Amid tough times, advertising looks back

By July 25, 2008creativity, videos

It is a sociological fact that when times are tough, people turn to the past—to what they know—for comfort. With protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a subprime mortgage crisis, the highest gas prices in history, and a looming recession—there’s no question times are tough.

So, it should come as no surprise that recent advertising is taking us away from the present and into our cultural and advertising past.

A few examples:

“Max,” a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle, is the spokesperson of the auto maker’s recent ad campaign.

JCPenney’s back-to-school ad is paying homage to The Breakfast Club, a teen movie from 1985.

View this video on YouTube

McDonalds has dusted off 1974’s Big Mac slogan, two-all-beef-patties special-sauce lettuce-cheese pickles-onions on-a-sesame-seed-bun and held a Big Mac Chant-Off on MySpace.

Here’s the winning chant by Jason Harper:


The overwhelming success of AMC’s Mad Men last year may have been a bellwether for this emerging trend.

Mark my words: We’ll see more advertising reminiscent of cultural icons and campaigns from the past in the coming months.

Have you seen advertising that’s looking back?

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