Before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve and 2015 is but a memory, I’d like to take one quick look back at the day when we all had the chance to live in the Future.
Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 was the day that Marty McFly traveled to the future with Doc Brown (who had already visited the era previously some days ahead) and Jennifer in Back to the Future Part II. Anyone can declare a day for an event, but few can ever really claim an entire year to celebrate something as big as this. I pleaded for Pizza Hut and Pepsi to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but throughout the first nine months of 2015, there was nothing.
Suddenly, come October, it’s like everyone suddenly remembered — including Pepsi and Pizza Hut. While numerous theaters around the world would be celebrating the occasion with showings of the movies in various ways (more on that in a bit), Pepsi abruptly announced that they would be making the film’s Pepsi Perfect product. It was only regular Pepsi (plus real sugar) in a prop replica container, but for fans such as myself, that was enough, even at the cheeky price of $20.15 per bottle.
In the end, it was a release that so few fans ever had a hope of getting their hands on, thanks to scalpers, a crashed website, and Amazon (which said site redirected to) selling out before you could even check out, all within moments. And that was the second release — the first ended up going on sale early before Pepsi announced it, and people believe that it was people with an inside connection who were able to swoop in and scoop up as many as possible to sell for ridiculous aftermarket fees. These promotions were such a screw-up of colossal proportions that it made the news each time it happened.
Sadly, the bad press did little to sway Pepsi, as they clearly haven’t learned.
As for Nadia and I, we had booked tickets to go see both Back to the Future and Back to the Future Part II at a local cinema here in Toronto. Back to the Future Part III would wait for Saturday — our theater of choice wasn’t showing all three on “Back to the Future Day,” but they were that weekend. I ultimately decided that the first two — the second in particular — had to be seen on the day that part of it took place. I love Part III, even more every time I see it, but it would have to wait for a second excursion, which was just as well, seeing as Nadia was not willing to sit through all three movies in a row. But it had to be seen: without Part III, in my eyes, you only have two-thirds of a story.
I tend to sleep on a very awkward schedule, so that morning I was in bed reading from my phone before going to sleep when I saw it on Pepsi’s Facebook and Twitter: Pepsi Canada and Pizza Hut Canada were going to have the DeLorean time machine (a replica that, if I remember correctly, had a TimeMachineForHire.com sticker in the window) available to take pictures with at Yonge Dundas Square. What’s more, they even said that those who attend might be able to get a Pepsi Perfect!
So even though I needed sleep before the movies that night, I decided I’d never be able to live with myself if I didn’t at least try to get there and get one.
Off I went, through the rainy streets. I generally loathe any sort of wet weather, or at least being in it, and while that day was no different, I was generally more accepting of it. After all, it was raining when Doc and the gang arrived in Hill Valley on that fateful day. Fortunately for them, it didn’t last very long after they landed.
I arrived, and being a Wednesday in October, the line was longer than I had hoped yet shorter than I had expected.
The wait wasn’t too long, and Pizza Hut was even on hand to serve slices! Meanwhile, Pizza Hut Canada’s Twitter was running a scavenger hunt involving Marty on their main account and Doc on a special account created for the event. I wish I could have afforded to take part, and I still have no idea what a “Pizza Proximitor” is or even looks like, but apparently people got to keep them when they found them. And though they didn’t go all-in on the logo or packaging, they did offer a limited-time McFly Movie Meal.
One of the signs on hand said that if you post a pic of yourself with the DeLorean, you could win a Back to the Future prize pack, so I wasted no time in doing so.
As I got up to the front of the line, I asked about the Pepsi Perfects. Was I too late? It was then that I had learned the terrible truth: there were no Pepsi Perfects there. At all. The Pepsi social media team had apparently lied/been misinformed (and misinformed all of us), and even went back and edited their Facebook post to remove the erroneous info without ever acknowledging what they had done. As you can see in the comments, several of us weren’t happy with this.
Disappointment aside, I stuck around anyway because I still wanted a pic with the DeLorean. I had to wait a while, as I wanted to get the shot you see above — a sort of mirror of the movie poster, if I’m being generous with myself (which I am) — but there was some guy taking his sweet time doing some interview on the other side. So I let other people go ahead of me until I got the all clear. At least there was music from the Back to the Future soundtrack blaring through nearby speakers, so I got to rock out a little to “Power of Love.”
Sleep? I’d given up on that a while ago.
I do kind of like what I brought to this personal image, though: we’ve got a little of the 1885 with the cowboy hat and coat, some 1985 with Mario on my shirt, an Autobot symbol around my neck, and of course, the DeLorean itself, and 2015 of the movie with the backdrop (and Mr. Fusion) and our 2015 with the smartphone. Incidentally, a huge thanks to the lovely lady who allowed me to borrow her phone for the shot so she could snap the picture with my own.
Here’s another shot of the time machine, if you’re interested. If not, well, no charge.
The event wasn’t entirely devoid of Pepsi product, however. While they conned us on the coveted Pepsi Perfect bottles, they at least provided a free sample of their normal wares. I took the Pepsi Next you see above, and it’s still sitting in my fridge, waiting on me to decide whether or not I’ll drink it. I honestly kind of torn about it, even in spite of Pepsi’s treachery in all of this.
From there, I went on home and managed to get a couple of hours’ sleep before we went to the movies.
At the start of the year, I considered dressing as Marty (or Marty Jr., depending on how you want to look at it) for the entirety of 2015, but no one seemed interested. Closer to the last minute, I decided I’d at least cosplay for the movie. Amazingly, despite Halloween being just around the corner, I could not find any wild-haired mad scientist wigs anywhere. Hawaiian shirts weren’t much luck, either, so I just kept my hair down and threw on my lab coat from some previous cosplays. Ta-da.
I have to say, the movies were a great time — so great that I don’t even remember what we did for dinner afterwards, just that we went home, where I might have collapsed into bed. But at the movies, I was gripped from start to finish, as I just can’t get enough of these movies. Better still, this was my first (and so far, only) time seeing the original movie in theaters. My first was actually Back to the Future Part II, which I saw when it came out. I think I was particularly interested because of the future stuff, but I was hooked, and the novelization of that movie only hooked me further (I still have that book, I just need the other two). After that, I got caught up on the original, and made sure to see Part III when it hit theaters the next year, and I’ve been (or tried to be) on top of everything since.
I have to say, being able to relive something like that? There was something magical about the whole thing, one of those “kid again” moments, and I am so glad I got to do it.
2015 was a pretty cool year all around, but I have to say that as an enormous fan of Back to the Future, I think this day is what really made the year for me.
I hope everyone else had a great year, or even a good year, and may 2016 be even better! Until I post here again, Happy New Year!
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.