I just finished bingewatching Daisy Jones & The Six on Prime Video. I read the book on which it is based, which I thought was… fine. It didn’t knock my socks off, but it was a fun read. I thought the series I just watched was… also fine. Some good performances, some really good moments, but not a ten out of ten.
However: The costumes! The sets! The music! This 1970s child was in 1970s HEAVEN! For the nostalgia factor, for the evocative power-punch — really evoking a feeling and a sense of time and place — I give this series a 10 out of 10.
I just want to rent a wood cottage in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon with earth-toned couches, India print bedspreads and tablecloths, and golden light shining through gauzy curtains. Get me a macrame wall hanging, STAT! And the music, oh the music! In just one episode I heard Ooh La La, Satellite of Love, and Love is the Drug. And that’s just the tip of the sonic iceberg.
Amazon is working the nostalgia vibe for all it’s worth. When you watch on a phone or tablet, you can pause and then click a link that enables you to “shop the look,” i.e. buy clothes and such that look like what you’re seeing in the series at that moment. Buzzfeed is even getting in on the action, with a “Which Daisy Jones & The Six Character Are You?” quiz.
Nostalgia is a powerful motivator. As The Washington Post wrote in “When looking back helps us move forward, or how nostalgia can be good”:
More than a dozen studies in recent years have measured the ‘positive’ and ‘restorative power’ of [nostalgia]… It has also been shown to evoke inspiration. “Nostalgia makes us feel safe, loved and reminds us that others care about us,” Hepper said. One study found that waxing nostalgic can even make one feel physically warmer.
In your organization’s communications — whether email, print mail, social media, your website, or other modes of messaging — can you build upon nostalgia to create evocative, feel-good experiences for your audiences?
If your nonprofit works with senior citizens, can you remind people what it was like to spend time with grandparents?
If you help animals, can you remind people of the joy and excitement of their first pet?
If your organization preserves and supports the natural world, can you bring forth memories of forest walks, lake swims, afternoon strolls on the beach, that tired but happy feeling at the end of a long hike?
Of course, not all memories are happy, and one person’s “fun time with grandma” is another person’s “grandma yelling at me.” Even with Daisy Jones & The Six, that nostalgia feels great for me but might not feel so great for someone with unhappy memories of that era. Not every communication you put out into the world is going to hit the mark for every member of your audience. But if you think you can capitalize upon the power of nostalgia to excite your audience and move them to action, it probably would be worth it to test out that messaging approach.
Oh, and by the way, I took that Buzzfeed quiz. It says I’m an Eddie, but I so want to be a Camila!
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