Branding is considered as a process to distinguish the product offerings from the firm, out of the
competition. Developing a different brand name, unique packaging, overall new design and feel
is how a brand is created. Retro marketing is about associating nostalgia with a present age
product and making it attractive.
Brands are always supported by material markers and culture. By creating a brand identity;
branding helps to create an association with the product and help customers reduce the risk
associated with the purchase decision of the product.
Retro marketing is a process of creating brand image based on product’s heritage or nostalgia.
Retro marketing can help in changing customer’s perspective about the product itself and help in
making it fashionable and attractive.
Management will deliberately look into the past and recreate factors that could help them to
revive the present products and create value for those products. Stephen Brown coined the term
“retro revolution” in which the revival or reinvesting past brands has been an attractive option
for the marketers.
Old brands retain the charm of being old and the nostalgia created in the minds of the customers
helps to create a value for the brand. This appeal is called as retro appeal.
Retro brands can be found everywhere. What exactly is the contribution made by the “retro” to
the brand? We can say it as a brand or product which has enjoyed a successful past, but went to
the history books only to be resuscitated by the marketing managers. More and more retro brands
are given rebirth these days and chances are that there will be more in the future than today. As a
generation holds good memory of the product and an emotional attachment to the product, there
are chances that those emotions will turn into the sales for the company.
Retro products or brands can be classified as two.
The first one is just a copy of the old product. It’s called as replicas or reissues.
The other one is all around reinventing of the old product in a new and modern outfit which
carries similar clues and feel of the old product.
REPILICAS OR REISSUES
Most of these brands carry a cult status for their heritage and pedigree. These brands will be
having the same products made in the same formula for years. The recipe is not changed
generation after generation and it didn’t affect its appeal.
One of the biggest examples for it is the Morgan cars and Ray ban sunglasses.
Morgan cars which was there from 1930’s has
seen few mechanical changes and very few
modern design changes .But the appeal is that
it is still built on the ash wood frame which is
quite unique and increases its appeal considering
modern cars are made of light and sophisticated
Ray ban sunglasses from 1937 haven’t changed their
design of the aviator sunglasses which was inspired
by the Vietnam War periods. They still add few
modern elements but the retro styling gives a class to
MORGAN THREE WHEELER
RAYBAN SUNGLASSES AVIATOR
NEW AND OLD FIAT 500
MODERN RETRO BRANDS
These are the brands which are reinvented from the past and are given more modern features and
facilities .But they still carry that old charm and design elements to have a nostalgic feeling
about the product. Usually the marketers try to glorify the past to the customers and try to evoke
fond memories associated with it.
These products will be highly modern in
terms of the function approach but will be
less cared about the modern design approach
and is more cared about the fun based
approach of the product.
The new beetle which was introduced in the
century was a retro version of the old
Volkswagen beetle which sold millions and was
called as “People’s car”. Later with the entry of
low cost quality Japanese cars the beetle lost
the race and has to be reinvented from the
scratch. It was considered to be an instant
success and carved out a niche market for the
modern retro cars.
The BMW also tried to emulate the success story
of the Volkswagen and they introduced the new
mini cooper which was a modern version of the
iconic mini. This was followed by the Italian
giants - Fiat introducing their old school boy Fiat 500 to have their share in the modern retro cars
OLD AND NEW BEETLE
NEW AND OLD MINI
Boomers and Xers were found to be the audience who had an affinity and memories about the
retro brands and they were overly attracted to it .But what is the reason that the new generation
found in those brands that it was an instant hit with them also. As a matter of fact millennia’s
always tries to draw inspiration and overlook ideologies to be experimental. The stories and the
experiences shared with them created a classic image and awareness about the old brands. These
brands come with classic or fun filled attributes, so that they feel unique compared to other
Interestingly these millennia’s also are influenced by the internet for their attraction towards
retro brands. Internet provided a greater platform with easily available pictures, videos and
documents about the past and helped them to create awareness about the brand. The campaigns
using the internet such as social Medias and video sharing websites like YouTube also helped to
spread the feel of the retro brands, music and life styles associated with it, which gave an
evergreen experience for the brand.
