If you’re old enough to remember being chastened to “Be kind and rewind,” please continue reading. If not, go back to skateboarding or eating Tide Pods or whatever it is young people under 40 do for fun these days.
Once upon a time, Blockbuster Video boasted 9,000 stores and earned $5.9 billion in revenue. Then Netflix came along and, long story short, 8,999 of those stores closed.
Related: What Greek Mythology, Bill Gates and Blockbuster Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Turning Unknowns into Opportunities
But the last Blockbuster standing (in Bend, Oregon, specifically) is alive and well, thanks in part to a viral commercial they put on social media during the Super Bowl.
In the ad (which has a decidedly retro-1980s videotape look) a cockroach crawls along desolate streets as a dramatic voice-over starts with, “When the world ends…and the internet streams no more…”
The hilarious ad went viral, and Sandi Harding, manager of the store, told “Fox & Friends” that it has boosted sales by 200%.
With a limited budget but a limitless imagination, Sandi and her team embraced lo-fi and created this retro masterpiece for Super Bowl Sunday. “We cannot afford to spend $7 million,” she explained of the ad’s timing and budget.
Harding believes that nostalgia for the once ubiquitous brand is the driving force behind the successful ad — and her store’s financial health in general. “I think it’s great that people are nostalgic for it. It’s certainly helping us stay alive,” she said.
Harding says she gets emails all the time from superfans who have gone for far as to decorate their basements like Blockbusters. (That’s not weird at all.) And they send her vintage posters and cardboard ads to decorate her shop.
If all of this makes you long for a little Blockbuster in your life, Harding sells Blockbuster-themed sunglasses, T-shirts, and sweatshirts at bendblockbuster.com. And if you want to know what happened to Blockbuster’s business, there’s a great documentary called The Last Blockbuster, which, naturally, is streaming on Netflix.
Related: Relive the ’90s With a Sleepover at the World’s Last Blockbuster