Something catches your eye and causes a flood of memories.
A truck passed me. The company name on the door was Hazel Construction.
Immediately I thought of Hazel, a TV show that, as a kid, I occasionally watched in re-runs.
Without effort, I remembered that the title character was played by Shirley Booth. Don DeFore was the dad. Bobby Buntrock played the young son. And I didn't particularly like the show.
How do I know that? Why did I know that?
There is a scientific explanation of how and why I stored that information and why it was immediately accessible even though I often can't remember a password I created yesterday.
But more importantly -- at least for this blog -- it happened.
And it brought with it a happy, nostalgic feeling of being a kid parked in front of a TV set.
Reminding me that emotional nostalgic cues can be an effective tool when writing ads and other marketing materials.
Here's an example from Fisher-Price:
Remember when ...
Often triggering a memory of a happy time can link that positive feeling with what you are promoting.
Tastes just like mom used to make it.
And mom's home cooked comfort meals are just one of many ... consider
- If a graphic or video will be included with your writing, your target audience's ears and eyes can be a simple way to trigger nostalgic emotions.
- A song from a specific era. A car or clothing fashions from the past. A politician, actor, or other famous person. An out-of-vogue hairstyle.
- A thoughtfully chosen typeface can support these triggers as well.
Be careful though. Be sure your target doesn't have negative emotions associated with a past memory. Maybe mom was a terrible cook.
- Research your target audience.
- When did they reach the age for school, dating, college, marriage, working, retiring, etc.?
- What are emotional cues from those times?
- How can you hit that trigger quickly and without sounding phony or manipulative?
If you think nostalgia might be useful to gain attention or trigger emotion for one of your clients, do your homework and then use your writing skills to transfer that positive feeling to a brand or purchase.
So ... whatever happened to Bobby Buntrock?
Of course, I had to check up on Bobby Buntrock. It's what I do, typically spending more time researching than writing.
Bobby started acting at age 7, landing some bit parts before a 5 season run with Hazel. After Hazel he made a couple of guest shots on the TV show The Virginian. Then he retired from show business and moved to South Dakota where he went to high school. Bobby died in a car accident in 1974 at the age of 21.
By the way, I also checked out Hazel Construction which was founded in 1964, the same time that Hazel was a first run sitcom on CBS.
But enough about Bobby.
Is there a child actor you watched when you were a kid whose name might come rushing back to you with the right cue? How 'bout
Jonathan Ke Quan?
Haley Joel Osmet?
Malcolm -Jamal Warner?