Anemoia - Why the next gen expresses nostalgia for the 90s and 00s

The fashion highlights of the 90s and 00s are currently experiencing a comeback in the next generation offline as well as on social media. But where does this phenomenon come from and what insights can marketers gain from it who want to address a young target group?

AnemoiaThe phenomenon has a name: Anemoia.

If this is the first time you've heard of the term, don't worry, because you're probably not alone. The term was coined in 2014 by author John König and has recently been gaining more and more traction in its use.

In his book "The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows" the author tries to fill gaps in the English language. He gives a name to feelings that we all know, but for which there was none until now. For example, the feeling of nostalgia for a time that one could not possibly have experienced oneself: Anemoia.

This feeling is not new. In the '90s, the music and style of the '70s were the source of inspiration for young people; in the '00s, young people picked up on the trends of the '80s. The phenomenon runs like a thread through youth culture and has now arrived at Gen Z.

Key Insights

  • Anemoia is the feeling of nostalgia for a time that one could not have experienced oneself.
  • The phenomenon is particularly strong in Gen Z. The fashion and trends of the 90s and 00s are currently making a comeback among the young generation.
  • Reasons for the strong expression are unclear. A connection between the strong tendency to anemoia and social media and mental health cannot be ruled out.

What does this mean for marketers?

Next-Gen agency Jim & Jim will present the most exciting insights from various studies and focus groups on November 4 at Switzerland's largest social media marketing conference, the WebStage Masters.

In general, marketers should make sure that the visual design is in line with the trend of the time - so far nothing new. At the moment, you can score points with the aesthetics of the 90s and 00s.

Examples include the kidcore trend, in which inspiration is drawn from children's clothing. TV characters are incorporated to create an obnoxiously cute and colorful look. Also, the resurgent fondness for '00s emo bands like My Chemical Romance, TV series like Friends, and sports brands like Fila and Champion just screams anemoia. Add to that the resurgence of apps like Dispo, which lets you conjure up a disposable camera look for your photos. Gen Z trends are nostalgia-soaked.

The fact that Gen Z's life is strongly characterized by being online means that comparisons with other generations should nevertheless be made with caution.

Whether the younger generation is more susceptible to anemoia these days is difficult to answer. Looking at current trends, however, there is a very strong sense of nostalgia in many topics.

An interesting factor in this phenomenon also appears to be mental health. In England, 84 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds said they had suffered from mental health problems at some point, according to Voxburner. Understandably, then, many long for a comforting reminder of a more innocent time. At this point, as is often the case, the "always-on" influence comes into play. The constant confrontation with news and advertising tires and reinforces nostalgia for a time before social media. A time that Gen Z did not experience and therefore idealized.

About the WebStage Masters

For the fourth edition, the Swiss social media industry will meet at The Dolder Grand Hotel Zurich on November 4, 2021. The 400 visitors from the fields of marketing, communications, media and PR will be offered a lineup that is quite something on three stages in parallel. Among others, Facebook, Heineken, Groupe Mutuel and the University of St. Gallen will share their latest insights with the audience. In addition to the "classic social media topics" such as social commerce, LinkedIn updates and sustainability communication on Instagram, speakers on topics such as messenger marketing and podcasts will round off this year's program.

Details about the program and the speakers as well as tickets are available at Until the end of August, visitors can still benefit from tickets at the Early Bird price.

This article was created as part of a media partnership between m&k and Webstage Masters.

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