Friday, March 26, 2010

Going Retro

Have you noticed a trend in the CPG industry lately of what’s old is new again? At a drug store a few weeks ago, I noticed a display for some new Wonka chocolate bars. Normally, I can’t pass up chocolate anyway, but these particular treats contained an added bonus – a chance to find a Golden Ticket! Unlike the movie, the grand prize does not include the possibility of meeting Willy Wonka himself, but does offer other fantastic, and perhaps more relevant, rewards.

This is not the only product I have seen take a step back in time. Recently, General Mills released new retro packaging for several of its cereals: Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Trix. The retro boxes, which send me back to the days of Saturday morning cartoons, are available solely at Target for a limited time.

Vintage packaging, however, isn’t only in the cereal aisle. Last summer, PepsiCo distributed Pepsi and Mountain Dew Throwback. The soda is made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup and the cans and cases are decked out with classic logos. The company sold the products for a limited time, but due to its popularity and demand, brought back the Throwback products from December through February.

Based on my knowledge of the CPG industry and the current economic climate, I believe that the timing on these items could not be better. The recession has people longing for the better days of the past. The nostalgic component that these products bring to the table provides comfort during these hard times. The simplistic packaging also helps products stand out on busy grocery shelves; minimalistic package design draws the attention of weary eyed consumers.

Have you seen other flashback campaigns? I’d like to hear about them. Comment and tell me!


  1. I think you're right on the money. I actually saw "vintage" candy wrappers shrouding Hershey products last spring in CVS. It's funny because I was going to blog about how it was a way of conjuring up nostalgia and memories of the "good old days," especially in the times we're dealing with now. ;)

  2. Due to that shameless plug I figured I'd check out your blog! Great post, and I agree. I personally love the vintage labeling; when advertising and branding was still so new and edgy! It's interesting too that now its a novelty when pop like Mt. Dew is made with REAL sugar! I enjoy it.


  3. Thanks for the comments! Jenn, I remember seeing those Hershey wrappers, and I really liked them. Dwayne, you're right; reminds me of campaigns from David Ogilvy.