What Is This Fake Hoverboard Company Actually Promoting?

Illustration for article titled What Is This Fake Hoverboard Company Actually Promoting?

In 1989 the director of Back to the Future II went on TV and declared that hoverboards were real. "They've been around for years, it's just that parents' groups have not let the toy manufacturers make them," Robert Zemeckis insisted. "But we got our hands on some and we put them in the movie."

This, of course, was bullshit — much like video of the new HUVr Tech brand hoverboard you may have seen floating around the internet today. It's not clear what the people behind this celebrity-saturated video are actually promoting. But it certainly isn't an actual, functioning hoverboard.

The evidence for this being a viral marketing stunt is pretty substantial, even if you ignore the impossibly difficult physics behind the contraption.


One of the supposed MIT-affiliated scientists pictured on the website is actually an actor named Nelson Cheng. Andy Baio uncovered his resume and you can watch Cheng's reel here.

Also, HuvrTech.com was registered as a domain on November 25, 2013 — less than four months ago. If this were a company that had actually developed mind-blowing, world-shaking technology, you'd think they'd plan a little further than the average advertising budget cycle.

So why are Mark Cuban, Christopher Lloyd, Tony Hawk, Billy Zane, Moby, Terrell Owens, and folks from the band Best Coast all shilling for this fake project? Only time will tell.

I've reached out to the contact email listed on their website and will keep you posted if I hear anything. In the meantime, we welcome your guesses for what they're actually promoting. If you were involved in this stunt and want to share photos or stories from the set, please email me: novak@gizmodo.com.


Update: Apparently a stylist/costume designer posted a listing for it as a Funny or Die-affiliated commercial shoot that happened in November. The listing has since been deleted but a screenshot of a cached version appears below.

Illustration for article titled What Is This Fake Hoverboard Company Actually Promoting?

Update 2: Funny or Die have now confirmed that they were behind the video.

Full disclosure: In a former life I used to help orchestrate fake marketing stunts like this.


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My dead giveaway, regardless of all of the obvious scientific impossibility, was that NONE of the guests was excited enough. Oh, sure, they were all "excited," but nobody totally lost their SHIT over it. You get a bunch of random musicians and sports stars together, people we've seen backstage or on the field getting rowdy and excited and having a good time, and then you drop a FUNCTIONING HOVERBOARD in front of them and they're all, "oh, wow, that's really cool!"? Nope. There should have been bleeped profanities, jumping up and down, slamming each other on the back and generally infectious excitement.