How Netflix Caters to Nostalgic Millennials


Pop culture in 2016 has been experiencing a blast from the past. You might have recently noticed the growing trend of bringing back popular movies, TV shows, and characters from the ’80s to early ’00s. This year we’ve even seen several comebacks from popular franchises including Harry Potter, Pokémon, and Ghostbusters.The rise of the Internet disrupted the entertainment industry and has forever changed how we distribute and view media. Movie theaters and cable TV providers are struggling to retain and bring in new customers, especially within the Millennial demographic. So how exactly does bringing back fan favorites from the ’80s to early ’00s help the entertainment industry? They’ve found a sweet spot with Millennials and it is called nostalgia marketing.

Nostalgia marketing is marketing aimed at evoking a feeling of nostalgia in customers. The Millennial demographic covers a wide range of people including younger Millennials (like myself) who are in college, to older Millennials who are settling down and starting families. Millennials are in a transitional state in their lives. As we get older, our desire to hold on to our childhood increases. Millennials grew up with the rise of the Internet and saw it evolve into the Internet we know today. Many Millennials would argue that due to our exposure to technology from a young age, we grew up too fast and didn’t get to properly enjoy our childhood. The lack of experiencing childhood is why Millennials respond so well to nostalgia marketing. Nostalgia targets feelings and emotions from the past, and Millennials actively seek media and entertainment that reminds them of the good old days. This is where Netflix comes into the picture:

Life is full again…VERY full. #FullerHouse A new generation is moving into the Tanner home on February 26th!

A video posted by Fuller House (@fullerhouse) on

Netflix has figured out a way to draw more Millennial customers to their service through nostalgia marketing. By supporting revivals of fan favorite TV shows from the 80’s to early 00’s, Netflix is definitely winning at the nostalgia game. We’ve seen new Netflix Original content for shows such as Fuller House, Arrested Development, Degrassi, and the soon to be released Gilmore Girls. All of these shows already have well-established fanbases among Millennials and are shows that viewers are familiar with. Through the revivals, Netflix is targeting the already established fanbase and growing it even more with all the media buzz created from news outlets like BuzzFeed. A prime example of this is Netflix’s revival of Full House with their show, Fuller House. Older Millennials grew up watching Full House when it aired on TV. Now that they are starting their own families, they are more likely to watch Fuller House because it is already a show they are familiar with and is a piece of their childhood they want to share with their children. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

When Gilmore Girls ended  in 2007, fans were extremely upset that the show was over. Due to a dispute between the creator of Gilmore Girls and the network, Gilmore Girls fans did not get a proper conclusion in the series finale. Thanks to reruns of Gilmore Girls on ABC Family, the show became a household staple for many and continued to build the fanbase of viewers who were not able to watch it when it was live. Since its finale, devout fans started a movement to bring back Gilmore Girls in order to have a more satisfying conclusion. Thanks to the Internet, Netflix noticed the loud cries of Gilmore Girls fans and agreed to bring back the show for a four part miniseries to air in November. The revival Gilmore Girls series is creating lots of buzz around the Internet and is anticipated to perform extremely well for Netflix.

A photo posted by @gilmoregirls on

Not only is Netflix reviving fan favorite TV shows from the ’80s to early ’00s, but they are also attempting to create new original series that are inspired from nostalgic time periods. The newly released show, Stranger Things, is a prime example of this. Stranger Things is set in the ’80s and is inspired by sci-fi from the decade. It draws on elements from Stephen King novels and has the aesthetic of  an ’80s horror movie. Even the soundtrack of the TV show sounds like it was created in the ’80s . In the video below, Vox investigates how the iconic title sequence for Stranger Things came to be and what inspired it. Stranger Things has been a very successful show for Netflix and proves that nostalgia marketing is the best way for them to bring in audiences.

We all want to remember the good old days of our childhood and Netflix is doing exactly that with nostalgia marketing. What’s your favorite revival show on Netflix? Do you have any requests for shows to come back? Let me know in the comments!

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