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The power of Nostalgia - Ramayana & Amul

Nostalgia and its impact on the human psyche is well documented. In these trying times, two powerful brands in their own right, Amul and Ramayana, and bringing back nostalgia! In today's piece, we look at why nostalgia works, how two of India's most loved franchises are utilizing it, and how that's a great thing in the environment we are in.

Understanding the power of Nostalgia

For the uninitiated, Doordarshan has brought back brilliant Indian shows of the past like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and are screening them twice a day. These shows which brought cities to a standstill (and apparently even got cabinet meetings canceled!) in their hay days are still being received phenomenally well by the people in the country. While all the extra time people have at their hands certainly helps, is there more to it?

To understand that we need to understand the importance of nostalgia - that feeling when you're thinking about the past with fond affection. Nostalgia is extremely powerful in the impact it has on human psychology counteracting loneliness, increasing a feeling of connectedness with the larger society, and actually feeling an increase in self-esteem (in part because you feel connected with the larger world reminiscing about the past together, and in part, because you make the past to be better than it actually was in your head.) In challenging times like these where the things happening in the world are likely to pull down morale, this can be very important for the mental well being of the society. Social media makes the trend stronger with the power of social proof.

Of Amul and Ramayana

In an earlier post, we had discussed how the high TV viewership, up a whopping ~80% for non-primetime shows, combined with the low competition for ad slots given the current macro environment can provide an ideal opportunity for firms looking to cement their brand in the minds of the consumer. Amul seems to have latched on to this trend with its old ads being streamed on Doordarshan, giving users a dual dose of nostalgia.

The combination of the two is even more potent, as the show is something that you and your family will watch together, sparking old memories in your parents, and bringing new conversations about the brand in your conversations, cementing the brand further.

And why is that good thing

For one, social cohesion and a feeling of oneness with the wider society is extremely important in times like these. While the larger needs of food and safety for a large chunk of our population need to be fulfilled on priority (as they are), the emotional and societal angle of managing the crisis is important as well.

From an economic standpoint, having the money come into ads continues to support the TV staff and operations, incentivizing other players with cash at their disposal to come forward and utilize the opportunity. As multiple industries begin taking a hit, business as usual in any is a significant positive.

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About the Author: The post is written by Ganesh Nagarsekar. Ganesh is a graduate from IIM Calcutta and has worked with J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs, before founding GSN Invest.


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