Lately I’ve been reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie on a nightly basis. Each time I open the book and tell my almost-3 year old about the critter’s shenanigans, I’m transported to the library of my elementary school. I can remember so clearly sitting cross-legged looking up at the librarian as she read the same words aloud. The fact that our public library still has plenty of copies of this 1985 book is a testament to the power of nostalgia. Parents who grew up reading about the mouse and his cookie have a little flashback when reading the same stories to their kids.
Nostalgia is a powerful force, especially when woven into marketing. In the world of higher education, nostalgia works wonders for alumni fundraising. Take our Funding with Rhyme and Reason animation we created for the Dartmouth College Fund (DCF). Not only does it elicit memories of being a carefree 20-something on campus, but the rhyming whimsy takes it a step further—injecting a Saturday-morning-cartoon vibe.
In this case, the ask of 2A was to reinvent DCF’s Wacky Business Model animation, which made unfortunate parallels between Dartmouth and begging for money. The animation also didn’t quite land why tuition funding is so complex.
Our first instinct was to write a song and perform it like a Schoolhouse Rock! episode. Then we realized we’re not folk singers. Instead, using singalongs as a springboard, we walked viewers through a complicated funding equation with a little water theme to tie it all together. A reservoir, pipes, and barrels played a serious role in explaining why giving is still important for a school with a large endowment. Meanwhile, the animation’s rhyming roots keep it light and upbeat.
So the next time you want to tap into your audience’s nostalgia—we’re here for you, to create something new, and we’ll work hard, too, this much is true.