Paw'd Defiance

A Green Cookie Monster?

August 14, 2019 Season 1 Episode 18
Paw'd Defiance
A Green Cookie Monster?
Chapters
Paw'd Defiance
A Green Cookie Monster?
Aug 14, 2019 Season 1 Episode 18
UW Tacoma Professor Altaf Merchant
A discussion about how companies use nostalgia to get consumers to purchase their products.
Show Notes Transcript

Think back to your childhood or a time in your life you really enjoyed. What do you see? Chances are your memories of that particular time are attached to a song, movie, product, etc. Nostalgia can be a powerful feeling which is why companies use it in their advertising. UW Tacoma Professor Altaf Merchant studies nostalgia. He'll discuss how it works and how study participants responded to the idea of a green Cookie Monster. 

Speaker 1:
0:00
Do you all seek happiness? We all seek a feeling of contentment and warmth. And I think what companies are realizing is that that can be a big motivator to purchase products
Speaker 2:
0:12
from you to up Tacoma. This is pod defiance. Welcome to pod defiance where we don't lecture, but we do educate. I'm your host Catherine Feltz. Today on the pod nostalgia with UDaB Tacoma professor. I'll talk merchant merchant studies, how companies use nostalgia and their advertising to build brand loyalty. We'll talk about the power of nostalgia and why we think it makes us a bit more human.
Speaker 3:
0:49
So I'm Catherine felts. I am staff at the university of Washington and a recent graduate in gender studies. And I'm here with Altaf merchant today to talk about nostalgia. Could you briefly introduce yourself for us?
Speaker 1:
1:02
Thank you very much. Um, my name is Altaf merchant. I'm a professor of marketing at the Milgard school of business and I'm also associate Dean there. Uh, so that's, that's a very basic about me and, um, in terms of, you know, um, my research interests and what I like to do. Um, well, I like to do a lot of research and my research is focused on branding and advertising and consumer behavior. And I've spent, uh, over 15 years, uh, studying nostalgia. So, uh, that's, that's my broad research agenda. And, um, besides that, I'm also, I'm a visiting professor in universities in France and India and Belgium. So let's talk about
Speaker 3:
1:43
nostalgia. Can you give us a basic understanding of nostalgia or maybe a definition of nostalgia?
Speaker 1:
1:48
Oh, absolutely. You know, uh, our understanding and, um, the academic understanding as well as the practitioners or the managers understanding of nostalgia, it's really evolved. So, uh, if you look at the, the, uh, the Genesis of the word nostalgia, it comes from two Greek words, nostrils and algos. And, um, for a long period of time, nostalgia was associated with the homesickness. Okay. So is this longing that you want to go home? And, and, uh, at a point of time it was seen as a disease because it was seen as a sign of weakness among, uh, soldiers and sailors who went out. Uh, and, uh, so that was, that was a thing for a very long period of time. And when I started this entire journey on nostalgia or 15 years ago, our understanding was not really very deep. Uh, then, you know, there were some people who started talking of it as a personality trait.
Speaker 1:
2:36
And so that was the thinking. But over the years, and, uh, the, the state of knowledge and, uh, our understanding has really evolved. And now if you look at nostalgia, it's, it's a, it's a longing for a bat, for the best. Okay. But what is beautiful about this, about this construct or this, this emotion and feeling is it's, it's multifaceted or multi-dimensional. Uh, there are positive emotions associated with it. So people smile, people feel happy, people feel joy, people feel ties. Uh, there is a negative aspect of it as well because people feel bitterness. They feel sadness, they feel a sense of loss. There's a lot of, uh, imagery and memory associated with it. Uh, which is the third dimension of nostalgia. Okay. And the last part of nostalgia is really physiological. So what, what re what my research has found is that when you are talk to people about the past, many times are tears in people's AISES. Uh, sometimes they, you see a smile on their face. Sometimes they say if they feel hungry, they feel thirsty. They have goosebumps, the tears that roll out from the eyes. So there are lots of different, um, uh, physiological manifestations of nostalgia.
