Nostalgia has always reserved a plate at the marketing table. Connecting with a shared past is one of the most fundamental means of engendering relevance in a marketing message. This is a fact the core of Generation X is beginning to understand. As the bulk of the segment moves into mid-professional levels, marketers are retooling their visual and auditory appeals with the hope of leveraging quintessential experiences of the late 1980s and early 1990s into purchases and loyalty.


Music from the time period is now selling everything from gum to cars and iconic imprints – like the Smurfs and the Rubix cube – are being paired with unrelated materials in an effort to attract the attention of this hard-to-reach but lucrative market. And all of this is developing as new means of connecting with audiences evolve almost daily.


No entity has done a better job at marrying Gen X nostalgia and new media than VH1 Classic. From traditional broadcast content to text tactics to iPhone apps, VH1 Classic is ahead of the curve.


It all starts with broadcast content. Fishing with this wide net, VH1 cultivates budding consumer relationships with vast blocks of relevant material. Saturday and Sunday mornings, VH1 Classic devotes more than three hours each day to classic 1980s hits. During the videos, viewers are encouraged to add he songs as ringtones on their phones via a text message. But that’s only the beginning of the mobile fun. Viewers are also urged to hop online visit the Vh1 Classic Web site, specifically a section designed expressly for the mobile-inclined consumer (http://www.vh1.com/mobile/). Here viewers can sign up for games, upload videos, register for content alerts and daily “blasts”, learn how to participate in discussions and even access specially designed “made for mobile” content. It’s a virtual cornucopia of mobile action!


One of the biggest complaints, even among educated cell phone owners, is a lack of understanding when it comes to available functions. Most with a BlackBerry of iPhone sheepishly admit they likely only use a fifth of the machine’s capabilities. Why? It isn’t because they don’t want to, it’s because they don’t know how. VH1 Classic has that base covered too! It’s simple: Click on your wireless carrier, enter your cell number, wait for a text offering more instructions and then start rockin’!


The final bark

I really have no interest in accessing a wide variety of content – or marketing messages for that matter – through my sadly outdated cell phone. The Internet and TV are enough for me. But, if firms are inclined to reach out with this new channel, they’d do well to take a page from Classic.