Self-isolation nostalgia: The new bestseller

The coronavirus nostalgia is going to be a top selling product and a cash cow for agile marketers and sellers – because these 100 days have shaken the world as much as the ten days of 1917. Three months of self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered by everyone for a long time, although of course, everyone has experienced it in their own way.

Self-isolation orders, mandatory wearing of gloves and facemasks, telework, digital passes, and punishments for violation of lockdown requirements are unlikely to be forgotten any time soon. In fact, the spring of 2020 felt like Brezhnev’s stagnation period in miniature – in a fast-forward mode. These strong emotions and deep impressions are bound to quickly come back as nostalgia. And some of us would be dying to relive the experience by plunging into the atmosphere, not just talking about it, mixing facts with fiction.

Self-isolation has become a thing – a full-fledged format and an original trend with its own characteristic features. In a short time, it has developed into a distinct mental image that will be easy to recreate and replicate later – thematic restaurants with special menus of buckwheat and canned stew, toilet paper instead of napkins and penalty shots of vodka for failure to wear a mask; quest rooms and game zones decorated as ‘COVID bunkers.’ Not to mention self-isolation museums that won’t let visitors in unless, in addition to their tickets, they also have facemasks, gloves, a string bag, and maybe even a dog on a leash.

Restaurants will recreate remote formats that people liked so much during the lockdown, and integrate online and offline. For instance, organize a live party with a virtual – via Skype or Zoom – bar counter. To restaurant owners, this format would be a real catch, for it will allow for bringing together numerous peoples from various countries. The restaurant will engage in the organization of such parties and provide high-speed internet access, large monitors, quality sound and quick access at the expense of the receiving party. It is possible that such bars will become more popular than karaoke bars.

There are numerous examples to follow. In Moscow, it is the Petrovich restaurant chain, which reenacts the atmosphere of Soviet kitchens and communal apartments. In Germany, there is an entire commercial trend, Ostalgie, nostalgia for aspects of life in East Germany, the Berlin Wall and the Socialist era in general. So, the commercial imagination can run in search for ways to make money on the ruins of the pandemic.

Nostalgia marketing and sales have been prompting customers to spend money for a long time. The coronavirus pandemic is no exception for one simple reason: overcoming the pandemic, fear and loneliness is worth its weight in gold.

Negative feelings will go away, while the feeling of victory over a mortal enemy will not. People will be ready to pay to feel themselves victorious again even without discounts and other marketing tricks, that will always be there. Consumers will never skimp on that.

By Igor Pylayev, Co-Chair of the Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia) Committee for the Development of the Film and Television Industry

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