Transcript: The Power of Nostalgia | Nov 26, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "The power of nostalgia. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says NOSTALGIA - AND I SAY
THIS WITHOUT IRONY - IS MAKING A
COMEBACK.
IN FACT, IT'S BECOME DOMINANT IN
POPULAR CULTURE.
FROM THE STAR WARS SEQUELS, TO
POKEMON GO, TO "FRIENDS" BEING
AMONG THE MOST STREAMED SHOWS ON
NETFLIX, A PERSON COULD BE
FORGIVEN FOR FORGETTING IT ISN'T
THE '90s ANYMORE.
WHAT'S FUELING THIS NOSTALGIC
TURN AND HOW ARE SOME WORKING TO
HARNESS ITS POWER?
LET'S ASK:
IN MONTREAL, QUEBEC VIA SKYPE:
KATHARINA NIEMEYER, SHE IS
PROFESSOR OF MEDIA THEORY AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF QUEBEC IN MONTREAL.

Katharina is in her late thirties, with long straight auburn hair and bangs. She's wearing a black turtleneck and earphones.

Steve continues AND HERE IN OUR STUDIO:
ED CONROY, FOUNDER OF
RETRONTARIO, AN ONLINE ARCHIVAL
MUSEUM OF ONTARIO-BASED CULTURE...

Ed is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short, receding brown hair. He's wearing a black suit and a white shirt.

Steve continues AND ANGUS TUCKER, CHIEF CREATIVE
OFFICER WITH JOHN STREET
ADVERTISING.

Angus is in his forties, with curly, reddish blond hair and a boxed beard. He's wearing a blue suit and a spotted blue shirt.

Steve continues WE ARE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME YOU
TWO HERE TO OUR STUDIO AT YONGE
AND EGLINTON, AND KATHARINA,
IT'S NICE TO HAVE YOU ON THE
LINE FROM LA BELLE PROVINCE.
ED, GET US STARTED HERE.
WHY DOES NOSTALGIA SEEM TO BE
HAVING SUCH A MOMENT RIGHT NOW?

The caption changes to "Ed Conroy. Retrontario."

Ed says THE UNSEXY ANSWER IS IT'S STRICTLY ECONOMICS.
IT COSTS SO MUCH MONEY NOW TO
MAKE A FILM, TO MAKE A
TELEVISION SERIES, THAT THE
PRODUCERS AND THE BEAN COUNTERS
WANT TO GUARANTEE THAT THERE
WILL BE A RETURN ON THEIR
INVESTMENT, AND SO BY USING THE
POWER OF NOSTALGIA, YOU CAN
PRETTY MUCH GUARANTEE THAT A
CERTAIN SEGMENT OF THE AUDIENCE
WILL SHOW UP.
SO WHETHER IT'S A SEQUEL OR A
REBOOT, THEY KNOW THERE'S A
BUILT-IN AUDIENCE.
SO IT'S NOT GREAT FOR PEOPLE
LOOKING FOR ORIGINAL CONTENT,
BUT IT'S GREAT FOR PEOPLE WHO
LIKE TO RELIVE THE CONTENT OF
THEIR YOUTH.

Steve says WELL, THAT'S IT.
KATHARINA, IT PRESUPPOSES THAT
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT, IF IT'S
MUSIC, THE SOUNDTRACK FROM OUR
LIFE FROM EARLIER TIMES, IF IT'S
MOVIES, THOSE MOVIES WE GREW UP
WITH, IT PRESUPPOSES THERE'S
SOMETHING ABOUT RECONNECTING
WITH THAT THAT WE ALL LIKE.
WHAT IS THAT?

The caption changes to "Katharina Niemeyer. University of Quebec in Montreal."

Katharina says OF COURSE, ED IS RIGHT.
THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT, OF
COURSE, ECONOMY AND MARKETING
RELATED TO NOSTALGIA, BUT IT'S
SOMETHING WE KIND OF FEEL LIKE
NOW, IT'S LIKE THREE THINGS
WHICH MIGHT EXPLAIN THIS
NOSTALGIA BOOM.
IT'S LIKE THE SOCIAL
ACCELERATION OF TIME WE ARE NOW
EXPERIENCING.
AT SOME POINT WITH THE WORLD
WIDE WEB GOING FASTER, OUR
COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES,
NOSTALGIA IS A WAY TO SLOW DOWN
OUR EVERYDAY LIFE.
A SECOND ONE IS ALSO WE'RE AT A
MOMENT OF CRISIS OR CHANGE FROM
AN ECONOMIC POINT OF VIEW, SO
NOSTALGIA IS A WAY OF COPING
WITH CHANGE AND MAYBE A THIRD
POINT IS THAT THERE'S AN
ACCUMULATION OF THE PAST, ALSO
OF OUR MEDIA PAST.
SO CONTENTS AND OBJECTS OF
POPULAR CULTURE ARE A BIT MORE
EASILY ACCESSIBLE, CAN BE SHARED
ONLINE, ET CETERA, SO THERE'S
NEW ACCESS TO THE PAST COMING UP
WITH NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND THE
WORLD WIDE WEB HELPING OUT AT
SOME POINT TO ACCESS IT.
THAT IS THREE POINTS.

