Toyota Reunites Doc Brown and Marty McFly to Promote Its New Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

Back to the Future's tech is real (sort of)

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In the seminal 1989 film Back to the Future II, Marty McFly and Doc Brown take a trip from the 1980s to the future date of Oct. 21, 2015. They travel in a junky DeLorean that Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, rigs to be powered by fuel cell technology.

Now, Toyota has a variation of the hydrogen fuel cell technology the film predicted. It powers the new Mirai model, and the automaker reunited Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd to promote it. 

Part of the "Fueled by Everything" campaign from Droga5, the Back to the Future II work kicks off with two teaser spots (see below), and the full five-minute video will launch on Oct. 21. With this campaign, Toyota effectively joins Pepsi and Nike in their attempts to make the future of Back to the Future II a reality (see Pepsi Perfect and, hopefully, Nike's self-lacing shoes). 

"Over the years we've had a lot of fun predicting which Back to the Future fictional 2015 technology would arrive by the real year," Fox said in a statement. 

But it's a bit different for Toyota as the brand has been working on hydrogen fuel cell technology for two decades, according to Doug Coleman, national marketing and communications manager for Toyota's advanced technology vehicles. 

"It was this really wonderful coincidence that we're bringing to market the first time, in a retail way, a new fuel cell vehicle that runs on hydrogen, and that launch date happened to be October 2015," said Coleman. "From a development point of view, there was nothing magical about that date other than that it coincided with the deployment of hydrogen fueling stations in the state of California."

And 10 months ago, when conceiving possible marketing for the new Mirai, Droga5 "recognized the amazing opportunity," said Coleman. "We realized this happy coincidence that October 2015 just happened to be this magical month in which Marty McFly and Doc Brown go back into the future."

"And then even more magical, Mr. Fusion [the fueling component of the DeLorean] from the film, uses hydrogen—but in a very different way," said Coleman. "It can be fueled by trash to create energy. Our car does effectively the same thing. We can use trash, transition that through several processes into hydrogen and ultimately fuel the Mirai." 

The Mirai has already launched in Japan. Initially in the U.S., Toyota will only roll out roughly 1,000 Mirai vehicles in California. Toyota will introduce the Mirai to the Northeast and other regions as hydrogen fueling stations are created. 


Client: Toyota Mirai

Campaign: "Fueled by Everything"


Fueled by the Future (4:45)

Clocks Teaser (0:37)

Diner Teaser (0:43)

Fueled by the Future PreRoll (0:15)

FBTF: Behind the Science (1:18)

Launch Date: Oct. 21, 2015

Agency: Droga5 NY

Creative Chairman: David Droga

Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer

Executive Creative Director: Neil Heymann

Creative Director: David Gibson

Creative Director: Nathan Lennon

Copywriter: Bryan Wolff

Art Director: Daniël Sumarna

Copywriter: Colin Lord

Art Director: Inna Kofman

Associate Design Director: Devin Croda

Designer: Indah Shillingford

Designer: Natalie Cho

Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale

Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies

Executive Broadcast Producer: Scott Chinn

Head of Interactive Production: Niklas Lindstrom

Executive Interactive Producer: Justin Durazzo

Senior Interactive Producer: Maggie Macdonald

Associate Interactive Producer: Morgan Mendel

Director of Technology: Andy Prondak

Senior Technology Lead: Joachim Do

Senior Developer: Jim Alexander

QA Engineer: Yadira Isaac

Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer

Strategy Director: Tom Haslow

Strategist: Emily Mulvey

Head of Communications Strategy: Colleen Leddy

Group Communications Strategy Director: Duncan Owen

Communications Strategist: Parks Middleton

Head of Data Strategy: Andrew Tully

Data Strategist: Anthony Khaykin

Social Media Manager: Whitney Brodribb

Group Account Director: Steven Panariello

Account Director: Bola Adekoya

Account Manager: Belle Bonar

Associate Account Manager: Leo Wong

Senior Project Manager: Anika Chowdhury

Client: Toyota

Nat'l Marketing & Communications Manager, Advanced Technology Vehicles: Doug Coleman

Vehicle Marketing & Communications Manager, Toyota Marketing Department: Nathan Kokes

National Marketing & Communications, Toyota Motor Sales: Julia Greenberg

Production Company: Caviar

Director: Jeremy Konner

DOP: Simon Thirlaway

Executive Producers: Michael Sagol, Jasper Thomlinson

Producer: Adrianne McCurrach

Editorial: Cut + Run

Editor: Georgia Dodson

Assistant Editor: Beau Dickson

Executive Producer: Rana Martin

Producer: Evyn Bruce

Post Production: MPC New York

Post Producer: Sophie Gibson

Lead Flame Artist: Alex Harding

DI Colorist: Adrian Seery


Back to the Future & Back to the Future II: Score Alan Silvestri

"Power of Love" by Huey Lewis & The News

Sound: Heard City

Mixers: Evan Mangiamele, Philip Loeb

Interactive Production Company: Resn

Quality Assurance Testing: Enzyme Testing Labs, Hook QA

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.