It seems the fashion industry dictates the decade we live in by its latest retro-inspired designs. We see the look of the season in clothing, furnishings, accessories as well as in marketing and advertising. We’ve seen the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, but which era is trendy now?

Cole Haan is celebrating 80 Years of Reimagining with the reintroduction of the penny loafer in its latest campaign. The loafers first appeared in the 1930s and were seen again on college campuses in the 1960s. Just like the loafers, modern day pinball became an overnight hit in the depression-era ’30s reappearing in the ’60s. Today, an online Mini Cooper advertisement depicts a pinball machine with human bumpers where the ball eventually ends up rolling into the vehicle’s trunk. The circa 1960 AMC hit show Mad Men is set in the advertising world. The men’s suits have small lapels and they wear slender ties and pants, which are also the trend in today’s men’s fashion. But then we get to the ladies, where the recent return in women’s clothing of the 1920s flapper is being followed by art deco influences, yet is extending to the silver screen starlets of the 1940s. Meanwhile, Amtrak’s Art Deco Acela ads can be seen in New York’s Penn Station. Wait a moment where are we?! Women’s fashion is influenced by the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, but men’s fashion and a hit tv show are influenced by the 30’s and 60’s.  I could go on finding examples of various mediums using a variety of eras for their inspiration. But what does this mean in the world of marketing and advertising? The era used is now dependent on the audience you are trying to reach. It is defined by marketing research, advertising strategy, media planning, budgeting, creativity, writing, sourcing, branding, buying, relationships and trust. In this multi-medium world of advertising with all of its outlets, it’s hard to decipher through the clutter. Today, all eras are important. It depends on whom you are trying to reach. Long gone are the days where you can reach everyone with a single marketing message. The markets, like the mediums, have become too diverse — that is where a marketing and advertising agency comes into play. They can do the research, strategy, planning, budgeting, creativity, writing, sourcing, branding, and buying for you – all while making sure that your marketing strategy invokes the messaging appropriate for your audience.