The Comfort Curve: How Tech Companies Use Nostalgia in Advertising to Ease Us into the Future

The Comfort Curve: How Tech Companies Use Nostalgia in Advertising to Ease Us into the Future
Photo by Minh Pham / Unsplash

If you've ever noticed that fresh, cutting-edge technology sometimes feels familiar, you're not alone. Tech giants are leveraging a powerful tool as they introduce us to the future: our own past.

Why Replicate Traditional Behavior?

Humans are naturally resistant to change. Our brains are wired to choose the path of least resistance. When faced with something new, our first instinct often is to compare it with what we already know.

Tech companies understand this. When they're about to unleash groundbreaking technology into the market, they resort to replicating traditional behavior in their advertisements, making us feel "at home" with the new. It's not about making technology seem outdated; it's about reducing the initial discomfort that new tech might bring.

A Flashback to Familiarity

Remember Apple's early iPhone commercials? The phone itself was a piece of revolutionary tech. Yet, the apps they highlighted initially – a flashlight, calculator, and notepad – were all digital renditions of everyday objects. By presenting the iPhone as a device that simply digitized our everyday tools, Apple eased our transition from the analog world into the touchscreen era.

Or consider how wearable tech was introduced. Smartwatches like those from Apple and Samsung were showcased tracking fitness metrics similar to a traditional pedometer. These advertisements offered viewers a sense of familiarity, making the idea of a watch that does so much more feel less daunting.

Augmented Reality (AR) and the New 'Normal'

As AR technology emerges, tech companies face the challenge of integrating it into everyday life. Enter nostalgia-driven advertising. Remember Google Glass's early promos? Users were shown reading texts, checking the weather, and getting directions - everyday tasks, just presented in a novel way. By framing AR as simply a new method to carry out day-to-day activities, tech companies normalize the groundbreaking and make the futuristic feel familiar.

Billboards & Beyond

Drive through Silicon Valley, and you might spot billboards of people donning the latest AR glasses while reading a newspaper or sipping coffee. These juxtapositions – cutting-edge tech in everyday settings – are designed to make us think: "Hey, I could see myself doing that."


As we stand on the brink of a tech-infused future, advertisements act as our bridge, linking the known past to the exciting unknown. By weaving in familiar narratives and behaviors, tech companies ensure that we're not just ready for the future but eagerly awaiting its arrival.