Speaker 3:
3:42
Right. Yeah. That's interesting that you mentioned that. Um, when you, when I think of nostalgia in general, when other people are talking about nostalgia, it seems to be really like that homesickness that you mentioned or just thinking about the past or thinking about things that have happened. But when I was kind of reading up about nostalgia, um, in preparation for this, one of the things that really intrigued me was that, um, nostalgia could make you warmer. And often people who are like feeling cold or feeling, um, like kind of needing a physical something, we'll think about the past and think about fond memories to feel better or to feel warmer or to feel a different way. So I think that's really interesting that you've mentioned that. Um, so now we kind of have a good understanding of witnessed algia is how do you measure nostalgia? How does one, I mean, you, you talked about seeing those physiological signs, like maybe they're smiling or crying. What other ways do we have to determine that it's nostalgia is happening or occurring?
Speaker 1:
4:40
Yeah. So, um, in, in, in the academic literature, we talk a lot about the measurement of nostalgia. And if you look at, if you look at the, the construct of nostalgia, it doesn't happen in a vacuum. And I think I'm also building on the point you made earlier about the warm feelings that come up. People start feeling warm. Uh, what research also shows is that, uh, under certain circumstances like loneliness or alienation or discontinuities, uh, think about a time when a child, and this is the season when we are writing ready to welcome our new students, right? So many students are leaving their homes and they're coming and, uh, coming in, you know, a bit anxious, a bit, uh, sad. And that's when they start longing for the, for the, uh, for the, for the homes and the field list from Australia. So coming back to your question about, uh, the measurement, uh, it's really difficult to imagine a strategy.
Speaker 1:
5:35
It's really difficult. Um, we look at different ways we can measure it. So, uh, my research in my research, I've published a lot of um, uh, scales, which are a list of questions that you ask people, uh, to respond to. So for example, you may show a consumer, uh, a nostalgic ad, uh, and then you may ask the consumer how the consumer feels and what thoughts come to their mind. And then you, you on the base of those questions, you aggregated and you say, okay, Tom feels in Australia level of a 7.2 on a scale of 10, whereas a Gemfields in nostalgia of 3.4. So there, that's one way of doing it, I think. But where the state of the knowledge is actually moving. And that's where I talk about our challenges. A large part of the nostalgia is almost automatic. You can't, or you can't catch the moment.
Speaker 1:
6:23
For the consumer because there's so many memories coming and even physiological reactions, uh, in the, in the measures that are existing, which I have developed, we ask the consumer to rate on, you know, uh, how far do you agree with the question that I smiled or tears came down my eyes. I feel goosebumps. But it'd be really beautiful if you can, if you can really measure nostalgia using a physiological, uh, measures, for example, the body temperature, for example, a heartbeat. Uh, and that would be really cutting edge. And I think that's where a lot of my future focused thoughts are going to progress towards, which is going to be supporting the self-reported measures, which, which a lot of work has happened and I've done a lot of work on that as well.
Speaker 3:
7:04
That's very interesting. So right now though, to kind of summarize, the main thing is really questionnaires basically like having participants evaluate what they were feeling or how they're reacting, but potentially having the ability to like track somebody's heartbeat or how warm they are when viewing an image or things like that. Okay. That's really cool. Um, so you've talked about like when assault is, how do you view it or see it? How are companies utilizing this Dalia? Like what does nostalgia look like in advertising and how effective is that?
Speaker 1:
7:35
So there have been a lot of different ads. So companies utilize not nostalgia in advertising in their branding strategies, in the back designs and packed logos in the point of sales material. So what people, what companies are really realizing is that nostalgia is such a powerful emotion. Uh, it is such a powerful, a state of mind that consumers or out have a really happy or positive outcome. So as I said, there are different dimensions to nostalgia. Uh, as I mentioned, positive emotions and negative emotions, um, uh, past imagery and memory and then physiological. And as also mentioned that there are some negative aspects of nostalgia in terms of negative emotions, but the overall outcome should be positive. And what that happens with this overall outcome of this positive, fuzzy feeling, warm feelings that temps people to feel good about themselves. And, and let's face it, we all seek happiness.
