Wealth generation: How parents use nostalgia to pass brands to children

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Favourite brands are passed down through generations, for all types of family, the research reveals. Kenwood, with its strong nostalgic values of parents baking with their children, is one that benefits from this trend.

Marketing manager Jane Perry says such nostalgia is a strong part of the brand identity, and understanding how this relates to emotional attachment is something it is looking to understand further.

“For a lot of young women, the Kenwood mixer was something they saw in their grandma’s kitchen, and the brand is still very much a feature on wedding lists. It’s about turning a child that makes after-school smoothies with Kenwood appliances into a customer in later life,” she says.

Discovery’s study notes that brand preferences passed down by parents can go through a cycle of acceptance by children. Their initial high standing in kids’ minds is sometimes followed by a rebellion to push away what is seen as ’uncool’. But then brands often come full circle, as the now grown-up children remember the impact the brands had on their childhood. “I still ask my mum’s advice on food and cleaning products. If my mum trusts them I know I can,” says a mother in an ’achievers’ family.

Brands can also be passed upwards by generations. Children in one family took their parents shopping at fashion brands Topshop and Superdry, and helped their father pick an iPhone. Grandparents even absorbed technology brands from grandchildren. One grandmother notes: “I haven’t got any of these brands but I like to be able to talk about these things to them.”

While teenagers are quick to pick up on brand trends and to pressure parents into buying branded items for them, Discovery saw that trends for this age group wear off fast. This may prompt brands to introduce colour variants or limited editions.

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Rachel Hunter and her daughter Renee Stewart

Some brands trade on nostalgia with a modern-day touch. In Australia and New Zealand, Pantene shampoo is famously linked to model and former wife of Rod Stewart, Rachel Hunter. She became synonymous with the brand’s 1990s catchphrase, ’It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen’. Last year, Hunter reprised her role as brand ambassador, this time with daughter Renee Stewart in tow.

Hunter’s reappearance and Stewart’s debut was to mark a brand refresh, encompassing a new shampoo formula and packaging. The duo embarked on a tour, giving interviews to media outlets on the way to generate PR for the campaign.

The brand will also push the family connection this year and will roll out its ’Proud sponsors of mum’ campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. It paid for 25 athletes’ mothers to watch their children compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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