At first it might seem Toyota is a strange sponsor for an American pop culture event in the area that hosts the headquarters of the largest American automakers. But when you think about it, it just fits.
For the last three years, Toyota has embraced its Motor City Comic Con sponsorship and for the last two has shown off vehicles with a connection to popular pop culture characters. In 2014 it was a SpongeBob SquarePants Highlander and in 2015 the automaker showed off a SpongeBob SquarePants Sienna.
This year, on the 30th anniversary of the American classic Back to the Future franchise, Toyota recreated one of the stars of the movie … the Toyota truck driven by and drooled over by Marty McFly.
Self-confessed fan boy Curt McAllister, Midwest public relations manager for Toyota Motor Sales, played that role at the Comic Con. It was perhaps an act of fate that this year Lea Thompson, who played Marty’s mother, was also at the show signing autographs.
For those who don’t remember, or the three people in the world who haven’t seen the movie, here is a refresher.
In the beginning of the movie Marty longs for a Toyota SR5 4X4 pickup, but can’t afford it. After his trip to the past his life is rewritten, his family is better off and cooler, and he now owns the new truck.
Well, that truck was not at the show. Instead Toyota modified a 2016 Tacoma, complete with aftermarket accessories including the KC lights up top. The truck originally debuted on October 21, 2015 … the date Marty went to in Back to the Future II.
“We (sponsor the show) because it breathes new life into some of our marketing/pop culture-motivated specialty vehicles, such as the Back to the Future-inspired Toyota Tacoma this year,” McAllister says. “Show goers absolutely love these vehicles and it shines a cool, positive light on the brand.”
It also doesn’t hurt that the Motor City Comic Con gets more than 50,000 visitors in a unique environment over the course of three days. This year, it set a new attendance record with 64,800 visitors.
Some of those show goers had their picture taken in a pose that resembled the film’s villain Biff waxing the truck at the end of the movie as shown by Rick Bourgeise from Toyota Midwest PR.
He and McAlister admitted they were disappointed the Cubs didn’t win the World Series last year as the movie predicted. They claimed they were only a year off, and the Cubs will win this season. Now, after a draught of more than 100 years, that would be something to see.
– Photo of R2D2 stopping by the Toyota exhibit and photo of Curt McAllister and Lea Thompson courtesy of Toyota.