Retromania: Next Big Thing or Same Old Story?

Fifty years ago, the French cultural theorist Roland Barthes claimed that the western world was afflicted by "neomania", an insatiable desire for new ideas, innovative forms of entertainment and the latest consumer goods. Half a century after Barthes's contentions, it is clear that contemporary society is suffering from "retromania", a constant craving for the familiar, the established, the nostalgic, the tried and tested, the glorious good old days. This chapter considers the rise of retromania in general and the characteristics of retromarketing in particular. It identifies the causes of the recent retro outbreak and presents a short case study of a prodigiously successful retro product, Harry Potter.