Speaker 1:
8:29
We all seek a feeling of contentment and warmth. And I think what companies are realizing is that that can be a big motivator to purchase products. So some examples, uh, if you, if, uh, in 2009, uh, Pepsi launched, um, uh, an ad, an ad which was all about, uh, the Pepsi Anthem and that had Bob Dylan and black IPS, uh, singing together and that had imagery of the, of the past and imagery of the present and really talking about this intergenerational and that, uh, and it was really targeted towards baby boomers and generation X and make them all fuzzy about the past. Uh, recently in 2013, Microsoft also use a lot of nostalgia advertising for the internet Explorer. It was very interesting ad in their ad for this book off. They did not, they did not talk about Microsoft as such, but they spoke about what was relevant at that point of time.
Speaker 1:
9:20
So they spoke about, uh, the, the Walkman. Okay. Okay. Uh, they spoke about a baggy pants. They spoke about the style, the way people were, what they ate, what games, the players who they played. They showed, you know, the hungry, hungry hippo game and all that kind of stuff. And that was really targeting people who grew up in the 90s when we were kids in the nineties and now, now these kids are much older and, and the talking about, you know, Hey, Microsoft was live in then Microsoft is irrelevant now. And then, uh, more recently, and that's even more interesting. You will find it pretty cute. Um, Nintendo. Okay. Yeah. So Pokemon completed, uh, 20 years, right? And so they, uh, in 2016 Superbowl, uh, they had an ad which was really talking about, uh, it was, it was an ad about a father and son watching, uh, a show on TV and that had imagery from, um, from intern to 20 years ago.
Speaker 1:
10:12
So it had characters from, from those days. And ad was father and son both looking together. And again, there was this intergenerational link and there was this touch upon nostalgia as well. So if you look at these three examples, which I've given, which are pretty, you know, diverse in terms of product categories and across time periods. I think the key thing in this is evoking that nostalgia, but linking it to the present. Because what you want to do is you want to make people feel good about the past, but link it to now get them back because the moment you just take them to the past and leave them there, that's when all the sorrow and regret and the unhappiness comes in. You want to link the past to the present and you want to give the sense of continuity where people feel, okay, things may be difficult now or things will be challenging now. Or my role has changed as a person. I was earlier, a single independent young man or a young woman and now I have a child and so my life situation has changed in my, my situation has become more complicated, but here there is this, this youth or there is this golden era in my heart, right? Which I like to keep kindling. So it's very important to link the nostalgic emotions to bring it to today. Otherwise you may lose the customer and the customer may feel quite sad and you don't want someone to feel sad.
Speaker 3:
11:31
Right, right. Yeah. You definitely don't want them associating your product with being depressed. Hey everyone, it's Kat here. It's summer in the Pacific Northwest, sort of despite the clouds. This is the time of year to get out and have some fun. And what could be more fun than watching Avengers end game on the big screen at Cheney stadium, you'd have to comment as hosting its annual movie night on Thursday, August 29th from five 30 to 9:00 PM admission is free and the concession stands will be open. Should you want to get some snacks to register, visit the calendar section on the YouTube Tacoma home page and follow the links
Speaker 1:
12:15
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
12:15
so why do you think or what does the research show, I mean we've already talked about like being able to access a little bit of that feeling that you used to have or that feeling that you think you used to have, but why is nostalgia effective and advertising or why might it not be effective in advertising? You didn't mention
Speaker 1:
12:32
like if they leave you in the past and you're still kind of feeling like, Oh, why can't I have that feeling? But are there other spots where it doesn't work? Yeah, so I'm, what my research has shown is that, um, nostalgia is effective, but it works for different people in different ways. Okay. So it's more effective for people who feel alienation, who feel disconnected with others. It works better for people who are lonely or wow. Uh, it works better for people who feel a sense of discontinuity. Certain type of personality traits also play a role for, for instance, if certain people have a propensity to get nostalgic, uh, then that, uh, those people also tend to, um, tend to react better to nostalgia. So there are, there are personality related factors. As I mentioned. The other thing is our experience with the product. If I have experienced this particular product when I was, uh, younger, uh, then I would probably be more likely to evoke, to feel like nostalgic emotion even now.
