Mixtapes spark Millennial nostalgia

Why Digitas UK and OREO have tapped into the trend of nostalgia to deliver an integrated AI and digital activation.

Georgie Moreton

Assistant Editor, BITE


The trials and tribulations of the past eighteen months have caused many consumers to look back and reminisce about times when life was a little more simple. The pandemic brought with it many challenges and one such for brands has been finding the right tone to communicate with. Nostalgia has long been a favoured way to engage with audiences and the pandemic has accelerated this shift and heightened consumer desire to don their rose-coloured lenses and look back to the past. 

In the ‘Press Play to Win’ activation, Digitas UK and OREO have tapped into this trend of nostalgia by creating an array of digital mixtapes that consumers can get hold of by scanning an AI-powered logo on OREO packets. This allows them direct access to a digital experience that includes sharing online ‘mixtapes’ with friends, and the chance to win an OREO cookie-filled replica cassette player or music-related prizes.

The work will run in the UK, Ireland and the Nordics – Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. The activation runs to the end of September in the Nordic markets, whilst media activity in the UK and Ireland is live until the end of October. 

Combining modern technology with old-school mixtapes aims to take millennials back to a time when knowing the coolest music was the biggest challenge they had to face. A time when curating the right playlist was the truest measure of success. This integrated campaign takes us back and allows friends to swap and share mixtapes as they would in the 90s in an attempt to bring some playful yet analogue fun to music sharing in the digital world. 

Hitting the right note with Millenials

Nostalgia offers audiences a form of escapism; in a time where the future continues to remain uncertain, the past offers comfort. 

It has been challenging for marketers to find the right tone to connect with consumers in the waks of the Coronavirus crisis. At the start of the pandemic, several tried to offer messages of comfort and togetherness but as it seems we near normalcy once again, consumers’ desire for Covid focused advertisements continues to drop and instead audiences are seeking enjoyment and escapism. A shift which is served well via embracing the reassurance of nostalgia. 

Studies have found that throughout the pandemic, audiences were able to find comfort in rewatching their old favourite shows. Across both music and TV consumers were able to find solace in escapism and this was brought on by nostalgic films, TV shows and music. Whilst consumer confidence is returning to pre-pandemic levels, it's doubtful that behaviours shaped throughout the pandemic will revert back completely and millennials will likely continue to consume the media that helped them and made them feel good throughout testing times. 

The consumer landscape has shifted irrevocably in the wake of the pandemic. Remote working has been embraced, the great resignation is well and truly underway and audiences are emerging through the other side of the pandemic with a greater sense of purpose and responsibility. As millennials grapple with these changes adjusting to the new world they find themselves in, escapism in the form of some musical-mixtape nostalgia allows them a much needed moment of respite and relief.

Musical memories

Music is one of the greatest aids to nostalgia and is a powerful tool able to trigger one of the five senses that best evokes memories. With just a few simple chords a song is able to transport us back to a specific moment in time as it seems certain memories come with a soundtrack attached.

In this campaign, OREO and Digitas UK capitalise on the nostalgia of music beyond the audio experience focusing also on the physical exchange of songs, an experience almost exclusive to millennials. Those who grew up in the height of the mixtape making, cassette playing and CD swapping era will look to this campaign and feel part of an exclusive group, knowing this campaign was designed with them in mind. With the digital element propelling the campaign into the modern day, this also enables the younger generations to participate in what they might have only seen in television and film yet allowing them to join in on this shared collective, nostalgia-fuelled memory.  

Lazaros Nikiforidis, Executive Creative Director at Digitas explains, “There is no greater expression of playful music sharing than the crafting of a mixtape: from the hand-picked songs to the dedications and the stickers, the process of making a mixtape and sharing it with a loved one is personal for millennials. We’re true believers that experience-led executions like this can drive engagement and emotional attachment, allowing us to reach audiences in exciting new ways.”

As the world around us changes at rapid speed, brands should consider embracing the power and reassurance of nostalgia in marketing. For in the wake of the global pandemic seeking comfort in the past can help consumers better face the challenges of the future.

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Nostalgia Millennials