Lindsay Lohan: The Nostalgia Trap

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At the age of 12, Lindsay Lohan made her acting debut. In the years following her success with the movie “The Parent Trap,” Lohan became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. But her success in the movie industry came to a halt in 2007 following her first arrest, according to Variety.  Lohan was arrested five more times and her career seemed to be over because people in the industry would not hire her.

“I think there’s a misconception that people still have about me and I think it’s unfortunate. Hopefully, this [my new endeavors] will change people’s perception once and for all,” Lohan said in a January 2019 interview with Variety.

Today Lohan lives in Dubai and has a new business centered on beach clubs in Greece; she also has a show on MTV chronicling her venture. Despite her questionable personal history, Lohan created a new brand from her notorious partying and people’s sentimentality has allowed her to do so. But how does one invigorate a severely damaged reputation?

One way to resurrect a brand is to “tap into nostalgia,” according to an article by Peter Daisyme of The Huffington Post. “Research has shown that nostalgia can ‘counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety,’ make us more tolerant and generous, and create a feeling of ‘social connectedness,’” he noted.  From the ashes of her old reputation, Lohan has created a new opportunity and has even begun to recruit young people to join her as the faces of the “Lohan brand.” According to the Forbes Coaching Counsel, the first step in growing personal influence is to “become a credible source,” and Lohan is creating ambassadors to do so for her. Their fresh faces combined with the whispers of Lohan’s infamous past fuel her return to the spotlight.

Lohan profits from the romanticized memories of her early career. Her rise to stardom in the 1990s and early 2000s allows her name to retain value with millennials in any circumstance. She is manipulating nostalgia to create attention for her new business ventures among the generation that watched her as children — the same generation from which she has taken her ambassadors.

Lindsay Lohan thrives in American pop culture in a time where the ability to influence others is more critical today than ever. Using a combination of fresh-faced ambassadors and controlled nostalgia, she is a human example of brand revitalization.

Cassidy Anderson is a senior at The University of Alabama. Her major is public relations with an emphasis on sports and entertainment communication management and her minor is general business. She is currently an editor/writer for Platform Magazine. She is also a graphic design intern for Crimson Tide Products, an organization that creates all of the graphics used by The University of Alabama Athletic Department. She previously worked in Minor League Baseball as well.


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