Speaker 1:
13:29
So you need to have some kind of a relationship. And what is very interesting is that, uh, what my research has found is that what Australia does is that it, it strengthens the relationship between the brand and the consumer. So think about it. You are taking the consumer back to the consumers life, right? And it may have something to do the brand to, to do with the brand may not, for example, the Microsoft ad, it had imagery or baggy pants and hungry, hungry hippo and the Walkman, which are generally just just reminders to the people about the past. So what you're really doing is you're then taking those emotions, those feelings, those, those memories and you're linking it to your brand. There is an effect transfer which happens. So the fuzzy feeling that you're having is then transferred onto your brand, right? To what, what my research has shown is that, um, this particular effect transfer happens very strongly when, uh, there is a relationship that the consumer has with the brand and it strengthens it even further. Now what that means is even those who did not have a relationship for them to decide can work or this kind of communication can work. Because it still results in a, an uh, I would say, uh, it's not, uh, a real transfer, but it's an imagined transfer of feelings which happens. Right. Okay. So like for example, if I am
Speaker 3:
14:52
not familiar with the product, but I have like, I view an ad that shows like, Oh, everybody loves this product and everybody feels this way when they use this product, then if I'm somebody who's like maybe more susceptible to nostalgia, I would feel like, Oh, if I have this product, then I also can access these feelings. Right. Like right and good. And in, in, in, uh, marketing, you all to talk a little bit about fake memories. People are, do not always remember very clearly in terms of what memories they had. For example, a, do you remember the first time you went to Disney and hug Mickey mouse? I do actually. Yeah. But there are some people who don't really remember this. Okay. Yeah, I remember. So there is this power of suggestion. So you suggest, suggested, okay. I remember I had gone to Disneyland when I was a kid.
Speaker 3:
15:37
Yeah. Yeah. I can see myself as hugging Mickey mouse, not remember it, but there is a very strong power of suggestion. So even though people may not, um, uh, I may not have autobiographical memories, uh, there are also in terms of your suggested memories or freq memories or imagined memories which, uh, play a role in nostalgia. Okay. And that's why it becomes so powerful and the appeal becomes so much broader that even though you may not have an interaction with the product, you can still benefit from it as an organization. Right? Yeah. I didn't think about that. But having that ability to like, okay, maybe I didn't ever go to Disney as a child, but this is what it might have felt like by viewing this ad. And now that I'm a parent, I want my kids to have that. Yup. Okay. It's insidious, but also very exciting. Um, so there's this really interesting quote from the New York times story that says, nostalgia makes us a little bit more human. Do you agree with that? Do you feel like that kinda captures what nostalgia is? I mean, I know we talked about like people who maybe feeling alienated or feel more lonely, like tend to connect more deeply to things that are nostalgic. So does that, that saying hold up then nostalgia makes us a little bit more human. So that's very vague.
Speaker 1:
16:55
Sting a goat. And if you look at, if you look at the economic status of, of people across the world, right? And my research, um, you know, I've done, I've done nostalgia related work in, in, in India and Belgium, Germany, France, um, South Korea, that's across different countries. And all these countries are different culturally and, uh, different at different stages of economic development, right? So what happens and what is really what I'm really noticing is that as countries become, uh, more, um, more economically prosperous, uh, become more, uh, Hellenistic and become, we become lost in the pursuit of worldly pleasure. Uh, relationships are replaced by, uh, ambition and, uh, people connect less with each other, uh, than they would in a traditional situation. For my research in India is showing that, uh, you know, India is traditionally a very collectivistic country where social connections are very important.
Speaker 1:
17:57
But what's happening now is that there is a tension because there is economic prosperity and this, this pursuit of happiness and this pursuit of a worldly possessions and this, this ambition and the these dreams which is, which is all great, which is all very valid. But what happens in that as those connections which people had as a society started becoming a bit too weaker. So what happens in society generally is that, uh, in such situation, um, people become more businesslike, more, um, ambitious and cutthroat. And that's the reality of, of life. What happens with nostalgia as mixed as a vulnerable makes us feel, uh, this kind of warm fuzzy feeling which helps us reconnect with this golden or real or imagined past that we may be having. Right? And therefore, I think it makes us more human. It makes us more, uh, more sensitive to our more emotional parts of our, of our being and many download happens is that nostalgia reinforces our self identity as well.