Steve says ANGUS, DO THE
IMPOSSIBLE HERE. I WANT YOU TO
GET IN MY HEAD FOR A SECOND.
EVERY TIME I HOP INTO MY CAR
NOWADAYS, EVERY TIME I TURN ON
SIRIUS XM RADIO, AND I'M PLAYING
THE JOHNNY CARSON CHANNEL.
THEY HAVE A WHOLE CHANNEL NOW
DEVOTED TO JOHNNY CARSON SHOWS.
ALL OF WHICH I SAW 40 YEARS AGO
WHEN THEY AIRED FOR THE FIRST
TIME. AND I'M LISTENING AGAIN.
AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY.
WHY IS NOSTALGIA SO POWERFUL?

The caption changes to "Angus Tucker. John St. Advertising."

Angus says I THINK IT'S
BECAUSE CLIMATE CHANGE.
I'M KIDDING.
IT'S NOT BECAUSE OF CLIMATE
CHANGE.
KATHARINA WAS SAYING, ONE OF HER
POINTS WAS WE'RE LIVING IN AN
AGE OF ANXIETY RIGHT NOW.
PEOPLE ARE FREAKED OUT ABOUT
CLIMATE CHANGE.

Steve says CLIMATE CHANGE.
THERE YOU GO.

Angus says POLITICS IS A BIT NUTTY RIGHT
NOW, WHETHER IT'S BREXIT OR
TRUMP OR WHOMEVER IT HAPPENS TO
BE, THE ECONOMY.
THERE'S A GREAT DEAL OF
UNCERTAINTY I THINK GOING ON IN
OUR COUNTRY AND AROUND THE
WORLD.
AND NOSTALGIA IS COMFORTING.
IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE JUST
BY DEFINITION BEEN THROUGH.
WE SURVIVED IT.
WE MADE IT.
AND MAYBE THE BAD PARTS OF THAT
ACTUAL EXPERIENCE HAVE LESSENED
OVER TIME AND WE NOW LOOK AT IT
THROUGH ROSE-COLOURED GLASSES.
SO I THINK... I THINK ONE OF THE
REASONS IT'S HAVING ITS MOMENT
IS IT'S JUST... IT'S
NERVE-WRACKING JUST WAKING UP ON
WEDNESDAY MORNING.

Steve says AND I CAN BE 16
AGAIN WHEN I LISTEN TO JOHNNY CARSON.

Angus says YOU CAN.
YOU CAN TELL YOUR KIDS THERE WAS
ACTUALLY A GUY THAT PEOPLE WOULD
WATCH AT ELEVEN... WHAT WAS IT?

Steve says 11:30.
AND HE WAS GREAT.
AND HE DID IT FOR 30 YEARS.
THAT'S WHY I'M STILL LISTENING.
KATHARINA, WHERE DOES THE TERM
NOSTALGIA COME FROM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

A map of Quebec appears briefly, highlighting the location of Montreal.

Katharina says I WILL
TRY TO BE SHORT.
IT'S FROM THE 17TH CENTURY,
1688, ACTUALLY, IT WAS JOE
HANNES, A DOCTOR, IT'S FROM
GREEK ORIGIN, IT MEANS NOSTOS,
AND ALGOS. IT'S GOING HOME AND
SUFFERING.
IT MEANS BASICALLY HOME SICKNESS
AND DESCRIBES ACTUALLY, YES, THE
HOME SICKNESS OF THE SWISS
MERCENARIES WHO HAD TO LEAVE
THEIR COUNTRY.
IT COMES FROM THERE AND IT GOT
OUT OF THE MEDICAL DISCOURSE BY
THE BEGINNING OF THE 20TH
CENTURY BECAUSE IT WAS TOO MUCH
CONFUSED WITH MELANCHOLY.
IT WAS THE NEGATIVE CONNOTATION,
TO MAKE IT VERY SHORT.

Steve says INTERESTING.
ED, WHAT TRIGGERS IT IN YOU?

The caption changes to "Ed Conroy, @retrontario."

