A viral video this week announced the arrival of hoverboards, floating skateboards which were first imaged in the 1980's Back to the Future trilogy. The video, however, is a hoax.
Update: As a continuing part of the hoax, Christopher Lloyd issued a sentimental video “apology” stating, “We were hoodwinked… I was blinded by my own belief,” ending with a link to Funny Or Die’s Facebook page.
The video begins with Back to the Future co-star Christopher Lloyd driving up in an iconic DeLorean, announcing the new product:
“I’m Christopher Lloyd and about 25 years ago I played Doctor Emmett Brown in the film Back to the Future II. The landmark film amongst other things introduced the concept of hoverboards to the world. Now at the time, as much as we all wanted hoverboards to be real, of course it was an impossibility. But I’m proud to announce that thanks to the clever folks at Hovertech, the technology has caught up to the concept.”
As Lloyd hands over a prototype to skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, “demonstrations” of the hoverboards are shown, allegedly shot in downtown Los Angeles in February 2014. See the full video below:
Several celebrities are shown in the video, such as Terrell Owens and Moby, who marveled at the new technology.
The video was immediately met with skepticism, but no one could agree as to why such a video was released. An “official” website, huvrtech.com includes scant details and lengthy “legal terms” with such elusive language as, “The inclusion of any products or services on this website at a particular time does not imply or warrant that these products or services will be available at any time.”
Huvrtech.com was registered on November 25, 2013
Clues to the hoax
No members of this breakthrough company were identified. It should also be noted that CNET pointed out: On the online portfolio site of Lauren Biedenharn … the most recent line of her resume reads, “Commercial: Back to the Future HUVR BOARDS.” Her employer and the producer of said commercial: comedy video Web site Funny Or Die. Her portfolio has since been “updated” to remove this entry.
Uproxx noted that the “engineer” in the video is actually an actor named Nelson Cheng.
AV Club also pointed out that cranes and harness clips could be seen in some portions of the video, as seen in the 3:28 mark of the video (screenshot below):
Notice the shadow of the crane on the white structure in the background, and clips attached to the side of the skateboarder to the right.
It isn’t clear yet what the purpose of this video is. Some believe it could be setting up an announcement for a long-awaited Back to the Future film or Tony Hawk video game. Others have suggested it could be a new product announcement, or simply an elaborate hoax by Funny or Die.
Note: After Christopher Lloyd’s video apology (linked above), it appears that the hoax may have simply been a promotional tool for Funny Or Die.
Viral video hoaxes are increasingly used to announce new products. A recent example includes the mysterious crop circles in California which ended up being related to a product announcement by NVIDIA.
What do you think of the video?
Updated March 6, 2014