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“Back to the Future,” one of the most iconic movie franchises of all time, is turning 30 this year and major corporations are looking to cash in on that milestone.
To add to the hype, the exact date that protagonist Marty McFly travels to the future in the second film is October 21, 2015. Many of the ad and marketing campaigns pushed out in recent weeks focus on the film’s vision of the future.
In one scene of Back to the Future Part II, Marty purchases “Pepsi Perfect,” a variety of Pepsi-Cola available in 2015. To that end, Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) is running an initiative to sell limited edition Pepsi Perfect bottles.
“The movies themselves hit a nerve in terms of resonating with fans of sci-fi but were done in a way that’s very relatable,” said Linda Lagos, Brand Marketing and Digital Director at Pepsi.
Lagos says the brand had a “how could we not?” moment regarding the opportunity to celebrate “Back to the Future.”
“Pepsi has always had its finger on the pulse of pop culture. We had a big role in the film...fans have been asking to make Pepsi Perfect come true.”
As part of the push, Pepsi established a presence at New York Comic Con. Fans were able to experience a booth inspired by “Back to the Future,” and Pepsi distributed 1,500 Pepsi Perfect bottles to attendees throughout the convention.
The company also launched a multimedia campaign to tease Pepsi Perfect, which was “targeted to super fans and the masses alike.”
The 16.9 oz. bottles will be sold for $20.15 online for one day only on October 21.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) also aimed to capitalize on the “Back to the Future” mania. Its video series, “Fueled By Everything,” promotes hydrogen fuel cell cars. The automaker’s Mirai model, which is hydrogen-powered, realizes the second film’s vision of using alternative fuels to power the time traveling vehicle.
Although the time machine in “Back to the Future” is a DeLorean that runs on converted garbage by the second film, Toyota says they are still a perfect fit.
“If you look back, the parallels between the movies and Toyota is crazy,” said Doug Coleman, Toyota’s National Vehicle Marketing & Communications Manager. “In the late 80s, Toyota was looking at the possibility of alternative fuels.”
The brand released several teaser ads for the last installment in its “Fueled by Everything” video series, one of which reunites stars of the films Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. In the teaser, Fox and Lloyd reflect on which technological advancements the second film accurately predicted. The full five-minute video dropped on October 21.
Coleman says Toyota was zeroing in on an October 2015 launch for the Mirai over a year ago, and after some internal brainstorming, realized the amazing coincidence of timing with the film’s anniversary. He added that Fox and Lloyd were eager to participate in the initiative.
While some brands were transparent ahead of time with their plans to celebrate “Back to the Future,” others stayed mum. Nike (NYSE:NKE), specifically, is a company prominently featured in the second film that fans had hoped would roll out a special initiative.
In the second film, Marty puts on a pair of self-lacing “Nike Air Mag” shoes when he arrives in 2015. Rumors have been swirling that a Nike shoe with power laces would be released this year, but the company has not divulged any information on the matter.
"We'll find out tomorrow if self-lacing shoes will be part of the future," a Nike spokesperson told FOXBusiness.com Tuesday evening.
Nike announced late Thursday that sneakers with power laces are indeed a reality.
"Today, Nike delivered a gift to Michael J. Fox introducing the innovation to the shoe’s first, and most celebrated, wearer," the company said on its website.
"But this is just the first iteration. Nike continues to test this technology across multiple sports, incorporating feedback into future game-changing footwear with unprecedented performance features that have the potential to impact athletes around the world."
The Twitter account for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research tweeted out a video of him trying on the sneakers.
Nike went on to say that the 2015 Mag is a limited edition release that will only be available by auction. All proceeds will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Nike will post full details on the auctions to Nike News and Twitter in spring 2016.
No matter the size or scope of these campaigns, the fact that they are centered on “Back to the Future” demonstrates how well the franchise continues to resonate with audiences 30 years later.
“Fans have really enjoyed speculating about what the future holds, and we are proud to show that certain things from the movie have come true,” Coleman said.
*Update includes Nike's news late Thursday.