CREES Brown Bag. “Nostalgia in Post-Socialist Russia: Exploring Applications to Advertising Strategy.”
Susan Holak, professor of business, College of Staten Island, City University of New York. Sponsor: CREES.
This research investigates nostalgia in post-socialist Russia from a consumer behavior perspective. Thought by social scientists to be a coping mechanism as an individual is faced with major life transitions, nostalgia, “a painful yearning to return home,” may be experienced both individually and collectively, as members of a group or society experience similar changes. Given the many significant political and socio-economic transitions in Russia during recent decades, the country is an interesting venue for nostalgia research.
Written descriptions of nostalgia experiences collected from more than 100 Russian respondents in five locations are content-analyzed in terms of four categories of nostalgia: personal, interpersonal, cultural, and virtual. Prominent nostalgia themes in these experiences are identified, including the break-up of the Soviet Union, nature, and food, and are related to advertising and marketing for products in the Russian marketplace. Nostalgia themes are also analyzed with regard to the “coming of age” or demarcated generation of the respondents. Finally, nostalgia-proneness, or the tendency for individuals to experience nostalgia, is investigated among Russian respondents using the Index of Nostalgia Proneness.
The presentation concludes with a discussion of the implications of consumer nostalgia for marketing and advertising strategy in the post-socialist Russian economy. This analysis addresses the need for greater understanding of cross-cultural nostalgia.
Professor Holak earned a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and received an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Business from Columbia University. She was awarded a 1997 Sasakawa Fellowship to attend the Japan Studies Institute at San Diego State University. She has taught as a visiting professor at the American University of Rome, where she is currently a member of the Business Advisory Committee.