Why big brands are betting on nostalgia and bringing back old mascots and campaigns

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for October 15. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at [email protected]

First, we are seeking nominations for the top financial public relations firms. Submit nominations here by October 18.

Today's news: Brands bring back nostalgia, inside Instacart's advertising plan, and the ad agencies behind Trump and Biden's presidential campaign.


Nostalgia marketing has reached a fever pitch in the pandemic. Here's how brands like Chips Ahoy, Kraft, and AT&T are reviving old mascots and campaigns to appeal to consumers in jittery times.

  • Tanya Dua looked at how brands are embracing nostalgia during the pandemic to relate to consumers.
  • Experts say nostalgia can be reassuring during the pandemic as people yearn for simpler times and seek out old comforts amid uncertainty. AT&T, for example, brought back mascot Lily, who advertised its wireless service from 2013 to 2017.
  • Research shows that nostalgia helps drive product preferences but experts warn that old messages needs to stay relevant. Old mascots like Uncle Ben's and Aunt Jemima have been dropped in recent months because they're rooted in racist stereotypes.

Read the full story here.

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

How Instacart is building an ad business by luring big grocery brands with perks like exclusive access to tech partners and shopper data

  • I talked with e-commerce agencies about how grocery-delivery app Instacart is building out an advertising business to rival the likes of Amazon and Walmart.
  • Instacart's big point of difference is how it divides its advertisers into five tiers based on their spending, with top spenders getting access to an API and rich data about shoppers' buying habits.
  • Agencies said that being smaller than Amazon or Walmart helps Instacart in terms of ad performance, but can be a disadvantage with advertisers that want to reach as big an audience as possible.

Read the full story here.


10 ad agencies that are driving $11 billion in presidential campaign spending as Donald Trump and Joe Biden race toward the finish line

  • Patrick Coffee identified the agencies tasked with handling up to $11 billion for Donald Trump and Joe Biden's presidential campaigns.
  • The list includes some well-established political advertising firms like GMMB and shell companies or sister businesses of better-known firms.
  • The campaigns have also hired specialist agencies, with Biden bringing on two to handle outreach to Black voters.

Read the full story here.

More stories we're reading:

  • Read the investor deck that streaming service CuriosityStream used in a SPAC merger that injected $180m into the company (Business Insider)
  • Online fashion giant Asos posted a 329% jump in profits — but its shares fell 9% after it warned that its customers have less money to spend (Business Insider)
  • Twilio buying Segment for $3.2 billion is a 'transformational' move, according to analysts, who say it could help the ~$50 billion cloud communications firm take on giants like Salesforce and SAP (Business Insider)
  • The founder of the most popular kombucha brand in America explains how the company recovered from a dramatic drop in sales with a quick pivot to delivery (Business Insider)
  • Business Insider parent nears deal to buy controlling stake in Morning Brew (Wall Street Journal)
  • Google Ads rolls out attribution features to YouTube (Adweek)

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at [email protected] and subscribe to this daily email here.

— Lauren

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