Back to the Future Day: Brands Who Got It Right & The Future Of Branding
Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed
Great Scott is right! Today is 30 years in the making. It is Wednesday, October 25th, 2015. Or officially Back to the Future Day. Talk about heavy, Doc.
With the major success of Force Friday recently, it’s no wonder brands everywhere are clamoring to ride the Back to the Future train (or DeLorean?).
We looked at some of the best #BacktotheFutureDay brand experiences to see what they could tell us about the future of branding.
1. Socially conscious & participation-based
In a world where we are more connected and informed than ever, authentic and effective storytelling is not just nice, but necessary. These brands intelligently used the force behind today to highlight real-world issues and even incorporated crowd participation to keep the momentum going.
- The White House announced on Twitter that they would host Google+ Hangouts and Twitter Q&A’s throughout the day with innovative scientists and technologists.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 21, 2015
- WWF uses the BTTF movement to bring attention to a very 2015 issue: animals who risk extinction.
- Toyota’s “Fueled by the Future” video brings together Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd to promote the Toyota Mirai, their version of a hydrogen-fueled car.
2. Humanized & humorous
As we talked about in this post about the Top Branding Trends of 2015, being human and funny can be a major weapon for today’s brands. In a world where we’re on the constant lookout for the next laugh or connection, it’s no wonder hilarity and humility usually coincides with virality.
- Universal Studios created this hilarious Jaws 19 parody trailer (of the laughably bad hologram that attempts to chomp on Marty).
- South West Trains reminds us to have a little fun on BFFT Day.
- This BuzzFeed article by Daniel Dalton (the person responsible for the first BTTF Day hoax back on July 5th, 2010), where he explains what it was like to accidentally dupe millions and try to apologize for it afterwards.
3. Real-time & adaptable
There are 1 billion Facebook interactions, 55 million Instagram posts, and 500 million Tweets that happen in a single day. In order to stay relevant, brands must continue to have real-time marketing that can adapt efficiently on the fly. In the world of social media and Google, it’s a hyper race to being the first and the best.
- Ikea posted assembly instructions for the famed Hoverboard (which every kid who’s ever seen Back to the Future II has longed for since).
- Royal Dutch Airlines does their riff on the “We don’t need roads” line from the movie, complete with an 80’s style outfit, Grays Sports Almanac, and the future time coordinates on the DeLorean dashboard.
— Royal Dutch Airlines (@KLM) October 21, 2015
- Skype presents their Skype 2000i pager to bring you back to the 80s.
— Skype (@Skype) October 21, 2015
4. Going beyond digital
It seems like the major trend today is making everything under the Sun as digital as possible (IoT, anybody?). But per Newton’s Third Law, for every action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction. The brands who will win in the future are the ones who remember that tangible experiences for consumers are still coveted and more appreciated than ever.
- Lyft and Verizon joined forces to gift some lucky New Yorkers with the chance to ride around in real DeLoreans.
- Tomorrow, all USA Today newspapers will be wrapped in the fictitious front page featuring Marty McFly Junior’s arrest.
- Nintendo is releasing the Wild Gunman game (seen in the 80’s style cafe) on Wii Virtual Console.
5. Tapping into nostalgia
Successful brands have always known how nostalgia and fantasy can evoke powerful responses. With the advent of the digital age though, there is now unprecedented access to the experiences of yesteryear. Subsequently, Gen X’ers and Millennials are experiencing what experts are calling “early onset nostalgia“.
- Nike releases the highly-anticipated Nike Mag sneaker (this time, complete with power lacing) to actor, Michael J. Fox.
— michaeljfox.org (@MichaelJFoxOrg) October 21, 2015
- Pepsi releases Pepsi Perfect, Marty’s soft drink of choice, in limited numbers (6,500 units at $20.15 a pop, to be exact).