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Branding the Future (Part II)

Brands got a gift from the product-placement gods this week as Doc and Marty McFly come alive again in 2015, bringing with them Pepsi, Nike and Toyota’s vision of the future.

Even as The Wall Street Journal reports that marketers may be falling out of love with product placement, Wednesday, October 21, 2015 will showcase how valuable it can be, even years later. This is the date Marty McFly and Doc Brown time-travel to in the 1989 movie Back to the Future Part II—prompting umpteen playful comparisons between fictional 2015 and the real one.

Smart companies have jumped on the DeLorean time-travelling car, creating a host of clever tie-ins to capitalize on the buzz. Pepsi is offering Pepsi Perfect from the movie for real online. Toyota will launch hydrogen fuel-cell technology related (kinda) to what’s under the hood in Doc’s time machine. Lexus has already showcased an honest-to-goodness Hoverboard, and Nike has even promised to release self-tying laces.

Together, these companies have created a social-media feeding frenzy around a randomly-chosen date from a sequel that garnered lukewarm reviews and revenue, released 26 years ago. It’s sheer marketing genius, and will reflect well on the brands involved for months to come. This proves product placement can pay off today and tomorrow; how will your brand take advantage?


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