Ed says WELL, I MEAN, I
THINK THERE'S A NUMBER OF
TRIGGER ITEMS.
I THINK MUSIC AND SOUND ARE
AMONGST THE MOST TRIGGERING.
YOU KNOW, YOU WERE SAYING YOU
GET IN YOUR CAR, YOU CAN HEAR A
SONG THAT YOU MAYBE HAVEN'T
HEARD FOR 25 YEARS, AND YOU'RE
MAGICALLY TRANSPORTED BACK TO
THAT MOMENT, AND THAT CAN BE
CERTAINLY OVERPOWERING.
I THINK THE SENSE OF SMELL, YOU
KNOW... I DON'T KNOW IF YOU EVER
GO AND USE BOOK STORES, BUT
THERE'S SORT OF A SMELL OF
HISTORY IN THERE, WHICH IS QUITE
AMAZING.
AND THEN THE SEASONS.
I MEAN, PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THE
AUTUMN BEING, FOR WHATEVER
REASON, THIS VERY TRIGGERING
SEASON WHERE WE SENSE CHANGE,
YOU KNOW, IT'S HAPPENING
LITERALLY, BUT WE'RE ALSO
FEELING VERY NOSTALGIC WHETHER
GOING BACK TO SCHOOL OR
HALLOWEEN OR ANY OF THOSE THINGS.

Steve says WE HAD JOY, WE HAD
FUN, WE HAD SEASONS IN THE SUN.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M REFERRING
TO THERE?

Ed says OF COURSE.

Steve says YOU DO TOO?

Angus says TERRY JACKS.

Steve says HOW OLD IS THAT SONG?

Angus says EARLY '70s?

[MIXED VOICES]

Steve says 45 YEARS OLD.
OH, BOY.
KATHARINA, HELP US WITH THIS:
HOW DO YOU SEE IT PLAYING OUT IN
POPULAR CULTURE TODAY?

The caption changes to "A pop culture powerhouse."

Katharina says WELL, I
WOULD LIKE TO GO BACK TO WHAT ED
WAS SAYING BECAUSE IT'S DIRECTLY
LINKED TO POPULAR CULTURE,
ACTUALLY.
THE SWISS MERCENARIES WHO WERE
SICK, THEY COULD BE HEALED WITH
MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION TOOLS
BECAUSE MUSIC FROM THEIR HOME
COUNTRY OR THE ACCENT OF THEIR
LANGUAGE HELPED THEM ACTUALLY TO
RECONNECT AT DISTANCE.
SO EXACTLY THE POINT, MEDIA AND
COMMUNICATION ARE TOOLS OF
HEALING.
ALSO ANXIETY.
THIS IS ACTUALLY SHOWN CURRENTLY
IN PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH, AND
POPULAR CULTURE, OF COURSE, THE
OBJECTS, THE SMELLS, THE
MATERIALITY, THE SONGS, THE
MUSIC, EVERY KIND OF THESE
THINGS ARE QUITE, WELL, CLOSE TO
WHAT NOSTALGIA BASICALLY IS AND
WHAT COULD BE HEALED WITH.
FOR THE CURRENT POPULAR CULTURE
BOOM I THINK CREATED AROUND
NOSTALGIA IS ALSO WHAT I SAID IN
THE BEGINNING, THERE'S AN
ACCUMULATION OF THE PAST THAT
BECOMES ACCESSIBLE.
OUR MEDIA PAST WE CAN BE
NOSTALGIC FOR IT AND THE MEDIA
THEMSELVES.
POPULAR CULTURE IS SOMETHING OUT
OF EVERYDAY LIFE, THE MOMENTS
YOU SHARE WITH FAMILY, WITH
FRIENDS, ET CETERA.
SO THERE'S A BIG PLACE FOR
POPULAR CULTURE IN OUR EVERYDAY
LIFE AND ALSO FOR THE NOSTALGIA
WHICH CAN BE RELATED TO IT.

Steve says ANGUS, HOW DO YOU
FIGURE THAT THE TV SHOW
"FRIENDS" WHICH WAS ON 20-PLUS
YEARS AGO HAS MADE A MASSIVE
COMEBACK WITH A WHOLE NEW
GENERATION?

The caption changes to "Angus Tucker, @angus_tucker."

Angus says IT'S AN
INTERESTING QUESTION.
I THINK LARGELY THE INTERNET HAS
AN ENORMOUS EFFECT ON THAT.
YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO HAVE LIVED
THROUGH AN ERA TO EXPERIENCE IT.
YOU CAN GO BACK AND WATCH THE
ENTIRE, YOU KNOW, EIGHT SEASONS
OF "FRIENDS" ON A WEEKEND IF YOU
DON'T SLEEP AND YOU REALLY
COMMIT TO IT.

