Pokémon. Crop tops are “in.” A Clinton running for office. Britney Spears has a new album.
We’re not exactly sure what’s happening, let alone what year it is. But we love it. And apparently so does everyone else.
It’s a season for nostalgia folks.
Sure, some of these things might soon be a vague memory once again. But for now people are dedicating their minutes (and buying into) the good ‘ol days.
Let’s face it: people like reminiscing. In a world where people are turning to real and authentic experiences to combat the loneliness of digital connections, it's no surprise that nostalgia keeps coming up. People take great comfort in going back to a time that was simple and honest and real.
Now, we’ve been bad and we know it. The Battle for Time is a weekly post and we unfortunately missed a week. So this week is a double whammy: it’s a double edition of The Battle for Time.
Two major things are being buzzed about right now (and no, it’s not the Olympics because apparently you can’t really talk about them): the release of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child and the growing bandwagon behind Netflix Original Series Stranger Things.
This is what captured our minutes this week.
1. Yer a wizard ‘Arry!
Potter fans everywhere cried and rejoiced at the announcement that writer Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany would be collaborating with J.K. Rowling on a play that would be the eighth instalment in the series.
While some were confused about the book being a “script book,” muggles, witches and wizards alike took to their favourite bookstore to secure their pre-orders.
Indigos everywhere threw huge midnight release parties, filled with sorting hat ceremonies, visits to the owlery, Quidditch games and more. People dusted off their Hogwarts gowns and pulled out their wands to once again solemnly swear that they were up to no good.
Not that anyone doubted the staying power of the Harry Potter series, but this is one hell of a revival if we’ve ever seen one. This release is a living example of what it means to generate and maintain brand loyalty.
Some of these people grew up reading these books. And now as adults they are gleefully returning to them.
Not that the brand has been shy with endeavours to keep people hooked: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be coming out in the new year, there’s an entire theme park dedicated to the books and Pottermore is regularly updated with new writing by Rowling herself.
That’s how you generate content. And not just over a few months or years, but over more than a decade.
2. Stranger Things and its lover letter to the 80s.
This is a unique series, both for Netflix and also broader television. It’s horror that still cleverly employs humour. It’s got adult issues, but largely focuses on the imagination of children (who very much remind us of, well, us).
That’s what we call refreshing. Stranger Things can’t be defined by any one genre.
It takes its nostalgia to the next level by incorporating cues everywhere. Literally, watch the video that director Ulysse Thevenon put together – it lines up almost every single cue that Stranger Things makes.
It goes beyond costume. The kids’ rooms are decorated in vintage posters. The cartoons on their TVs take us back. It even has Winona Ryder in it.
With its vibrant characters that are the embodiment of our kid selves to the grittiness of the film that looks like a good Instagram filter (see what we did there?), it makes our past real again. It's modern spin is reinventing how the imagination manifests itself.
Homages can easily be cheesy, forced and far too campy. This is not one of them.
While it may be 2016, everything old is new again. People’s memories are not just memories, they are here and now and alive again. We’re always pushing for more it seems nowadays, and onto the next thing before the next thing is even a thing.
But it’s moments of nostalgia, like those felt by long-time Harry Potter fans and newly inducted Stranger Things fans that makes us slow down and appreciate the good stuff.
At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.
What will win this week?