Blockbuster Leverage their Brand Nostalgia

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Why Blockbuster’s Last Summer Sleepover is a Showstopping Brand Strategy.

The Blockbuster brand is synonomous with others such as Kodak and Melways that were once an iconic part of life, but by missing a critical opportunity to shift with consumers and technology have become dinosaurs. However, as this smart brand gesture by the owners of the world’s last standing Blockbuster store in Deschutes County, Oregon has shown, there’s still plenty of brand juice to be squeezed from the power of nostalgia.

For anyone over 40 the memory of jumping on your bike and riding down to the local Blockbuster to stare loingingly at the New Release section before hiring a dog-eared weekly video more aligned with a pocketmoney budget will also likely retain warm feelings of video nights and simpler times. These powerful association of nostalgia remain, often long after brands such as Blockbuster have gone.

When developing brand strategy for our clients we are always looking for the rich veins of emotional connection, and it turns out that Nostalgia is a pretty solid emotion on which to build (or rebuild) a brand. This approach is doubly effective in uncertain times like the ones we currently find ourselves living in, which makes this brand activation all the more inspiring.

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The world’s last Blockbuster store has been lovingly polished and transformed into an Airbnb. As the listing boasts:

‘Our BLOCKBUSTER store is an ode to movie magic, simpler times and the sense of community that could once be found in BLOCKBUSTER locations around the world. Over the past few months, we’ve been missing the regular visits from friends, neighbors and tourists from around the world. So, we’re opening our store to three quarantine pods of Deschutes County guests for a socially-distanced movie night, just like those of decades past!

Keeping our customers (and now our guests!) comfortable and feeling at home is our priority. You’ll have the store to yourself from check-in to check-out, and it will be cleaned prior to your arrival in accordance to Airbnb’s Enhanced Cleaning Protocol which is informed by recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Plus we’ll provide you with a pack of face coverings, disinfectant wipes, and endless hand sanitizer!

Whether you want to stay up until sunrise or pass out on the couch, we’ve created the perfect space complete with a pull-out couch, bean bags and pillows for you to cozy up with “new releases” from the ‘90s. Crack open a two-liter of Pepsi before locking into a video game, charting your future in a game of MASH, or watching movie after movie. But be wary of reciting “Bloody Mary” in the staff bathroom off of the break room, as you just may summon the ghost rumored to haunt the store. And help yourself to some NERDS, Raisinets and popcorn (heavy on the butter), but make sure you save room for a couple slices.’

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The point of inspiration for other fading brands here is how might you embrace the fact you are no longer relevant to your category and instead leverage the power of nostalgia. Whilst the Airbnb approach wont be relevant for many, there are likely equal opportunities to build on the emotional connection to give your brand a strategic second wind.

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Truly Deeply is an Australian-based branding agency with 30 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. Our deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. We have a deep expertise working with corporate, retail, food & beverage, health and property clients. Find out more here
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Pics via Airbnb.

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