Steve says THAT'S A LOT OF SHOWS.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Angus says YEAH.
SO I THINK JUST THE AVAILABILITY
OF ALL THOSE DIFFERENT ERAS IS,
YOU KNOW, FINGERTIPS AWAY.
I THINK THE SECOND REASON IS
THAT, OH, MY GOD, I FORGOT WHAT
THE REASON WAS.
IT WAS SO GOOD.
I TOTALLY FORGOT.
IT'S JUST A PARTNER OF MINE, HE
JUST CALLS IT AGE FLUIDITY,
WHICH I THOUGHT WAS A NICE SORT
OF SOUND BITE, WHICH IS WHY I
FORGOT IT.
HE JUST SAID IT USED TO BE THAT
THE AGES THAT YOU LIVED THROUGH,
THEY WERE MUCH MORE DEFINED, AND
ONCE YOU GOT TO A CERTAIN AGE,
YOU NO LONGER DID A CERTAIN
THING.
AND I THINK, AGAIN, THE INTERNET
HAS ENORMOUS INFLUENCE ON THAT.
BUT IT SEEMS THAT, YOU KNOW, A
55-YEAR-OLD CAN EXPERIENCE LIFE
TO A CERTAIN DEGREE AS A
15-YEAR-OLD OR A 25-YEAR-OLD,
AND VICE VERSA.
KIDS ARE LISTENING... YOU KNOW,
YOU HEAR SO MUCH CLASSIC '70s
ROCK ON, YOU KNOW, MY OWN KIDS'
PLAYLISTS, MIXED IN WITH
CONTEMPORARY STUFF.
BUT THIS FLUIDITY OF CULTURE AND
AGE AND GENERATIONS JUST SEEMS
FAR GREATER THAN IT DID, YOU
KNOW, A GENERATION AGO.

Steve says AGE FLUIDITY.

Angus says YEAH.
TRADEMARKED BY MY PARTNER.

Ed says THERE'S AN ELEMENT
OF INFANTILISM THAT'S ENCOURAGED
ALMOST. IN THE OLD DAYS YOU WERE
ENCOURAGED WHEN YOU HIT A
CERTAIN AGE TO PUT AWAY YOUR
CHILDHOOD TOYS AND PUT IT ALL
AWAY AND FORGET ABOUT IT AND
GROW UP AND BE A MAN.
CERTAINLY THE WARTIME, THAT WAS
A BIG PART OF IT.
WHEREAS NOW, YOU SEE THESE SORT
OF MEN IN THEIR 50s WEARING
THEIR STAR WARS PAJAMAS, AND
THEY DON'T CARE.
IT'S WHO THEY ARE, THEY'RE
CELEBRATING IT, AND I THINK
THAT'S GREAT.

Steve says YOU, I HAVE TO SAY,
YOU HAVE A WEBSITE THAT IS BOTH
SERIOUSLY FABULOUS AND SERIOUSLY
NERDY.
LIKE, YOU FOCUSED ON ONTARIO
RETRO CULTURE.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THAT?

Ed says WELL, I GREW UP IN ONTARIO.
IN ADDITION TO GROWING UP AND
BEING A BIG CONSUMER OF OUR
CULTURAL OUTPUT, I SAW A REAL
LACK OF EXCITEMENT ABOUT SOME OF
THE INCREDIBLE THINGS THAT HAD
HAPPENED IN POPULAR CULTURE IN
ONTARIO, INCLUDING AT THIS VERY
NETWORK, TV ONTARIO.
YOU HAD PEOPLE LIKE JIM HENLEY
AND HEATHER CONKEY AND CLIVE
VANDERBURGH, CREATING WONDERFUL
PROGRAMS, PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN
AND PROGRAMS FOR GROWN UPS.
THERE REALLY WASN'T MUCH ON
YouTube... THIS WAS 20 YEARS
AGO OR 10 YEARS AGO.
AND I JUST SAW A REAL NICHE THAT
I THOUGHT NEEDED TO BE FILLED.
I HAPPEN TO HAVE AN EXTENSIVE
MEDIA COLLECTION, AND THE ADVENT
OF SOCIAL MEDIA WAS PERFECT
BECAUSE IT ALLOWED ME TO EXHIBIT
IT AND SHARE IT BECAUSE, REALLY,
GOING BACK TO THAT IDEA OF THE
COMMUNAL EXPERIENCE AND RELIVING
ALL OF THIS STUFF, THE INTERNET
ALLOWED THAT, WHICH IT DIDN'T
BEFORE.
BEFORE, YOU WOULD BE CONSIDERED
A HOARDER IF YOU HAD ALL THESE
THINGS IN YOUR BASEMENT.

Steve says DO YOU MAKE MONEY DOING IT?

Ed says NO.
IT'S A NOT-FOR-PROFIT.
I DO A LOT OF RESEARCH AND
WRITING AND PRODUCING MY OWN SHOW.
SO THERE IS SOME REVENUE THERE.
BUT IT'S NOT AN ATTEMPT TO
INFRINGE ON ANYONE'S COPYRIGHT.
IT'S THE OPPOSITE.
IT'S TO CELEBRATE THE MATERIAL
AND BRING ATTENTION TO THE
WONDERFUL WORK THAT WAS DONE.

