Good Ol’ Days

Mléko v pytlíku se vrátilo na pulty. I mýdlo s jelenem (, 2015)/
Bagged milk is back in shops. So is the Jelen brand soap (, 2015)


  • What are the people saying about the products from the communist era?
  • Why do you think producers and retail chains chose this kind of marketing?
  • In what other ways is nostalgia for the past manifested in society? Do you see it in your own country? Where and how?


This report from the news server from October 2015 describes customer reactions to a retail campaign at the Lidl grocery store chain that offered products with retro packaging from the communist era. 

This retail campaign exploits the fact that in the Czech Republic (as well as in Slovakia and in other post-Socialist countries), brands and products connected to the Normalisation period and the state-run economy, when the market was very limited and several brands were essentially synonymous with the given type of product, are still very popular. This popularity can be explained by the phenomenon of “Ostalgia” (the term is derived from the German words “nostalgie” and “Ost“, meaning “east”), when people fondly recall everyday life in the era of late socialism. This recollection can take many forms and is spread by various media. We can see it in film and television productions, such as the well-known German film Good Bye Lenin (2003),and in journalism and family memories (looking through old photographs, restoration of material artefacts such as furniture and clothing). An important and characteristic aspect of Ostalgia, however, is the complete de-politicisation of memory. Ostalgic memories are related almost exclusively to lifestyle and everyday matters. Of course, only an insignificant minority fondly remembers the repression or the significant restrictions of the period (such as restrictions on travel abroad). Ostalgia is therefore full of paradoxes, and tells of a past without the past, where the products of socialism serve the success of capitalist companies and are memories without political context, even though state policy is its major source (everyday life was influenced by shortages and restrictions).