The ’90s are calling—or at least, the stars of that decade’s popular teen dramas are.
Baby and children’s food brand Little Spoon has recruited over a dozen celebrities who trace their fame back to the ’90s and early 2000s for a nostalgia-packed campaign targeting parents who grew up in that era of pop culture. The campaign’s main spot, for example, depicts a three-way phone conversation between Melissa Joan Hart, star of sitcom “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” (1996-2003); Jaleel White, who played beloved character Steve Urkel in “Family Matters” (1989-97); and James Van Der Beek of “Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003).
Of course, their conversation about Little Spoon’s new snacks and pre-packaged lunches is complete with corded landlines and blocky cell phones characteristic of the ’90s.
“What we really wanted to cultivate with this campaign and these products was the pure fun that came with childhood and food, like build-it-yourself lunches and different crunchy snacks that you can put on your fingers, or snacks you can twist or play with, like roll-ups,” said Caryn Wasser, Little Spoon’s chief brand officer. “There’s so much visceral nostalgia for our demo when it comes to that, and it pairs with so much of what they grew up with culturally. So, we really wanted to kind of collide that nostalgia with this new fresh take on this lunchtime category.”
Celebrity partnerships, organized by influencer agency Dialogue New York, have been Little Spoon’s primary vehicle for tapping into that nostalgia. Along with Hart, White and Van Der Beek, the brand tasked stars—such as Disney Channel darling Ashley Tisdale and Lance Bass of boy band NSYNC—with sharing Instagram Stories of their own children enjoying Little Spoon’s snacks and build-it-yourself lunches.
Here are two of the Stories, from Tisdale and Jonathan Bennett, who played Aaron in 2004’s “Mean Girls.”
The campaign, which is Little Spoon’s biggest-ever marketing push, also leans into other elements of ’90s nostalgia beyond celebrity endorsements. Little Spoon collaborated with the creators of the game Pogs—also known as “milk caps,” where players stack up decorated cardboard Pog discs—to design a pack of Little Spoon branded discs. The brand also created slap bracelets and a Magic 8 Ball keychain, both available on the Little Spoon website alongside its Pogs collection.
Little Spoon also worked with Dialogue New York to partner with over 250 macro- to micro-influencers to share content on the creators’ own TikTok and Instagram accounts and for Little Spoon to collect into its Instagram stories. These videos largely feature millennial and Gen Z creators, including Lindsey Gurk and Rocky Barnes, handing out Little Spoon snacks for their toddlers and young children to sample.
Little Spoon’s nostalgia play isn’t solely intended to remind young parents of the pop culture of their childhoods. The brand also sought to draw attention to the fact that while many of the food brands they grew up with, such as Kraft Heinz’s Lunchables, are still offered on store shelves, Little Spoon’s new products offer a healthier, more nutrient-dense twist on those childhood classics, Wasser said.
“We brought this to market with basically the tagline of, ‘All of the nostalgia and none of the junk,’” she said. “And the punch to this whole thing is that we've changed a lot since we were kids, so how is it that these are still the primary brands that sit on the shelf? Don't we feel like it's time for a fresh take for our own kids?”
The campaign, which launched earlier this month, has driven “insane” results for Little Spoon thus far, Wasser said. The brand saw its “five largest website traffic days ever” beginning on the first day of the marketing push, she said, and the campaign had a potential reach of more than 40 million consumers across its owned social posts and influencer and celebrity partnerships.