Steve says KATHARINA, LET ME
REFOCUS ON THE SORT OF POLITICAL
TENOR OF OUR TIMES.
THESE ARE... THESE ARE DIFFERENT
TIMES, RIGHT?
LOOK WHO IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.
LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE
UNITED KINGDOM.
LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING ACROSS
MUCH OF EUROPE.
WE JUST HAD A VERY UNUSUAL
ELECTION OURSELVES IN THIS
COUNTRY.
IS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT TODAY'S
POLITICAL CLIMATE THAT MAKES US
PARTICULARLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO
NOSTALGIA?

The caption changes to "Yearning for the good old days."

Katharina says WELL,
THIS IS A VERY TRICKY QUESTION.
I WOULD SAY THAT IN EVERY
COUNTRY, WE CAN NOW OBSERVE A
TYPE OF COMING BACK OF WHAT
COULD BE A FORM OF POLITICAL
UTOPIA OR VIEW WHAT THE
POLITICAL FUTURE COULD BE, AND
ALSO, HOW TO SAY, THAT IS WHERE
THE DANGER LIES FOR WHAT
NOSTALGIA BASICALLY IS.
NOSTALGIA IS A VERY FRAGILE
THING TOO.
PEOPLE ARE DEEP IN... IT DOES
NOT MEAN THAT THEY ARE NOT
CREATIVE, THAT THEY ARE JUST
DIGGING INTO THE PAST BECAUSE
NOSTALGIA IS REALLY RELATED TO
THE FUTURE TOO AND IMAGINATIONS
OF THE FUTURE WE HAVE.
SO IN POLITICS, IT HAS ALWAYS
BEEN NEW NOSTALGIA, BUT THE DEEP
NOSTALGIA, HOME SICKNESS AND
QUESTIONS OF IDENTITY WAS ABUSED
BY POLITICIANS IN HISTORY.
BUT ALSO OTHER TYPES OF
POLITICAL ORIENTATIONS CAN USE
THE FEELING, YEAH, TO GET
ELECTED, AND THIS IS SOMETHING
WHERE IT SEEMS IN POLITICS THERE
HAS TO BE ATTENTION PAID.
WHEN WE LOOK, THERE WILL BE SOON
THE 30 YEARS SINCE THE FALL OF
THE BERLIN WALL, THERE'S ALSO
THIS TYPE OF NOSTALGIA IN THE
FORMER GDR, FORMER COMMUNIST
PART OF GERMANY, SO AS YOU CAN
HEAR, I WAS BORN IN GERMANY,
ACTUALLY.
AND ALSO YOU CAN OBSERVE THIS
KIND OF POLITICAL NOSTALGIA
COMING BACK FOR THE PAST WHICH
WAS MAYBE... MOST OF THE TIME IT
WAS BETTER AND THIS IS ALSO WHAT
THIS FAMOUS "MAKE AMERICA GREAT
AGAIN."
WAS IT SO GREAT?
I DON'T THINK SO.
IT'S AN IDEATION OF THE PAST.
YES, IT'S USED IN POLITICS.

Steve says INTERESTING.
ANGUS, I WANT TO FOLLOW UP WITH
YOU ON THAT.
MUCH OF THE NOSTALGIA WE'VE BEEN
TALKING ABOUT SO FAR GIVES US A
WARM, YUMMY FEELING.
IF YOU TAKE NOSTALGIA AS SOME
FORCES, FOR EXAMPLE, IN GERMANY
HAVE, TO RECALL WHAT THEY WOULD
CONSIDER TO BE A BETTER TIME BUT
WHICH MOST OF THE REST OF THE
WORLD CONSIDERS TO BE THE WORST
TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY, NAZI
GERMANY, WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT
NOSTALGIA HAS TURNED SOME OF
AMERICA INTO TODAY, HOW FEARFUL
SHOULD WE BE ABOUT NOSTALGIA IF
IT'S IN THE WRONG HANDS?

Angus says I THINK IT
ALL DEPENDS ON THE HANDS THAT
ARE WIELDING IT.
YOU KNOW, DONALD TRUMP IS A
SKILLED USER OF NOSTALGIA.
AS KATHARINA SAID, "MAKE AMERICA
GREAT AGAIN" IS ABOUT THE MOST
NOSTALGIC CAMPAIGN LINE I'VE
EVER HEARD.
AND IT'S INCREDIBLY EFFECTIVE
WITH THE PEOPLE THAT HE'S
TALKING TO, PEOPLE WHO FEEL LIKE
THEY'VE BEEN LEFT BEHIND BY THE
NEW ECONOMY AND THEY ARE SORT OF
HARKENING BACK TO WHEN AMERICA
WAS, YOU KNOW, THEIR IDEA OF
AMERICA, WHICH WAS, YOU KNOW,
SOMETHING THAT PROBABLY JUST
ISN'T POSSIBLE ANYMORE.

