Brands weave nostalgia into Saudi National Day campaigns

Nostalgia marketing has proven to be a compelling strategy to connect with consumers, says La3eb’s Hedaa Ashraf Abdulhamed

In the fast-paced world of marketing, where trends come and go, one strategy has been quietly gaining ground in Saudi Arabia – nostalgia marketing.

This approach goes beyond the traditional model of advertising; it seeks to bridge the gap between past traditions and contemporary culture, reviving cherished customs for modern audiences.

When it comes to Saudi National Day, brands have found a unique niche for nostalgia marketing, rekindling the nation’s deep-rooted traditions in innovative and meaningful ways.

The power of storytelling is central to nostalgia marketing. Brands craft narratives that weave together past and present, reminding audiences of the enduring values, customs and progress of Saudi Arabia. These stories often resonate deeply with consumers.

Toyota launched a campaign called ‘Saudi Pulse’ that celebrated the heritage of the kingdom. They produced a series of videos highlighting the country’s history, culture and traditions while subtly showcasing their vehicles. It was a great example of blending tradition with modernity.

Heritage-inspired products

Brands launch special edition products and collections that draw inspiration from Saudi heritage. These products might include limited-edition packaging, traditional foods or even merchandise with cultural motifs.

Hedaa Ashraf Abdulhamed, Social Media and Influencers Senior Marketing Manager at La3eb

In 2020, Starbucks celebrated Saudi National Day with a campaign titled ‘Tradition in Every Sip’. It introduced a limited-time offering called the ‘Arabian Mocha Latte’ inspired by the flavours of the Arabian Peninsula.

Another campaign that used the same method is McDonald’s. In 2020, McDonald’s launched a National Day campaign called ‘Unity Through Traditions’. It introduced a special menu with traditional Saudi flavours, such as the McArabia sandwich. The campaign aimed to celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Saudi Arabia.

Vintage advertisements

Some brands revisit and re-release classic National Day advertisements from years past like the Al-Baik campaign that released an advertisement that was originally created in the 1980s.

The original ad featured a heartwarming storyline of a Saudi family coming together to enjoy an Al-Baik meal during National Day festivities.

To recreate the nostalgia and capture the essence of the original campaign, Al-Baik meticulously reproduced the vintage advertisement with the same actors, costumes and settings.

The advertisement was reintroduced on television and social media platforms, accompanied by a hashtag campaign encouraging customers to share their own Al-Baik National Day memories.

Connecting generations

Connecting generations is a powerful marketing strategy in Saudi National Day campaigns. It taps into the values of family, unity and the passing down of traditions.

Almarai, one of the most recognised dairy brands in Saudi Arabia, adopted this strategy in 2018 with its ‘Generations of Goodness’ campaign.

They shared heartwarming stories of generations growing up with Almarai products, emphasising the brand’s role in Saudi family traditions.

Highlight brand legacy

 Emphasising the brand’s history and legacy in Saudi Arabia by sharing stories of when and how the brand was established in the country, reviving vintage branding elements, logos and packaging. This enriches the connection with older generations who remember the brand from earlier years.

Toyota is one of the brands that tapped into Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage perfectly by releasing a nostalgic campaign.

It showcased the evolution of its vehicles over the years, aligning each model with different eras of Saudi National Day celebrations. This approach resonated with the audience, highlighting Toyota’s long-standing presence in the country.

Interactive social media

Launch interactive social media campaigns that encourage users to share their own National Day memories, photos or stories, creating a sense of community.

This is one strategy that includes hundreds of creative tactics, from launching social media challenges or contests that involve recreating historical photos or sharing stories from the past to sharing video featuring traditional Saudi music or songs that have been associated with Saudi National Day celebrations in the past, brands can develop a lot of remarkable campaigns.

By Hedaa Ashraf Abdulhamed, Social Media and Influencers Senior Marketing Manager at La3eb