Residents in the middle of Hollywood probably felt like they accidentally drove into a time machine when they happened upon a gas station with very outdated prices. However, it wasn’t a glitch in the matrix, nor did the inflation rates we’ve been dealing with for the past few years suddenly disappear.
Instead, it can be attributed to an orchestrated backward quantum leap to help promote a new television show. Here’s what went down.
If you were in the Santa Monica Blvd. and Vine area in Los Angeles on September 14, you might have noticed that the Mobil station on that corner had a whole new look. Well, not new but familiar—cars were in a very long queue that wrapped around the block, according to Business Insider.
At just 91 cents a gallon, it makes sense that there was a 40-minute line of cars going around the block, waiting to fill up their tanks. With the national average gas price just over four times that amount at $3.69 a gallon, the lone Mobil gas station either made a listing error or it was a magical business owner looking to sprinkle a little kindness into the neighborhood.
But it turned out that neither was true. Instead, the price drop was a marketing tactic by NBC Universal. The goal was to drive excitement to its upcoming reboot of Quantum Leap.
The show is centered around a physicist who jumps through time to the past and future. And what better way to herd potential watchers than some price-saving nostalgia?
Knowing people would wait in line for as long as it took to fill up their gas tanks for the discounted price, NBC Universal used the idle time to celebrate Quantum Leap. While cars were waiting, a big screen was playing a trailer for the new series and fun trivia questions about the ‘80s.
Gas purchasers were also treated to a service that’s rare today. The gas station also wanted people to “pay like it’s 1985,” so attendants were on the ready to fill up the gas tanks so no one had to get out of the car. It’s undeniable that it was a very clever way to get attention.
Quantum Leap is set to premiere on Monday, September 19, at 10 pm EST on NBC.