In high school, I decided to start wearing plain white t-shirts every day instead of my usual collared shirt. I was going for a “James Dean” look. You know, for the ladies. The response ranged from “I hate that kid” to “I want to punch that kid really hard in the face.” So I went back to collared shirts.
That’s an example of bad throwback rebranding. Here’s a good one.
Kentucky Fried Chicken recently brought back The Colonel for their new TV campaign—played by SNL alum Darrell Hammond in a very SNL-y way. The commercials not only poke fun at the brand itself, but they also remind consumers that KFC was, at one time, charming. (Pre-Double Down Dog sandwich, of course.)
In fact, a lot of brands have been going back to their roots lately. And the reason is simple—nostalgia. See, right now, Millennials are #yearning for a #simplertime. That’s why anything and everything throwback (except for mock turtlenecks) is coming back in a big way. And that’s also why McDonald’s brought back the Hamburglar (who looks more like a kidburglar), Pepsi came out with Pepsi Throwback, and Apple launched this commercial over the holidays that certainly didn’t make me cry a lot.
So, there ya have it…the new trend in reinventing your brand is going back to old trends. And even if you don’t have a storied past, just throw a Rubik’s Cube in your ad or something. Millennials love that crap.