Speaker 1:
18:59
Because when things are changing very fast, when the situation is not what it was, there is this feeling that, you know, ah, there is a broader continue to which is felt. For example, my research in France shows that a nostalgia and France, uh, if it test the same ads as we have in the U S you'd test them in France, in France of course. Uh, there is a very strong national, uh, national nostalgia [inaudible] pride for the, the way the French way of living, uh, as compared to the U S where it's more, more autobiographical or individual. So what nostalgia does in that situation as well as gives you a sense of continuity, makes you, makes you connect with something which is, um, which is precious for you or something larger than life. And therefore it makes us a little bit more human, a little bit, a little bit more vulnerable in a nice way. Yeah. In a, in a, in a problematic way, but in a nice way. It makes us more human.
Speaker 3:
19:52
Yeah. That's, I appreciate that. That's really interesting that you mentioned that, um, that really thinking about like changing economically and how we relate to each other and what we spend the majority of our time on. So having that ability to maybe not actually like slow down or do something, but like, Hey, if I buy this coffee then I feel like I'm the kind of person that sip slowly on Sundays or if I wear these shoes then I'm the kind of person who's leisurely and takes vacations. Um, and then you have kind of access to that personality or that way of being. And you know, life,
Speaker 1:
20:26
it's so stressful that even though, uh, even though you can't actually slow down and you have bills to pay and you have jobs to be done and you have, you have things to be done and you want the next promotion and you want the next big car and you want the next big thing. But for that brief moment when you have full just coffee, you do slow down a bit. Or you have a, you have a breakfast cereal, which was your favorite. Here, for example, you have a honey nut Cheerios. And for that moment you're not you anymore. Your other young little kid in your parents' home away from all the problems. You just have that, that piece, then you're back with energy to face the real and then you have to pay for the cereal. But
Speaker 3:
21:13
Oh, very cool. Um, so talking a little bit more about research, and I know you've mentioned other countries and, and kind of how that, uh, how people perceive nostalgia and in other places, but can you tell us more about your research and specifically maybe starting with this, um, experiment you did with cookie monster and how people reacted to cookie monster?
Speaker 1:
21:38
Right. So that's a very interesting piece of a piece of research. And I, and this research actually started with, um, a colleague of mine from Cornell. Um, and she and I were generally talking, and this was in the 2008, 2009 when the cookie monster started eating vegetables, right? Yeah. And we said, huh, so what happens when the cookie monster started eating a vegetable? And so the larger question that we started probing was what happens when, um, these icons like cookie monster, the Michelin man, Ronald McDonald, when these brand characters, um, start changing. That was the big question that we were starting to think about. We did several focus groups to really understand how people feel about it. And we followed it up at several experiments. So what we found is that, um, there is a social connection which consumers make with these brand characters. Yeah. Let's, let's make this a little bit more, um, broader.
Speaker 1:
22:38
So for example, you may be watching a favorite TV show every day or every week and many times, you know, in our interviews, which we've done, uh, we asked people about, uh, who are the friends and many of them would mention, Oh yeah, I watch Oprah very often. And I think about it, people think of these media characters, which may, it may be, uh, Oprah, it may be some show you watched on friends or whichever TV show that you're watching and you, you see them and in your busy life they become somewhat friends for you. Yeah. Why did they become, they become human beings. Imagined friends. They're not your friends. You never met them in a, we'll talk to them, but their problems become your problems. They're having happiness become job. So when they have an achievement, you smile. When they cry, you cry. So you develop this kind of a connection.
Speaker 1:
23:26
You apply the same idea to the context of brand characters. Um, people grew up with these characters, right? Then you have your favorite cereal, you have that cartoon on it and you've seen that cartoon all your life. And it's like a friend and it's reassuring. It's on TV, jumping around the place. Uh, it is, uh, the crazy of tricks or whatever it is. And these, these are characters that people will develop relationships with them. So they are like friends. So when these characters change, the friend changes. So for instance, when you have a friend and uh, and your best friend, your best buddy is now very different. And he or she was not the way he or she was. When you are in college, and I know you've, you're experiencing a different stage in your life. And this person has changed. I don't, I don't know this person.
Speaker 1:
24:12
I don't this, I feel a sense of loss because my friend is, where's that beautiful, nice person that I knew this. I don't recognize this person. So the, the found that the same reactions occur when brand characters change because people have these intimate relationships with these characters and friends. And when this character students, a friend, that for them, it's like the friend has changed. And we started investigating the, the very basis of why does this happen? It is linked to this Shuman need to belong. And especially for people who are fearful, who have a high social anxiety at the same time, a high need to belong. So people who want to connect with people, but Walter, very anxious, right? In psychology, they are called fearful people. So when people have this, this kind of a situation, they feel the most loss when people, when these characters change, and these changes have real meanings for organizations.
