Globo’s recent bet on the remake of the soap opera “Renascer”, following the trail of success of “Pantanal”, points to a notable trend in entertainment in recent years: the appreciation of nostalgia. This interest of the industry and, mainly, of the consumer in affective memory, is not restricted to the national scenario. It is a global phenomenon, as demonstrated by the successive successes of films such as “Super Mario”, “Barbie” and, the recently released, “Mean Girls”. In addition to pure entertainment, these nostalgic contents signal a deeper social demand, connected with our times – the need to ‘ReCommunize’.
For some years now, the growing epidemic of loneliness has been discussed. But it was during the Pandemic that this feeling of disconnection and loneliness became more pronounced, leaving lasting marks on society. In Brazil, this reality is even stronger, as revealed by an Ipsos survey: 50% of Brazilians felt lonely, a number well above the global average of 33%. This loneliness epidemic is not a Brazilian phenomenon, but is growing in different parts of the world.
Social networks are one of the factors that intensify this loneliness and the fragmentation of common sense. These digital platforms, while connecting, create bubbles of parallel realities. People mostly interact with those who share their own opinions and interests, which weakens the fabric of collective experience. This fact leaves real-life interactions without a common reference, damaging experiences of emotional connection between the people around them.
In this context, remakes and nostalgic films are not just entertainment. They represent a vital link for social reconnection and function as a socialization strategy. By reliving past cultural experiences, they are able to transport to the present a common place where people from different generations and different social spheres can reconnect, creating new social ties.
Anthropologist Victor Turner highlights the importance of these shared moments of experiences, memories and behaviors for building or strengthening community ties and social integration. When we have common experiences and points of reference, we begin to recognize ourselves in other people and reduce loneliness.
“ReCommunize” can be an excellent strategy for connecting brands and people, and generating positive memorability. Furthermore, it can serve as a sales catapult, in some cases. By relying on symbols, images and references from another time, we offer a common ground for interaction and dialogue.
On TikTok we recently had an example of a stationery store that found items from the 2000s in its stock and made them available for sale to the public. Not only did it generate virality, visibility and spontaneous conversation for the store, it also accelerated the sale of these nostalgic items. Another example is Carmed Fini: although Fini gum is still a product that lives with us today, by bringing the brand to a pharmacy item, they caused an uproar not only among children, but also among adults. In the field of on-site experiences, we have Sandy and Junior’s tour even before the pandemic. And in the field of communication, we can remember the case of Banco PAN with Bruna Marquesine and Luciano Huck, or Volkswagen with Maria Rita and Elis Regina.
Therefore, the appeal of these contents shows more than simple nostalgia. They point to a desire to relive a collective past and, at the same time, to ‘ReCommunize’ in a shared present. They establish a starting point for new forms of socialization precisely by remembering a common past. They show that affective memory and nostalgia can be effective strategies in times of social fragmentation and loneliness.
*Yuri Alcantara is Planning Manager at Artplan