Who are the 80s kids? Born between the mid-70s to early 80s, this is the generation that remembers a time of no TV and no phone. If you did have a TV, it was most likely black and white, with no remote, and one (and a half) channel. Entertainment for these kids was outdoors, playing gully cricket, chor-police and seven tiles with their friends. This was the last generation that knew the true meaning of the simple life and was content with Thumbs Up, 5-Star and Chinese food straight from the cart.
Advertising in India back then was still in its infancy. Commercials featured a catchy jingle and a simple catchphrase but were as entertaining as they come. They were also memorable. Everyone knew the words to Nirma Washing Powder, Vico Vajradanti, and Maggi, and sang along religiously when these ads came on.
Every kid wanted to be a Complan Boy/Girl and bugged their parents enough to buy the milk-mix. Whether you imagined bathing in a waterfall with Liril soap, or popped a Vicks goli to soothe your throat, the ads for those products were on your mind. There was a reassuring authenticity to those ads that made you trust them.
A new age, a new wave
Fast-forward to the 2010s, and life has changed drastically. Laptops, wi-fi, smartphones, and streaming services have overtaken the landscape. TV is no longer the popular choice of entertainment, yet there’s an ad at every turn to greet you. As for our generation of 80s kids, hovering around their fourth decade, this change has unfolded right before their eyes. Discerning to the point of cynicism, this generation prides itself on not being fooled easily. Facebook and Insta-savvy, these individuals scoff at unrealistic claims by commercials but light up at the familiar strains of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara.
Marketing to a generation that has seen a different brand of advertising and is suspicious of special effects, can prove tricky. Let’s not forget that this generation is also caught up in other areas of life like raising a family, working high-level positions, and adulting in general. Luckily, the answer lies in the problem itself. Appeal to their sensibilities in a way that they can identify with, and they will take notice.
What do 80s kids want?
Nostalgia: Like most other generations, this one wants a chance to relive its childhood. Never underestimate the emotional impact of a happy memory. Regardless of your marketing format, getting them to reminisce about their childhood is almost always a win. Paper Boat did this beautifully in its campaign for its range of juices. One sip of nimbu-paani and the young man got transported back to his childhood and his mum’s nimbu-paani. Anyone who had a similar childhood, would connect with the ad and want to try that nimbu-paani too.
Past heroes: Another approach to nostalgia marketing is to get someone they identify with to promote your brand; a star who was at their prime when these kids were growing up. Kapil Dev letting loose a fastball is sure to stir up childhood memories, almost forgotten. Combine that with solid, informative content, and you have new fans. Whether Mr. Dev is talking about the benefits of health insurance, or shaving cream, 80s kids are listening.
Solutions: Even if you abandon the nostalgia angle for the sake of variety, you can still find a way to emotionally connect with this age-group. Understanding their needs, and providing a solution can make a big difference. Do you know the struggles of a woman who works a corporate job and doesn’t get enough time with her kids? Or the fear of a 41-year-old who just had a near-fatal heart attack? These problems and many others are what 80s kids are facing in the present day. On the other side, this is the generation that can afford international vacations, and luxury cars, which provides another angle to be explored.
Authenticity: The final frontier in marketing to 80s kids: keep it real. Remember, these guys grew up with a different genre of advertising. The ads they saw were believable, and when they were not, they had great entertainment value. From the typical Indian mother making pooris for her kids to a white man surfing while ‘Ode To Joy’ played in the background, 80s kids were either experiencing it or wanted to, really bad.
80s kids are the bridge generation. They’ve seen the best and the worst of both worlds. They have experienced having the whole neighbourhood in one house when a cricket match was on, to scrolling aimlessly on their iPhones. Grabbing their attention is not easy, but a hit of nostalgia and some honest marketing will get you into their good books.