On Oct. 21, 2015, PepsiCo delivered to fans a Pepsi product 26 years in the making: Pepsi Perfect, the real-life version of the famous soda that Marty McFly of the Back to the Future trilogy ordered when he traveled to the future in Part II. The launch date of Oct. 21 was significant; it was the date McFly made his “historic” trip to 2015.
In a press release announcing the introduction of the limited-edition bottle, Lou Arbetter, Senior Director of Marketing for PepsiCo, said: “Pepsi fans asked, and we heard them loud and clear. The Back to the Future trilogy was as big a moment in pop culture history then as it is now, 30 years later. We are excited to be part of this moment and to bring fans something only Pepsi could deliver—and there’s no need to wait—the future is now!”
The package structure was designed in-house by industrial designers in PepsiCo’s Global Design Group. As in the movie, the bottle is tall and thin, tapered near the bottom, with a large blue cap that sits flush against the bottle. The real-life version is made from PET.
According to PepsiCo Senior Design Manager Adam Waugh, some slight adjustments in the movie version bottle were required to make the real-life version functional. “For example, the taper of the movie version bottle leads to a very narrow ‘waist.’ A bottle design with a waist that narrow couldn’t be blow-moldedas it would cause a blockage in the flow of plastic to the base,” he explains. “So we had to modify the silhouette of the bottle while maintaining the critical essence of the shape. We also explored the idea of using an internal straw, which isn’t feasible for a bottled soda since it wouldn’t hold the carbonation. So there were real-life parameters that needed to be respected.”
The visual identity system was also created in-house, by the Global Design Group’s brand designers. Initially, PepsiCo created graphics that were much more contemporized than the movie version. “In the end, we pushed the design to a version that was still current aesthetically, but was reverent to the original,” says Waugh. “Most people will see the design and think it is exactly as it was from the movie.”
The limited-edition bottle also came with a collectible canister and lid made from an acrylic composite material designed to resemble the pneumatic tube that delivered Pepsi Perfect in the movie’s “retro” restaurant, Café 80’s. An influencer kit comprised a black slide-out box that references the circuits of time, displaying the moment when Doc, Marty, and Jennifer arrived in 2015.
When Pepsi Perfect launched, consumers were invited to purchase the 16.9-oz bottles containing Pepsi Made with Real Sugar online for $20.15. In addition, PepsiCo gave away a number of the 6,500 bottles it produced to attendees of New York Comic Con when they visited the Pepsi Perfect booth dressed as Marty McFly. Bottles went fast. At presstime, Pepsi Perfect bottles are selling online for up to $500.