Newsjacking Nostalgia! 

February 23, 2024 | Amanda Green

How brands can ride the nowstalgia wave without changing their products

The 90s and 20-oughts are having a moment in pop culture. From fashion trends like super low-rise jeans, to hobbies like roller skating, to toys like the Tamagotchi, the things we (I’m an elder millennial writing this) loved from our childhood are back in style again. But a lot of today’s trends aren’t exact replicas of what we had in the 90s. They’re updated versions of the classics that fit today’s modern world. Someone, and I’m not sure who to credit here, coined the term “nowstalgia” (aka: a combo of the words now-and nostalgia) and that’s what we’re going to talk about in this post. 

If you search #nostalgia right now on Instagram, you get nearly 20 million posts! Companies are rebranding their websites to look like they came from the early days of the internet. CPG brands are changing their packaging to appeal to our vintage taste buds. But you don’t have to make drastic changes to ride the nostalgia wave. 

When a topic or trend gets this big, to the point where everyone is talking about it, we might do something that we call “newsjacking.” In PR, newsjacking refers to taking a trending topic and pitching your client in a complementary way. So, a publicist can look at a brand or company, find storytelling elements, and create some kind of content that fits a 90s or 2000s theme. You can do this in a few ways: on social media, through brand voice, through digital PR efforts, or by utilizing digital content creators/influencers. 

On Social Media 

As I mentioned, nostalgia and nowstalgia are majorly trending on social media right now. If you want your nostalgic-themed content to cut through the clutter, you’ll first need to understand what kind of nostalgia your audience is craving. For instance, are you posting about roller skating on a Friday night because you want people in their 40s to feel like you’re taking them back to their 1992 roller rink date night? Or is it because you want people in their 20s to take a break from the doomsday-centric thoughts about the future? Here are a few examples of how to ride the nostalgia wave on social media as a brand. 

#throwbackthursday or #tbt 

Throwback Thursday is nothing new, but brands can use it as a way to re-introduce themselves as classic and experienced, yet also exciting and new. Volkswagon does this well. 


From a bouquet to an unexpected destiny. 💐 #flowers #gift #husband #love #electric #vwidbuzz #volkswagen #vw #carsoftiktok The vehicle displayed shows optional equipment.

♬ Originalton – volkswagen – volkswagen

Using nostalgic words

You can make what’s old new again by pointing out its age. Try using terms like vintage, retro, memories, throwback, nowstalgia, and nostalgia. Talk about “unlocking core memories.” Here’s an example from LeSportsac. 

Jump onto creator trends

Creator trends move fast on TikTok. What people are doing today might be old news by tomorrow, so you’ll need to keep an eye on what people are doing. Here’s a fun idea where parents ask their kids to identify things from their childhood. You could come up with a creative way to weave your products into something like this.

Through Brand Voice 

Another way to newsjack the nostalgia trend is through your brand voice. Your brand voice is basically your brand’s personality. We have an Orca Communications client that does this well. The creators of Fudgy Pop took the idea of the classic childhood fudge pop from the 80s and 90s and modernized it to be healthier and cleaner. 

Fudgy Pop

Fudgy Pop’s cheeky language and colors burst on your screen, and you can’t miss their bright orange packaging. Not only does Fudgy Pop use the best, high-end chocolate (Guittard Chocolate), but their pops are plant-based, gluten-free and only 90 calories. Orca publicist Allyson McCormley says, “I seriously had a blast from the past scrolling through their site. Word on the street, check them out!” 

Here is an example of some fonts that scream 1990s. You can also make things feel retro through photography and videography choices. 

With digital PR efforts, editorial pitches, and press outreach

A digital PR campaign focused on securing press coverage with publications, editors, and writers who appreciate and cover the nostalgia trend is another excellent way to build nostalgia into your brand without having to make any major changes. You’ll want to show how your brand is relevant and why it’s nowstalgic and not just old. 

Get descriptive in your pitching. Assuming the editor or writer is a millennial, tap into their inner psyche by painting a scene of how your product takes them back to their childhood or early adulthood.  Include videos and images that showcase the vintage vibes. There are endless articles out there right now about nostalgic trends and plenty of opportunities to get into some of those editorials. 

By Utilizing Influencers

The last way to newsjack nostalgia without a huge change to your product is by partnering with influencers who do nostalgia-rich content. Erin Miller @Overthemoonandfaraway is one such creator. She’s posted dozens of hilarious videos that take us back to the cringe-worthy days of the late 90s and early 2000s, basically millennials’ middle and high school era. 

Don’t think you have to make a major project change to hop onto the nostalgia trend. By using some of the simple tactics above, you’ll be able to jump onto the trend in a non-cringeworthy way that is authentic and fun!