Steve says ED, LET ME GET A
QUICK FOLLOW-UP FROM YOU ON THAT.
I KNOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU'RE INTO
IS HARKENING BACK TO PEOPLE'S
CHILDHOOD AND THOSE TIMES, BUT
HOW WORRIED ARE YOU ABOUT
NOSTALGIA IN THE WRONG HANDS.

Ed says I DON'T WORRY
ABOUT IT AT ALL. WE'VE SEEN
THIS PLAY OUT IN THE '70s.
THERE'S A LOT OF HISTRIONICS
ABOUT THINGS ARE SO BAD NOW BUT
REALLY IF YOU LOOK BACK A LOT OF
THIS SAME STUFF WAS HAPPENING
IN THE LATE '70s. AND IRONICALLY
YOU HAD A GUY NAME GEORGE LUCAS
COME AROUND AND MAKE "AMERICAN
GRAFFITI."
IT WAS ABOUT LIONIZING THE
1950s.
SO YOU HAD THAT FIRST KIND OF
WAVE OF GOING BACK 30 YEARS AND
RELIVING THAT AND, YES, IT WAS
AN ANTIDOTE TO THE DARK TIMES,
BUT YOU CANNOT UNDERESTIMATE THE
GOOD INTENTIONS OF NOSTALGIA.
I DON'T THINK IT CAN BE WIELDED
IN A NEGATIVE WAY.

Steve says LET'S TRY THIS WITH
ADVERTISING.
I PRESUME THAT TAKING ON
NOSTALGIC APPROACH WITH YOUR
CLIENTS IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES
IS THE WAY TO GO, IF YOU WANT TO
HELP GET A MESSAGE OUT OR GET A
BRAND OUT, A PRODUCT OR
WHATEVER.
GIVE US SOME INSIGHT INTO HOW
YOU DO THAT.

Angus says I THINK YOU
CAN USE NOSTALGIA EFFECTIVELY
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, GREAT
ADVERTISING IS TRYING TO EVOKE
EMOTION, TRYING TO EVOKE A
FEELING ABOUT A BRAND OR A
THING.
BUT IF IT'S JUST NOSTALGIA, IF
YOU'RE JUST GOING BACK AND
THERE'S NO RELEVANCE TO TODAY,
TO 2019, THEN I THINK IT CAN
KIND OF BE EMPTY.
IF YOU JUST LOOK BACK AND GO,
OH, THAT'S WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE 40
YEARS AGO BUT THERE'S NO
POSSIBILITY OF THAT, YOU KNOW,
BEING RECREATED NOW, THEN IT'S
JUST KIND OF A LOOK BACK...

The caption changes to "A powerful tool."

Steve says I'M GOING TO DO
SOMETHING...

Angus says THAT'S THE THING YOU HAVE TO
BALANCE.

Steve says WATCH.
I'M GOING TO DO SOMETHING THAT
JOHNNY CARSON USED TO DO 40
YEARS AGO ALL THE TIME, WHICH IS
TO SAY, YOU WANT TO SET UP THIS
CLIP WE'RE ABOUT TO SEE... YOU
BROUGHT A CLIP OF SOMETHING.
YEAH.
WE'VE GOT THE CLIP.

Angus says OKAY, WE'VE GOT THE CLIP.

Steve says DO YOU WANT TO TELL
US A BIT ABOUT WHAT WE'RE ABOUT TO SEE?

Angus says SURE.
THIS IS A SPOT... A TV SPOT THAT
WE DID, LONGER THAN MOST, IT'S
TWO AND A HALF MINUTES LONG.
IT AIRED ON JANUARY 1ST, 2017,
THE FIRST DAY OF CANADA'S
150th BIRTHDAY.
IT'S FOR OUR... ONE OF OUR
CLIENTS, PRESIDENT'S CHOICE, WHO
IS THE BIGGEST FOOD BRAND IN
CANADA.
THEY WANTED TO BE ABOUT MORE
THAN JUST FOOD.
SO THIS IDEA LAUNCHED THIS WHOLE
"EAT TOGETHER" MOVEMENT.

Steve says AS JOHNNY WOULD SAY...

In a distorted voice, he says
LET'S WATCH THE MONITOR HERE IN
THE STUDIO AND PLAY A SNIPPET OF
THIS. SHELDON?

A clip plays on screen.

In the clip, as uplifting music plays, a large group of people of different ages, genders and cultural backgrounds sit around a table and share different types of food as they talk and smile.
A young girl runs away from the table, down a hallway, and knocks on a door. As people at the table watch, an elderly man steps out of the room, holds the girls hand for a moment, then walks back into the room and shuts the door.
Moments later, he re-emerges holding a bottle of red wine and walks down the hallway with the girl.
They join the large group.

The song says WHAT THE WORD NEEDS NOW
IS LOVE SWEET LOVE
IT'S THE ONLY THING
THAT THERE'S JUST TOO LITTLE
OF
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW
IS LOVE SWEET LOVE
NOT ONLY JUST FOR SOME
BUT FOR EVERYONE
OOH OOH
OOH OOH
OOH OOH
OOH OOH
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW
IS LOVE SWEET LOVE
IT'S THE ONLY THING
THAT THERE'S JUST TOO LITTLE
OF
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW
IS LOVE SWEET LOVE...

