2017 Rewind: What’s Old is New Again

I’m essentially an old cat lady who never leaves her home, minus the age and lacking the cat. I decided to venture out the other day for some Christmas shopping (which was a mistake, I’ll go back to online shopping in the future), but in the process I stumbled across some “hot items” and gifts for Christmas 2017 that surprised me… because they’re not at all “new”. And that got me thinking… many of the 2017 trends aren’t new or original, they’re just “repurposed”.

Firstly, this old broad crawled into Urban Outfitters, which is way too cool for me, but that’s beside the point. They had tons of displays of gift items and stocking stuffers and one of their biggest pushes were for Polaroid cameras, frames for Polaroid photos and accessories. Yes,  Polaroid’s, like the Outkast song. Now this was a gift I was excited to see considering I always wanted a Polaroid camera but they were too expensive, especially for the film. Of course these cameras are now cute and hip and stylish and all of those adjectives, but they’re essentially the same camera and technology of your past, and still not exactly cost efficient.

As I walked upstairs at Urban Outfitters, the walls were lined with vinyl records and there were all kinds of turntables for sale. I knew vinyl was making a comeback and I know it sounds so much better than a digital file, but I didn’t realize how trendy it had become! We have a turntable and a bunch of records at home and love to listen to them, so maybe I really am cool after all!

The biggest surprise was a large array of cassette tapes and cassette players. Oh yes, good ol’ cassette tapes. With the popularity of recent hits like Stranger Things and Guardian’s of the Galaxy, it’s pretty smart of these companies and brands to take advantage of the opportunity to hit the market with a fun, throwback gift. It’s cute, it’s simple and it’s cheap/easy for the manufacturer to make.

Now, for the ultimate item that made me squeal with delight I discovered at Walmart, of all places. TAMAGOTCHI’S! In the 90’s EVERYONE had Tamagotchi’s, they would bring them to school, have them at church and be playing with them in the car. If you’ve never heard of these wonderful toys, it’s a tiny little electronic game where you looked after and cared for a little “pet” or creature as if you were its owner. You would feed it, take it outside, make sure it slept, essentially be its caregiver. I had one when I was little, and after a few times of forgetting to feed my Tamagotchi, my mom swore she would never let me have another one. Look at me now, Mom! I CAN BUY MY OWN!

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Tamagotchi has come out with new units that have the same egg-shaped design, simple controls and the same mission: keep your pet alive. The Tamagotchi has been named the toy of Christmas 2017 and has been selling out everywhere, causing fights and disruptions in stores across the United States. When I saw the signs at Walmart I ran around trying to find them, only to discover that they were sold out. Online people are selling theirs for $60-$100, when they were originally purchased for less than $20! This was genius marketing on Tamagotchi’s end, bringing them out around the holidays and at an affordable cost, making the demand high. As bummed as I am not to have my own little keychain pet right now, it’s exciting to see one of my favorite childhood items back in popularity. Along with choker necklaces. Who would have thought the 90’s would be so hot again?

Now that we’re at the end of the year, what trends do you think will be hot for 2018? Since the 90s were hot this year, maybe we’ll be re-celebrating the turn of the 21st century. Frosted tips, halter tops, bedazzled jeans, studded belts and Razr flip phones. That’s what I think (and hope) will come back in style for 2018.

Is there something that could make your product the Tamagotchi of 2018? An example would be our client Antennas Direct, they got their first big media hits EONS ago with a picture frame TV antenna. It was different, shocking, original and downright cool, but as the industry grew, they came out with new antennas and the picture frame became a distant memory. Just this past month, they re-released the picture frame TV antenna as the ClearStream VIEW and it’s already receiving rave reviews. They took the product that first gave them success and re-evaluated it and produced something the market wanted.  A few things to consider if you’re looking to travel down this route of revisiting a classic would be:

  • Was it a good, popular product in the first place?
  • Is there some demographic or pop cultural trend you can tie it to?
  • Is there an audience today that perhaps didn’t exist back then?
  • Is there a platform that didn’t exist back then to share the information that could be a help today?

What are your predictions, for your own products and your favorites of yesteryear you’d like to see again, for 2018, and what do you hope stays in the past and never makes a comeback?