For those of you who traveled to the future yesterday, it’s back to reality today. October 21st, 2015 is now officially in the past and tomorrow is once again left to the depths of our imagination. The good news is that hoverboards and flying cars may no longer be a thing of dreams, especially if you are fortunate enough to have access to an AeroMobil prototype from Slovakia. And although it’s definitely not commonplace, compost fuel (i.e. “Mr. Fusion”) certainly exists and was announced more broadly to the world in a nostalgic video from Toyota Mirai and the original cast of Back to the Future II.
When I stumbled out of bed yesterday and fired up social media, I wasn’t surprised to see countless brands using #BackToTheFutureDay as a marketing opportunity. But one in particular stood out from the pack—Lyft and their “McFly Mode,” offering customers a chance to get a 20-minute ride in a DeLorean. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my childhood icons in the Toyota Mirai spot, but amidst all of the various brands who used 10.21.15 as an opportunity to push content to the masses, I appreciated that Lyft was offering a new (albeit limited) service that people could experience and remember for a lifetime.
Great brands always have their fingers on the pulse of pop culture. Some used “Back to the Future Day” as a marketing platform, but others used it as an opportunity to connect with a passionate audience and create lasting, memorable experiences. The phrase “what’s true in life is true in marketing” certainly seems applicable here. What we experience in life changes our perceptions and deepens our relationships with people, places and things. Riding in a DeLorean, for instance, is an experience that can quickly change brand skeptics into lifelong brand ambassadors—a rare and powerful connection point every brand ultimately hopes to find with their consumers.