A caption reads "Nothing brings us together like eating together."

Then the President's Choice logo appears against white, with the phrase "Crave more."

The clip ends.

Steve says GREAT WORK THERE.
THAT'S JUST GREAT.
WHY THAT SONG?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Angus says THANK YOU.
WELL, WE WERE TRYING TO COME
UP... WHENEVER YOU'RE TRYING UP
WITH A SONG, A COMPANY, A PIECE
OF FILM, YOU'RE TRYING TO COME
UP WITH SOMETHING THAT WORKS
CONCEPTUALLY TO THE IDEA.
WHAT YOU DIDN'T SEE IN THAT
VIDEO WAS THE LEAD-UP TO IT,
WHICH IS THE YOUNG WOMAN WHO IS
THE PROTAGONIST.
SHE WALKED UP TO HER APARTMENT
SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE IN THE
BUILDING.
NOBODY IS TALKING TO EACH OTHER.
EVERYBODY IS STARING AT THEIR
PHONES.
IT'S BASICALLY LIFE IN 2019.
AND WHAT SHE DECIDES TO DO...
SHE HAS A ROOMMATE.
SHE AND HER ROOMMATE GO WE'RE
HAVING AN IMPROMPTU DINNER PARTY
IN THE HALLWAY AND LET'S SEE WHO
JUMPS IN.
WE WERE JUST LOOKING FOR A SONG
THAT LYRICALLY SUPPORTED THIS
IDEA OF CONNECTION AND
COMMUNITY, SO, YOU KNOW, WE HAD
A BUNCH OF THEM THAT WE LOOKED
AT, BUT THE CLASSIC BURT
BACHARACH, FROM THE LATE '60S,
EARLY '70S, IT JUST FIT.
WE RECORDED IT WITH A DIFFERENT
ARTIST BUT IT'S NOT A WILDLY
CONTEMPORARY VERSION OF THAT
SONG.
I THINK THAT PARTICULAR SONG AND
THE FEELINGS THAT THAT EVOKED
FOR PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY KNEW THE
SONG, YOU BROUGHT ALL THAT GOOD
STUFF INTO IT, FOR PEOPLE WHO
DIDN'T, THEY WENT, AH, IT'S A
LOVELY SONG.

Steve says ED, A COUPLE OF
YEARS AGO WHEN THE COUNTRY AND
THE PROVINCE TURNED 150 YEARS
OLD, THEY BROUGHT US BACK THE
OLD GIVE US A PLACE TO STAND, A
PLACE TO GROW.
HOW DO YOU THINK ALL OF THAT WORKED OUT?

Ed says I THINK THAT'S
ONE OF THE GREATEST PIECES OF,
YOU KNOW, PROUD ONTARIO MUSIC
THAT WAS EVER WRITTEN.
DOLORES CLAMAN, WHO WROTE OUR
OTHER NATIONAL ANTHEM, THE
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA THEME,
DOLORES IS A WONDERFUL WRITER.
I THINK WE NEED MORE OF THAT
BECAUSE THAT'S THE LIGHT, RIGHT?
THAT'S THE POSITIVE... MAKE US
ALL FEEL GOOD ABOUT BEING A PART
OF ONTARIO, A PLACE TO STAND,
A PLACE TO GROW.
SOME PEOPLE LOOK AT THAT STUFF
AND ARE MAYBE A BIT CYNICAL
ABOUT IT.
THEY THINK IT'S A CHEESY OLD
SONG FROM EXPO '67, AND DON'T
CARE ABOUT IT.
SO IT'S IMPORTANT TO REINTERPRET
IT, TO FRESHEN IT UP.
BUT THE IDEAL OF THAT IS STILL
AS TIMELY NOW AS IT WAS THEN.

Angus says WE ACTUALLY DID THAT SPOT.

Steve says YOU DID?
I DIDN'T KNOW THAT.
WELL DONE.
IT WAS TERRIFIC.
KATHARINA, HOW DO YOU SEE
COMPANIES CAPITALIZING ON NOSTALGIA?