Speaker 1:
25:06
And in our context, we looked at intention to donate as a prosocial behavior. And what happened was we saw that the intentions to donate to PBS, um, were lower for characters, which had for cookie monster, which I changed to green or vegetables or whatever else it may be. No, that's all good. That's all very academic. But think about a brand, right? From a brand's perspective, it's a dilemma, right? Of course, on one side, you don't want to change too much like cookie monster becoming green or the Michel and monster going to the gym or Ronald McDonald, um, being a different color or very different clothes or wearing a suit or whatever else it may be. So you know, that that may cause a big reaction among consumers and an adverse reaction and, uh, with vitriol, negative outcomes for the company. But at the same time, what do you do to not be seen as old, boring and outdated?
Speaker 1:
26:00
Because one of the big issues is brand holiness. Heritage and nostalgia is good, but oldness is not good, right? Yeah. Because you don't want to be seen as not my father's. Right. Right. And you don't want to be seen as something which is out of date and not contemporary. So that's where the challenge comes. And I have done some research on PAC labels with my colleagues from Germany. And what we found is that, uh, if you change your pack label and it changes these, these icons too quickly, uh, that causes a lot of confusion. Yeah. So you're talking about confusion, we're talking about a feeling of loss. We are feeling talking about a fearfulness. So the key thing is when companies are trying to make changes, they don't need to be too, they should not be too rash about it. They should not be too rushed about it. They should be very thoughtful. Uh, look at, uh, look at consumer reaction, uh, in, in market research before actually going and making those changes.
Speaker 3:
26:54
Yeah, that's, I think it's really good that you brought that up. Um, cause again, you know, I, I don't think most of us are thinking about like watching TV or you know, consuming food. Like, Hey, I'm hanging out with my friend or this is, this is, you know, this is my primary product. But it does really feel like that when you have something changed, like cookie monster is eating vegetables now it does feel like a loss. And if we're talking about nostalgia in marketing specifically being about that, finding a sense of belonging and feeling like you can identify or people who are fearful and really finding that like kind of group that they're part of. If something changes, then you start to question who you are in relation to it. Like, well, I've been buying this because I'm the kind of person that likes cookies and you know, is warm and open. So then who am I if this brand is different? That's really, that's really interesting.
Speaker 1:
27:43
Damn. Do you know what brands do is they try to personify the consumer. So cookie monster is a personification for, for children and childhood. It's a metaphor for childhood. It's a metaphor for freedom. So what companies do as many times do, these icons may, may look a cartoony and comic, but at a very subconscious and at a very deep level, uh, they use archetypes and metaphors, which these characters, uh, cue. And therefore, when someone sees that, you don't even know, but that's the character that is being evoked in your mind. Right. And therefore, when these archetypes change, uh, it can be very troublesome for the consumer individually and of course with outcomes, negative outcomes for the organization.
Speaker 3:
28:23
Yeah, I mean, again, very interesting, but I'm also like, I really need to learn more about media literacy, [inaudible] interpreting the things that I'm seeing. Um, okay. So we've talked about nostalgia, what it means. We haven't talked a lot about why you decided to study nostalgia, what this work kind of means to you. Can you give us a little bit of insight into that?
Speaker 1:
28:44
Sure. So, uh, my academic career is my second career. So I did my bachelor's degree in accounting. And, uh, I worked in accounting for some time and I realized that's not really my passion. So I did my MBA in marketing and after doing my MBA in marketing, I spent about 10 years as a brand manager and marketing manager. So, uh, I worked for various companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Reckitt, Benckiser, and a handled brands like Lysol, uh, handled, uh, brands like Aquafresh toothpaste. Uh, and then I handle, uh, other brands like holics. It's not available in the U S but it's available in various parts of Asia and Europe as a health food drink. It's like [inaudible] which gets half. So during my, my, my, um, experience as a brand and marketing manager, I was always intrigued by, uh, how consumers would talk about brands and how they would link it to the past.
