So the future visited by Marty McFly and Doc Brown is finally here, although we don’t yet have flying cars, rehydrating food and self-drying clothes! Nobody may use fax machines and pay phones anymore and people certainly don’t wear two ties at once, but Back To The Future Part II’s prediction of Wednesday October 21st 2015 has turned out to be surprisingly close to reality.
Scanning fingerprints for payments have recently become a thing through Apple Pay and other similar offerings and smart homes are also starting to exist. VR glasses like Microsoft’s upcoming Hololens and the Oculus Rift were all correctly predicted, as were tablets, smartwatches that tell you the weather, Skype/Facetime, drones, multi-channel TV watching, 3D movies and a cinema box office dominated by movie franchises with multiple sequels. The Chicago Cubs might even win Baseball’s World Series this year as they’re amongst the final four teams in the postseason. It’s incredible just how much the film got correct.
The film’s huge fanbase has meant that pretty much ever since the film was released back in 1989, the anticipation surrounding the October 21st 2015 date and whether the predictions would come true has been around and this has led to some companies recently acting on the product placements they had. Pepsi Perfect was the drink of choice in Back To The Future’s version of 2015 and so Pepsi recently announced that it would be selling a limited run of the drink styled in the same design as seen in the film for $20.15. At the recent New York Comic Con they gave out free bottles to anyone dressed as Marty McFly, which resulted in huge crowds of people dressed as the time traveller.
In 2011 Nike sold a limited run of shoes designed like the ones Marty wore in the film. They were sold to benefit charity, but one crucial element was missing, self-lacing. Recently, Nike announced that they were planning on selling the shoe, the Nike Air MAG, sometime in 2015 with the self-lacing element. This is heavily rumoured to be happening today and has of course created a lot of mentions on twitter, with around 14,000 retweets on a tweet to Michael J. Fox that simply says “See you tomorrow”. But whether that tweet actually has anything to do with the shoes, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Both of these products are taking advantage of the desirability and collectors value that they have for fans of the film franchise. The announcements of them generated massive social media traffic and will probably continue to in the days ahead.
But these aren’t the only example of recent marketing based around the film, Ford (whose cars were used as the basis for the ones seen in the film) recently released this tongue in cheek video promoting a ‘Flux Capacitor upgrade’ for its cars.
And Universal, the studio that made the Back To The Future franchise, have released this spoof trailer for Jaws 19, the film whose holographic shark Marty ran into in 2015 Hill Valley.
In some ways, Back To The Future Part II and the vision of the future it predicted feel like they have almost shaped the real future itself. Fans of the film have strived to make those predictions a reality and no more so than with one of the most memorable items from the film, the hoverboard. Two different companies, Hendo and Lexus, are creating their own versions of the worlds first real life hoverboard, and whilst they might not yet be to the same ability as seen in the film, they’re still a lot more cool looking in my opinion than those segways without handlebars that everyone is calling ‘hoverboards’ at the moment.
This is all a great example of how brands and companies can capitalise on product placements and the anticipation and excitement surrounding a particular date, the social media sharing and discussion of these videos and products have caused the majority of them to go viral in the run up to today. Whilst Back To The Future Part II may now be a film about the past rather than the future, there’s no reason why the last few predictions of the film couldn’t come true in the coming years. Whilst we may still need roads for now, who knows what the future will bring, now where can I preorder my hoverboard?