfer photos over right away,” according to a review by CNN.?

Treetop juice was the other popular refreshment during the festive season. Last sold in 1995, this once popular juice will be hoping to have the same effect as in the early 1990s, having been acquired by Bernard Njoroge, a 43-year-old former director at juice processor Del Monte Kenya.

It is packaged in bottles of 330ml and above. This marks a departure from the old Tree Top that was available in the orange colour and came as a concentrate.

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