Updated August 2023
Nostalgia marketing is an increasingly popular way for consumer goods brands and luxury heritage brands to breathe new life into familiar offerings and leave a lasting impression on consumers. Years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, well-known brands like A&W, Minute Maid, and Quiznos are still using retro promotional items and vintage-inspired branding and marketing campaigns to connect with consumers craving the comfort of the familiar in these seemingly tumultuous times. Companies like Burger King, Jell-O, and Pepsi Co. even incorporated retro-inspired logo designs into their recent rebranding campaigns.
So why exactly are so many major brands utilizing nostalgia marketing tools and tactics? Because nostalgia marketing can drive brand engagement and increase sales. Research from the University of Southampton in the UK found that nostalgia increases optimism about the future. That may be why consumers are more likely to spend money when they are feeling nostalgic, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research (“Nostalgia Weakens the Desire for Money”).
Using nostalgia to evoke positive memories and strong, happy emotions in consumers is a classic marketing tactic that may be more effective now than ever before. During the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and global inflation, creating uplifting nostalgia marketing campaigns can help engage anxious Gen Z consumers who appreciate retro aesthetics. Gen Z’s ongoing interest in throwback styles from the 70s, 80s, and 90s – and even their own recent past, the early 2000s – started prior to the pandemic. However, years later, Gen Z’s obsession with retro fashion and “vintage” technology (like flip phones and 2000s-era digital cameras) looks like it is here to stay.
Want to engage your target audience and leave them with a cheerful, tangible reminder of your brand? Be sure to incorporate fun and colorful retro promotional items (like Yo-Yos and other vintage toys, old-school tin lunch boxes, and neon t-shirts and fanny packs) into your next nostalgia marketing campaign or giveaway.
Some of our favorite vintage and retro-inspired promotional products include:
90s Retro Promotional Items
The perfect 90s-style accessory is the 4-Color Process Ripstop Scrunchie. The simple scrunchie, patented in 1987, became THE hair accessory of the 1990s. Featuring a full-color sublimation imprint for beautiful branding, and lightweight ripstop nylon that won’t let you (or your hair) down.
Good Value® Neon Fanny Pack
Fanny packs and bright neon fabrics were both in vogue in the 1990s. Perfect for outdoor festivals and concerts, the Good Value® Neon Fanny Pack will be sure to fit all your necessities!
Port Authority® Packable Puffy Vests
Vests and puffer jackets were 90s fashion staples. The Port Authority® Packable Puffy Vest and Port Authority® Ladies Packable Puffy Vest are throwback puffer vests that are the perfect branded apparel choice for Autumn. Available in 4 color combinations in both Men’s and Women’s sizes.
Slap Band & USB Memory Drive
Slap bracelets are a fun, inexpensive 90s swag item. This colorful Slap Band & USB Memory Drive is a water resistant silicone band that snaps to a wrap around your wrist and features a hidden USB drive with matching color cover.
60s & 70s Retro Promotional Items
Tie-Dye Adult Trucker Hat
The trucker hat trend of the early 2000s has made a comeback in recent years. The Boho/Bohemian aesthetic, including retro prints and groovy patterns like tie-dye, is also popular with consumers. This tie-dye patterned trucker hat merges both trends. This classic cap is available in 30+ color combinations.
22″ Bandana with Stock Paisley Pattern
Paisley is a classic pattern that was especially popular in the 1960s. This large, hemmed paisley pattern 100% cotton bandana is multi-functional – use as a face mask alternative or wear as a headband. Available in red, black and blue.
Continued Bagabond in Corduroy
Continued Bagabond Corduroy is in the house! The rich colors and beloved texture will bring a touch of nostalgia for the 1970s (when corduroy reached peak popularity) to your sales kit. Hobo-style bags, popular accessories in the 90s and early 2000s, are also on trend again. Everything old is new again; go ahead, hop on this trend!
Promotional Items for Retro Giveaways
Callaway Vintage Driver Head Cover
With traditional styling and a form fitting design, these customizable Callaway Vintage Headcovers will look great on the golf clubs found in every player’s golf bag. Polyurethane Construction.
Kolder Kaddy Velvet Neoprene
Sleek Velvet Neoprene gives this collapsible can insulator a vintage look.
Cinema Light Box Key-Light
The Cinema Light Box keychain light is reminiscent of retro cinema signs. It includes stickers with 75 letters, numbers, and characters to create various words and phrases. Also includes a split metal key ring.
J AMERICA Adult Vintage Zen Full-Zip Fleece Hooded Sweatshirt
Acid-washed fabrics were popular in the 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s. The J AMERICA Adult Vintage Zen Full-Zip Fleece Hooded Sweatshirt and J AMERICA Ladies’ Zen Full-Zip Fleece Hooded Sweatshirt acid-washed fleece sweatshirt with front pouch pockets and dyed-to-match drawcord and hood provides a vintage look that your customers and employees will love. Available in Men’s sizes in 4 colors and Women’s sizes in 6 colors.
Bicycle Bourbon Connoisseur Playing Cards Gift Set
Alternative Unisex Slapshot Vintage Jersey T-Shirt
One of our favorite vintage promotional items, this classic fit jersey t-shirt features vintage athletic details on raglan sleeves and contrasting stripes on sleeve. Available in 6 color combinations.
Stanley Legendary Classic 48 oz. Bottle
Retro looking insulated bottle by Stanley. This classic design features an insulated lid that also doubles as a cup for drinking. Available in both black and vintage green.
DRI DUCK Vintage Cap
Add your company logo to this vintage-style cap made from soft pigment dyed washed cotton that provides a lived-in look.
Premium retro swag, like vintage-style retro bags, can be used to increase brand awareness among younger consumers. This updated version of a classic bowler bag can be worn over the shoulder or as a cross-body bag. Available in vegan leather or 100% post-consumer recycled materials.
Retro Promotional Items are Back. You Dig?
Let Metron Branding help your company find the hippest retro promotional items that are out of sight to ensure your brand’s next promotion or giveaway is copacetic. We can also set up a pop-up store to simplify the process of distributing retro and vintage style apparel, accessories, and other promotional products to your clients and customers. To get started, fill out the form below or contact us for assistance.