The global pandemic turned life as we knew it upside down. Nostalgia became a coping mechanism for many in 2020 as people turned to the past to escape an unsettling present. Our Kids and the Screen study’s latest insights reveal that kids and parents turned to subscription video on demand (SVOD) services and Live TV during lockdown for entertainment and companionship with over two-thirds of SVOD viewers reporting watching content on these platforms with family.

Since a large amount of production was halted during the lockdown, broadcasters were unable to produce new content and a lot of channels became synonymous with repeats. This resulted in a proportion of our audience turning to video-on-demand services because it was a place to watch their favourite content (48%) and content that could be binge-watched (13%). Viewing of nostalgic content on video-on-demand services was also on the rise with classic shows such as The Simpsons, Fireman Sam, The Big Bang Theory, and Friends becoming more popular to view than previous waves. These insights are supported by a recent Ipsos MORI study that reported increased viewing of nostalgic titles such as Only Fools and Horses and Last Summer of Wine by almost 30% compared to the previous year.

Nostalgia has gone beyond the big screen

It’s no secret that more adults than ever now play video games. According to our insights, nearly a fifth of kids find out about new games or games consoles from Mum or Dad, a statistic that increased over lockdown. As the younger generation of parents who have grown up as gamers themselves carry their hobby into adulthood, they are likely passing their love of video games onto their kids with a third of parents not being worried about the time kids spend playing them. Video game content soared during the pandemic with over two-thirds of 7–12-year-olds reporting playing more games now than they used to. Simulation and strategy games were content kings in 2020, as games such as The Sims offered a distraction and a way to connect with loved ones.

This trend is here to stay as kids are not only playing video games but watching them too. Nearly half of kids today have seen the best gaming advertisements on YouTube, surpassing vlogger content in popularity.

Nostalgia is a powerful tool when marketing products

As we prepare to head into the final quarter of the year, many of us will have Christmas in our minds. A few companies have used nostalgia as a powerful marketing tool by revamping old campaigns. Just like classic TV shows, classic brands remain timeless! When parents were asked what their favourite brands for their child were they recalled classics such as Lego (38%), Disney (19%), and Crayola (6%). Kids followed in the footsteps of their parents with Lego (44%) and Disney (21%) frequently coming out on top when kids were asked to name their favourite brands. Lockdown hasn’t shifted kids’ brand preferences proving if it isn’t broke don’t fix it! With over two-thirds of kids reporting that they own a product from Lego, it’s a love likely passed down the generations.

In light of this year’s parent-set trends and uncertainty surrounding the future of Christmas, brands will want to capitalise on nostalgia in their marketing strategies. During a time when it feels like everything has changed, nostalgia evokes feelings of security, comfort, and trust, leading consumers to feel more confident and willing to spend!


Giraffe Insights, Kids and The Screen Study (April 2021)

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