“Harnessing Nostalgia” for Brands in Esports


In our previous article we mentioned the power of “Harnessing Nostalgia” which is extremely timely given the explosive success in recent weeks of “Pokemon Go.”

What is Nostalgia and how is it relevant to Esports? Defined by Dictionary as,

“A wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.”

Pokemon Go as discussed by Gary Vaynerchuck in his recent article regarding Nintendo does a great job of combining tech and nostalgia,

Pokémon GO plays off of nostalgia, which is a huge draw in app culture. It taps into emotions and storytelling that gives that brand a foot into the door of their consumers’ hearts.

For those brands that believe they have nothing to do with gaming and nostalgia because they are not endemic players within the Esports Ecosystem, let me tell you a story of my youth. When I was playing (in my opinion the best first person multiplayer game of all time) “Goldeneye 007” for the Nintendo 64 there was always the challenge of having to make sure the “cartridge” loaded correctly into the console or it wouldn’t display correctly on the screen. This could be a result of misfeeding the cartridge, dust, dirt, etc.

Aside from blowing on it and tapping it on something hard, one of the solutions that I know was always discussed in my middle school was to use a Q-tip to clean out the cartridge. Now as an adult who hasn’t played Goldeneye in over a decade, every time I use or see a Q-tip in my house the first thing that pops in my head is using the Q-tip as a means to clean out the cartridge, because it was always the Q-tip that enabled me to play my favorite game at the time.

The Q-tips marketing strategy meeting, in an effort to focus on the multiple uses of Q-tips aside from as a hygiene product, could harness the nostalgia of gaming and produce a commercial of nothing but the multiple uses of Q-tips in cleaning gaming equipment that we all fondly remember and market to the Esports industry customer segment.

For a great video example of harnessing nostalgia in Marketing, look at Mazda’s commercial.

The gaming industry and Esports Ecosystem is going through a glacial shift. This glacial shift is a result of the generations who had Nintendo & Sega consoles along with “first generation multiplayer” PC games that become the primary consumer demographic for large goods such as houses and vehicles. Where this adoption of gaming generally occurred as a teenager, the current generation of children are being handed their first video game extremely early on platforms such as cell phones and tablets. I am sure you have all seen a mother or father hand their young child some sort of electronic device to play “Angry Birds” or “Candy Crush.”

The verticals for video games as platforms for other verticals is nearly infinite. Just as comic books led to blockbuster movies and amusement parks, video games can act as platforms for movies (such as Angry Birds or Warcraft) and other business verticals. When Pokemon first came out, there was very little focus on cell phone camera software and hardware, so Pokemon Go was technologically impossible. Today though, nearly 20 years after Pokemon first debuted, “Apps” and cell phone technology have made “Pokemon Go” add nearly $7 billion dollars of value to Nintendo stock in less than two weeks. For perspective, the entirety of the Marvel movies series (37 films including Iron Man, Avengers, Thor, Spiderman, and all of their sequels etc) have made approximately $19 billion dollars. The amount of money spent on producing just one of the Marvel movies compared to developing the Pokemon Go application is vastly different.

Brands that are endemic or non-endemic to the Esports industry can use video gaming as a mechanism to connect with their targeted consumer demographic and harness nostalgia as the means to do so. Through methods such as co-branding, non-endemic gaming industries can tap into the Esports customer demographics. Another example is the co-branding of Nintendo and Yogurtland that is currently on-going.

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