In marketing, nostalgia is king and no one is doing it better than the synthwave arcade styles of New Wave toys and their miniature arcade cabinets.
We’ve spoken about nostalgia marketing and design before along with the emotional triggers it seeks to (and often, successfully does) exploit in its consumer base. This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing. Those warm, fuzzy, watercolor memories are very real and can easily tilt the scales when it comes to that age-old question, “do I really need to buy this right now?” Especially among Millennials and Gen Z’ers, nostalgia design is a supremely effective tactic. One brand, in particular, seems to be taking this tactic TO THE MAX and scoring big revenues as a result.
New Wave Toys (killer name, to boot!) reels you in from the minute you visit their website and get a load of the hot pink, palm tree, Miami Vice, neon vibes hitting you smack dab in the feels. Once you start perusing their product catalog and you see all the ‘SOLD OUT’ markers on various items, it’s easy to see why. With an assortment of 1:6 scale arcade machine replicas designed to fit in with collectibles for posing, or even just creating a realistic 80s arcade diorama, you’d be hard-pressed to find another company putting such intricate detail into their products. The dedication to the source material is astounding and what really makes these miniature replicas so popular, is that they’re not only ridiculously accurate design-wise, but also fully playable. Titles like Dragon’s Lair, Asteroids and Centipede are playable using the original controls (roller-ball, anyone?) while enjoying all the same graphics and beautiful cabinet designs of yesteryear. They also sell miniature arcade-print carpets to place your cabinets atop, a retro change machine and ‘Insert Coin’ button keychain, among other nostalgic wonders.
Via New Wave Toys
Everything about the design of New Wave Toys’ merchandise is rooted in feelings of familiarity and childhood excursions to the mall arcade evoking that comfortable, “something to look forward to after school and on weekends” neon oasis that served as a safe haven to 80s mallrats and 90s kids the world over. Even their Instagram, albeit sparse in terms of posts, features overlaid fonts advertising “25% off discounts” that would feel right at home in any 1980s toy catalog. Owning a piece of that is like crystalizing a moment in time and suspending it in the harsh reality of today, a memento of better days and glorified memories. The fact that owning a miniaturized, more affordable version of these arcade cabinets lets you temporarily revisit that world, however briefly, is a powerful incentive to order one. And, judging by the amount of sold out items, it’s clear that a lot of our contemporaries feel the same.
Let us know in the comments what you think about New Wave Toys. How they design, how they market and if you’ve actually picked up one of their products to play, collect or just have on a desk. I know their marketing totally works on me.