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Garage Sale Tactics: Giving Old Advertising Mediums New Use

Advertising mediums that were once all the rage are coming back around again, giving modern-day marketers new inspiration for reaching consumers.

Revolution Digital  |  July 8, 2019
Garage Sale Tactics: Giving Old Advertising Mediums New Use

Vinyl record players with Bluetooth capabilities. Instant cameras with digital storage. Retro video games in virtual reality. As the world evolves, technology evolves with it, but progress doesn’t always require a reinvention of the wheel. Sometimes we take what’s old and modernize it, and other times we find new uses for old things: Garage Sale Tactics, if you will. And advertisers are using them, too, in hopes of reaching new consumers.

Advertising mediums that were once all the rage are coming back around again, giving modern-day marketers new inspiration for reaching consumers. Kind of like that garage sale chamber pot you turned into a chic centerpiece (hey, it could happen), here’s how advertisers are turning tired channels into fresh, new opportunities for the modern consumer.

Billboards Get a Techy Upgrade
Until teleportation becomes a “thing,” traffic is inevitable, which means billboards aren’t going anywhere either. And while out-of-home (OOH) advertising has been around for decades, its evolution from static to digital is providing more opportunities for advertisers. As digital billboards become more widely available, brands are increasingly investing in programmatic buys so they can reach specific consumers, in specific locations, at specific times. So, sit back and enjoy the gridlock.

Catalogs Go from Print to Pinterest
Those big, honkin’ IKEA catalogs are about to be a thing of the past. The Swedish furniture company is bidding farewell to print. Instead, opting to create more modern, shoppable catalogs on Pinterest, “which populate through product pins in personalized user boards based on a questionnaire around item and style preferences.” We expect this to be the catalyst for more personalized catalogs to come, but really, we’re just hoping someone at IKEA can tell us the difference between a Flärdfull and a Knutstorp.

Digital-Native Brands Take on TV
With content fatigue on the rise and consumers becoming more particular about what they choose to consume, television advertising is a risk. But this past year, 125 direct-to-consumer brands spent 60% more on TV commercials than the prior year. Why? Because TV networks are sweetening the deal for these digital-native brands, who typically gravitate towards digital ads, with lower price points and new data targeting that more closely resembles digital ad buying.

Direct Mail Cuts Through the Clutter
DTC brands aren’t just placing their bets on TV advertising; they’re testing direct mail, too. Brands who usually rely heavily on digital advertising are realizing that it has its limitations and that there are consumers beyond the “feed.” Digital is crowded, but direct mail is calm; there’s less clutter (and competitors) to cut through than on digital, and with the right tactics—like mailer-specific discount codes to help inform success—it just may be worth it.

Old Print Ads Become New Again
Products change, but iconic advertising is forever. In our lifetimes, we see thousands of ads, but the best of them stay with us. Years later, we remember jingles, taglines and commercials that have left an impression on us, which is why Volkswagon is resurrecting old print ads and giving them modern updates. Despite VW’s ads uprooting their scandalous past, they’re hoping consumers will remember the trials and tribulations they’ve overcome in order to thrive today: a reinvention through revival.

So, really, when we look back at the world and how things have changed, we have just as many reinventions as we do new inventions. And a part of maintaining relevance in a crowded space means getting creative with how—and where—you’re approaching your audience. At Revolution Digital, we offer a variety of services to help our clients effectively and creatively reach their key targets. From tapping into a current channel to paving our own, we’re here to help. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to us at or fill out our Contact Us form and we’ll get back to you!

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