Katharina says IT'S
COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE AT
SOME POINT.
NOSTALGIA HAS ALWAYS WORKED AS A
COMMUNICATION TOOL AND AN
ADVERTISING TOOL, AS ANGUS SAID,
BUT IT HAS TO BE USED IN AN
INTELLIGENT WAY TO MAKE IT
FUNCTION.
FROM THE OTHER END, NETFLIX IS
QUITE NOSTALGIC IN ITS BUSINESS
STRATEGY.
THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT ALL THE
VIEWERS ARE NOSTALGIC.
WE CAN'T THINK THAT ALL THE
AUDIENCE IS LIKE JUST
PREFORMIDABLE... I'M INVENTING
WORDS. PUBLIC INTELLIGENCE...
IF YOU HAVE NOSTALGIC CONTENT OR
AESTHETIC DOES NOT MEAN THAT
PEOPLE ARE GETTING NOSTALGIC
WATCHING IT.
NOSTALGIA HAS ALWAYS BEEN A
BUSINESS AND OFFERS AN
OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE MONEY
BECAUSE IT'S A VERY INTENSIVE
FEELING, YES.

Steve says LET'S DO ANOTHER ONE
HERE.
WE HAVE A FEW MINUTES LEFT.
I THINK WE HAVE TIME TO SHOW
THIS.
SHELDON, DO YOU WANT TO BRING
THESE PICTURES UP HERE?
THIS IS THE NO NAME BRAND.

In a picture, a huge yellow billboard hangs on the side of a building and reads "Billboard for outdoor ads." Above the text it has a small brand in black that reads "No name."

Steve continues EVERYBODY REMEMBERS FROM BACK IN
THE DAY THE NO NAME BRANDS.
I GUESS THEY'RE BACK AGAIN LIKE
A LONG LOST FRIEND, ALL THOSE
TIMES YOU KNEW SO WELL, WHICH IS
A CARPENTERS' LYRIC.
THEY NEVER WENT AWAY.
THIS IS YOU AGAIN.

Other pictures show similar No Name signs. Inside a subway station a sign reads "Subway station. A public transportation stop." A taxi on a street has a No Name sign that reads "Taxi. Seats 4 people and 1 driver."

Angus says YES, IT IS.

Steve says WHY DO YOU THINK
THIS WORKS?

Angus says IT WORKS IN ITS KIND OF
BRUTAL SIMPLICITY.
THIS IS A... NO NAME IS A BRAND
THAT'S BEEN AROUND SINCE THE
'70s, DESIGNED BY DON WATT,
AND IT WAS MEANT TO EPITOMIZE
FRUGAL SHOPPING.
YELLOW, I THINK IF A DESIGNER
WAS IN THE ROOM, HE OR SHE WOULD
SAY IT'S A VERY FRUGAL, IT'S A
VERY SORT OF CHEAP COLOUR, AND
IT WAS MEANT TO JUST BE A VERY
STRIPPED DOWN LINE OF PRODUCTS
THAT ALLOWED YOU TO SAVE MONEY
ON YOUR GROCERY BILL.
SO WE JUST APPLIED THAT SAME
AESTHETIC TO IT BUT INSTEAD OF
PACKAGING PRODUCTS, WE JUST
ESSENTIALLY PACKAGED THE CITY
UNDER THE SAME AESTHETIC.

Steve says GOTCHA.

Angus says YEAH.

The caption changes to "Producer: , @."

Steve says THIS HAS BEEN A VERY
NOSTALGIC DISCUSSION.
I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL FOR
COMING IN AND TALKING TO US
ABOUT IT.
DO YOU WANT TO GIVE US YOUR
WEBSITE, SO IF PEOPLE WANT TO
GET RETRO ABOUT ONTARIO, THEY
KNOW WHERE TO GO?

Ed says COME CHECK US OUT AT
RETRONTARIO.COM.

Steve says HOW DO YOU SPELL THAT?

Ed says ONE O. RETRONTARIO.

Steve says PRONOUNCE IT, RETRONTARIO?

The caption changes to "Student Intern: Linda Bicho-Vachon."

Ed says RETRO ONTARIO.
IT'S A PORTMANTEAU, RIGHT,
BECAUSE RETRO ONTARIO, TWO WORDS
BUT IF YOU STICK THEM TOGETHER
THE TWO Os LOOK A BIT GOOFY.
ONE O IS BETTER THAN TWO.

Steve says GOTCHA.
IN TERMS OF NOSTALGIA, I SHOULD
POINT OUT, TVO's...

Ed says FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Steve says FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY
THIS YEAR. WE'RE GOING TO BE
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF.
YOU MAY SEE SOME NOSTALGIA
AROUND THESE PARTS AS WELL...

Ed says IS POLKAROO GOING TO MAKE
AN APPEARANCE?

Steve says I CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT.
IT'S A NATIONAL SECURITY SECRET.
KATHARINA NIEMEYER, IT'S AWFULLY
GOOD OF YOU TO SPEND SOME TIME
WITH US TONIGHT ON TVO. WE THANK
YOU FOR JOINING US. YOU'RE WITH
THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEBEC IN
MONTREAL.
ED CONROY, ANGUS TUCKER IN OUR
STUDIO IN THE BIG SMOKE. GREAT
TO HAVE YOU ALL ON TVO TONIGHT.

Katharina says IT WAS A PLEASURE.

Watch: The Power of Nostalgia