Speaker 1:
29:39
I link it to the memories. Uh, that's when S this entire, um, the seed of an idea got planted in my mind. Uh, but of course those days I was not a researcher. I was, I was a marketing executive and therefore I did what I had to do for the company. Yeah. So in 2005, I decided that I wanted to have something more meaningful, something more substantial, and I wanted to pursue a career in academia. And so I did my PhD. Uh, I graduated in 2008 from old dominion university. And when I was doing my PhD, this, this idea of, of brands and nostalgia again came up in my mind. And that's the time when, um, I was also thinking, and I was, I was doing some consulting work for PBS. Okay. Those days, right? And I was, uh, I was in the office of PBS and you saw pictures of the frog and, and it really started sinking in.
Speaker 1:
30:26
I said, okay, I need to understand how, how nostalgia will work and how does that, how can that be used by an organization, for example, to donate to charity? And that's when my journey on Australia really started. Uh, it started with understanding what this construct is. And the more I read about it, the more I thought at that point of fan, the state of knowledge was really very nascent. People spoke of homesickness. They took a look of it as a negative emotion. They spoke of it as a longing, they spoke of it as a, uh, as a personality behavior. Uh, so I realize, Hey, this is a pretty neat area to be in. And that's when I started my work in Australia. And I, and I've, I've, I've actually loved my journey so far.
Speaker 3:
31:06
Yeah. It's, um, I will have to say that reading up about it to make sure that I'm conversant enough to be able to talk to you today was just so incredibly eye opening. Um, I think one of the things that was most interesting to me was reading about how like some researchers now are trying to sort of teach nostalgia is sort of like a coping mechanism for people who are feeling really lonely or who are like students who are in a new circumstance who kind of have that loss of identity and loss of belonging. And so like using memories or using things from your past that are positive or things that you've gotten through to really like re situate yourself as like a capable person and somebody who's had this kind of arc of success or resilience. So very interested to see where the field goes from here. Um, but I think we'll end on kind of a positive note. Right. Can you tell us about something that you are nostalgic for something that gives you a really positive experience of nostalgia? Yeah.
Speaker 1:
32:08
So I am, that's a, that's a very good question. I'm, I get very nostalgic about my childhood. I remember the time, uh, going to my, uh, grandparents home, right. Uh, and being just free during festivals and holidays and having the sense of, uh, you know, anything is possible and I, I can do anything. So there's a great sense of freedom. I also get very nostalgic for, uh, my mom's cooking and my mom doesn't stay with me out here in the us. She's in India. So I get very nostalgic for her cooking and I get nostalgic about my childhood and how supportive she was. So, uh, the, a lot of these small things, which, which make me nostalgic about, but you know, uh, interestingly, uh, the more research I do, the more self introspective and I try and analyze why I'm feeling what I'm feeling and what I'm feeling and the photos to some extent I become my own shrink.
Speaker 1:
33:07
But, uh, it is, uh, it is a, a great sense of, of feeling about the past and what, what has also made me do is me made me up a parent. We are trying very hard to build memories for my child and because I know at one point of time, uh, he's going to grow up fast and he's going to remember those days and hopefully remember them well. Right. And, uh, and have a nice life. So, so that's, that's basically, you know, using my own, uh, memories and my own expertise to, uh, duel maybe pass on some good things to my, my family and my children. Yeah. Okay. That was going to be my followup question. Like does it change how you relate to your son or how you expose him to things? Um, so yeah, like really working hard to craft things that he can look back on and, and have those warm fuzzy sometimes. Sometimes I feel quite, um, quite terrible about it because I, I know the, uh, the psychology behind it, but, uh, and I feel, Hmm, should I be doing this or not be doing it? But I said, you know, what is the best thing to do it. So just do it.
Speaker 1:
34:12
Ideally, hopefully, you know, like working to take him to Disneyland or, you know, express him to get food. Won't scar him for this done. But when we went to Disney for the first time many, many years ago, I made sure he did hug a Mickey mouse. [inaudible]
Speaker 2:
34:29
thank you for listening and a big thank you to moon yard recording studios and to, you'd up to coma senior lecturer and Nicole Blair for letting us play your music on the show. Be sure to subscribe and go to Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google podcasts, and pocket casts.
Speaker 4:
35:01
[inaudible].
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