This week saw a watershed moment for a whole generation, the day that made everyone over the age of about 25 feel incredibly, incredibly old; for October 21st 2015 was the day Marty McFly travelled to in Back To The Future II.
We officially live in The Future.
For those of you who haven’t seen Back To The Future II, why are you wasting your time reading this? Go and watch it immediately.
If you’ve been hooked by my fabulous prose and can’t tear yourself away I’ll give you a quick run down: teenage boy gets in time machine with mad doctor, travels to the future to alter his family’s destiny. Don’t worry, he’s not surprised, he’s done it before (hence the II).
Things get weird in all three films, especially when Marty’s mum is involved, but the important thing is that he travels to 2015 and in 1989 it filled us all with hope for a far FAR off future.
I suspect the majority of people have marked this day by pondering how few of their childhood expectations have been realised; we still have to tie our own shoelaces and the nearest thing we have to a hoverboard has been banned from our streets and (ssh don’t tell anyone) makes users look frankly ridiculous.
Personally there was a tiny little bit of me even on October 20th that thought I would wake up on the 21st with cars flying past my window, but then I’ve always been an optimist.
It’s a real sign of the influence of social media and forums that “Back To The Future Day” has become an actual thing. Even five years ago some guy in the pub might have realised the date and him and his mates would have had a chuckle but now, thanks to Twitter and Reddit, the world has been watching this day with interest for months.
And where social media goes, brands will follow. There have been some really interesting approaches to the day, some of which are such a brilliant fit we would have been disappointed if they didn’t happen, and some which beg the question “just because you can jump on a trend – does that mean you should?.”
Great examples of relevant brands piggybacking on this include Pizza Express finally filling everyone’s dream and “inventing” dehydrated pizza and an absolutely inspired partnership from Pepsi and Uber giving consumers a chance to ride in the DeLorean.
With Marty McFly ordering a Pepsi Perfect in Back To The Future II it’s a natural fit for the brand to get involved in the celebrations, but one does have to wonder whether Marty was spending too much time in the DeLorean and not enough time thinking about his pension…
Perhaps reactions to these campaigns have shown us that sometimes a successful hashtag is a bit like a pair of leather trousers – bang on trend, gets everyone talking and fabulous for a lucky few but if it doesn’t suit you? Best left well alone.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to watch Jaws 19 and wonder where the years went.