Back to the Future II and experiential marketing

By October 26, 2015General

“Great Scott! There must be a disturbance in the space-time continuum!”

If you have no idea what I’m on about, you are either living in a parallel universe, or have somehow escaped all the hype on social media leading up to Wednesday 21st October.

What was so significant about that date? It was the date to which Marty McFly and Doc Brown travelled in the cult time-travel movie sequel, Back To The Future II.

Die-hard fans have been waiting for this day for 26 years, and to mark the occasion; we thought we would take a look at some of the things the film got right and some of the things they missed about experiential marketing and technology in 2015.

What it got right

Wearable tech: The film oozes wearable tech, from hi-tech glasses, to police hats that flashed messages.

Marty’s future children wore headsets which made and received calls, and let them watch TV, much like Google Glass, Occulus Rift and Microsoft’s Hololens do today.

The next step will be being able to shop or buy via an augmented reality experience.

3D Displays: There’s a scene in the film where Marty walks past a billboard for Jaws 19 and a giant shark hologram leaps out at him. This may not exactly be the case today, but outdoor 3D displays are becoming more commonplace; a good example being Posterscope’s artificial intelligence-led billboard, which displayed unique ads based on how people reacted to it.

Robots: Robotics also featured highly in the film, from high-tech rubbish bins that followed pedestrians, to robot car mechanics and drones utilised by news stations.

This is not as farfetched as it may seem, as the field of robotics continues to advance in multiple industries, including marketing.

What it missed

Internet: One thing the film didn’t hint at was the internet: despite the odd video call, there was no sign of it. Think how far M arty and the Doc could have got with the help Google Maps or Siri!

Social Media: There was also no sign of social media. No 140 character updates or selfies from Marty and Doc!

Social media gives marketers a real advantage, as it enables two-way connection with an audience, on a real-time basis.

Smartphones: Despite the presence of smart glasses, there was a noticeable absence of smartphones, which we now can’t live without. The continuing rise of mobile is a force to be reckoned with, and investing in marketing intelligence of consumer’s multi-device usage will be invaluable for marketers, going forward.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on