The influence of 90s slang on marketing and advertising in the 1990s

The 1990s represented a unique decade of cultural evolution, marked by iconic music, vibrant fashion trends, and the spawn of the internet.

But beyond these notable aspects, the 90s also had an impact on language, with the emergence of slang and phrases that became deeply ingrained in pop culture. 

This unique vernacular didn’t just linger within everyday conversations; it found its way into marketing and advertising, shaping the way brands communicated with their audiences. 

In this article, we will explore the influence of 90s slang on marketing and advertising, looking into the various ways brands tapped into this linguistic phenomenon.

Connecting with the youth

The 90s was a time when young adults and teenagers held significant cultural influence. To reach this demographic, brands needed to speak their language. 

Brands used popular slang terms like “phat,” “rad,” and “fly” into their ads and marketing collateral to resonate with younger audiences. 

By aligning themselves with the language of the youth, brands of the 90s aimed to create an authentic connection and build brand loyalty.

Creating a sense of cool

The 90s was all about being “cool”, and advertisers thrived on that concept. Incorporating slang into their campaigns allowed brands to position themselves as cool, hip, and relevant. 

Phrases like “as if,” “all that and a bag of chips,” and “talk to the hand” added an edgy, youthful appeal to advertisements. By using these terms, marketers aimed to associate their products with the desirable qualities of trendiness and coolness of the 90s.

Memorable catchphrases 

The 90s slang also revolved around catchy catch phrases that quickly became part of everyday vernacular. 

Advertisers recognized the power of these memorable 90s phrases and integrated them into their marketing campaigns. 

From Wendy’s famous “Where’s the beef?,” to “Wassup?!” by Budweiser, these 90s catchphrases not only made the ads more catchy but also extended their reach beyond the initial viewing. 

People started using these phrases in their daily lives, which inadvertently promoted the brands behind them.

Nostalgia marketing

The human emotion is one of the most effective, if not the best, marketing strategy to bank on. Also known as nostalgia marketing, triggering human emotions to reach your target audience is a known powerful marketing tool. 

In recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence of 90s-inspired products and campaigns that tap into the collective memory of the era. 

Advertisers integrate 90s slang to evoke nostalgia and create a sense of comfort and familiarity.This marketing strategy aims to connect with both the younger audience fascinated by the decade’s cultural legacy and the older generation who experienced the 90s firsthand.

Internet slang

With the birth of the internet in the 90s, the doors opened wide for internet slang. 

Abbreviations like “BRB” (be right back), “LOL” (laugh out loud), “TTYL” (talk to you later), and “OMG” (oh my god) became ingrained in online conversations which are still used to this day. 

Advertisers recognized the significant impact of internet slang and incorporated it into their digital campaigns. By using familiar internet terms, brands aimed to be relevant and relatable to internet-savvy consumers.

90s slang and its impact on modern marketing

The influence of 90s slang on marketing and advertising has undeniably extended to the marketing and advertising industry today.

The lasting impact of 90s slang can still be seen today, as internet slang and nostalgia marketing continue to shape modern advertising campaigns. 

In conclusion, even though most marketing campaigns today are focused on digital format and social media, it’s not surprising to find some 90s slang used in modern ads. 

GTG, TTYL!*Got to go, talk to you later!