Retro branding is not creating new; it’s just revisiting the old history of the brand and
rejuvenating that history. Retell that history, may be real or with some imaginative past. Full
load of fun and charm helps the marketers to attract the customers towards the brand.
For a brand to be retro, it should have a history to tell. The marketer will give emphasis on that
history and their expertise on that product. Then they try to recreate campaigns from the past to
be unique from the competitors.
Considering it’s so much expensive to build a brand from scratch and to invest in it till it
becomes a success to give profits. Companies are now preferring to rejuvenate old brands, as it’s
less expensive and times consuming. Consumers also see it less risky as opposed to trying out
new brands compared to the retro brands.
Retro brands has to have few attributes when they try to connect with the consumers
Authenticity – it should be true and real
Simplicity – it should help them to less, valuable time and follow simple lifestyle
Identity – it should give them individuality and a philosophy to follow
Membership –it should make feel communicated with common interests and brotherhood.
Independence – it should give them sense of freedom, empowerment and out of the box
Fun – it should make them feel lots and lots of fun.
Even sometimes retro brands always have to satisfy those traits which the successful brands have
The strength of the retro brand is the charm with which it carries the consumers to a fancy world.
It makes them to create memories of a relaxing world where there is no morning, afternoon,
evening and night continuous aggressive marketing that makes them irritated. This type of
marketing tactics of competitive world will be made forgotten by the campaigns of retro brands
which will be highly creative with a soft retro feel full of fun, music and freedom.
Another is the campaigns that portray the old world as a best place to live and marketers portray
their products as the best way to relive those golden age. A brand that stages a comeback should
also consider the needs of the modern world. It should be classy in appeal, should have
contemporary functionalities like an old wine in a new bottle which is a sweet output.
Even some brands are considering retro categories for their normal products examples like
Adidas originals and Puma classics. These can be considered as examples on how established
brands are serious about retro branding and positioning them as their top of the range products.
Retro brands also have the power to create a sense of craftsmanship with moral values from a
time when world is safer and less commercialized. Even for a retro brand, exact reproduction of
the past is very dangerous and could lead to a failure. The brand should try to incorporate the
modern amenities to their products and provide lots of fun with their products.
OLD AND NEW VESPA
Indians love to be associated with a product through emotions. Indians have an emotional
attachment and same can be told with the products that have higher market longevity.
If we take automobile sector as an example, three vehicles
in India are considered as iconic.
Royal Enfield, HM Ambassador and M&M Jeeps.
Of these RE Bullet and Mahindra jeep is still going strong
and built their own empire based on the above told
Royal Enfield which was started in England and later shifted to Chennai, India is a close to heart
bike in India. The thumping exhaust note has been there
in the streets of India for decades and still the overall
British feel hasn’t changed. It still tells the stories of
being British and how it served the army and police in
Same is the case about ambassador and Mahindra jeep,
both born in overseas and became cult classics in India.
Mahindra relaunched the old Willys inspired jeep as
Thar with modern facilities but with the same
In the two wheeler segment, Indians revived the memories of old Piaggio Vespa in 80’s and 90’s
by its relaunch in 2012 with bright fun colors but with same classic
design. It was a hit and helped in re-living those
golden memories about the brand and
establishing it in Indian minds after 13
years of absence.
Royal Enfield also released a café
racer called continental gt which re-lived the memories of British youth celebrating freedom post
world war by riding at high speeds in the motorway from one café to another. This was
considered to be a culture and RE invested so much on recreating those memories that the launch
occurred in one of the famous café in Britain which was part of that revolution.
The next big thing in the motoring world is reviving the old brands that were once house hold
names such as Yamaha bolt which is a café racer and the Indian scout which is a cruiser based
upon old scout. These bikes feature same design clues but new mechanicals.
Every generation looks its past for fond memories and experiences to learn. They understand the
positives and negatives with the past and try to live the present and the future better. Brands also
have emotional attachment to the past and 80’s saw the revival of 50’s and 2000’s saw the
revival of 90’s and 80’s. This will continue as long as there is an emotional attachment and
nostalgia about the past.
Retro brands always appear at different stages of business cycle and they are always here to stay.
With the high influence of technology these brands can stay for a longer period of time and
revival of more retro brands can happen as it is economical compared to creating new brands.