BuzzFeed is using pin-up girls, cigarette ads and sugary cereal from the 80’s to fill another vertical of hyper-viral content meant to titillate bored-at-work readers.
Called “Rewind,” the new BuzzFeed channel offers campy, emotional images to tap into our generation’s — well, every generation’s — fixation with the past: 1990’s boy bands, 1970’s jumpsuits, “old photos of gay couples” and so on.
“People love sharing things that make them feel nostalgic or bring them back to a different era,” explained managing editor Scott Lamb.
This year, BuzzFeed has grown into a media powerhouse, with new initiatives ranging from serious (a partnership with the New York Times (s nyt) to cover the political conventions) to the super frivolous (kittehs!). The company has also started to original break news, including this weekend’s story about Twitter’s break-up with some its partner sites.
So where does the Rewind channel fit into all of this? On one level, the retro images jive well with the site’s strategy of assembling content that is liked to be pushed across social channels like Facebook (s fb) or Twitter (BuzzFeed proposes hashtag “backintheday). But the nostalgia theme also offers myriad opportunities to attract advertisers that want to tap into the past to celebrate or reboot their brands.
Today, for instance, BuzzFeed published a “sponsored story” with its partner Furby titled “18 of your Favorite Toys from the 1990’s.” The story is consistent with other BuzzFeed fare but also gives Furby a useful vehicle to announce the return of its pocket pet (or whatever the heck Furby is/was).
The Rewind channel is the latest step in BuzzFeed’s emergence as a media juggernaut (another was last week’s purchase of social language specialist Kingfish Labs). The site obviously has a hit business model. The only questions for now are whether it can keep up its current pace without triggering more editorial issues (like this one) and which topics it will embrace next.