Did anyone get the Harrier jet from Pepsi?

November 21, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
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Did anyone get the Harrier jet from Pepsi in the Netflix docuseries Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? We answer that question and delve into the story behind it. 

The Pepsi Point case, officially known as Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc., 88 F. Supp. 2d 116, (S.D.N.Y. 1999), statement of facts 210 F.3d 88 (2d Cir. 2000), was held in the Southern District of New York in 1999. A college student, John Leonard, tried to purchase a Harrier Jet with Pepsi Points. This consisted of a marketing campaign that failed to use a disclaimer. This omission, per Leonard, was a legitimate offer. In his mind, he could purchase the military weapon for 7,000,000.

How much are 7 million Pepsi points?

You could win Pepsi points by buying Pepsi products. A young college student, John Leonard, had the plan to collect enough points to buy what an ad by the cola giant promised. For 7,000,000 Pepsi points, you could purchase a Harrier Jet and land the thing on your school property. Was this a joke? I mean, probably. However, Leonard took it seriously enough.

Leonard devised a business plan that included how much brown sugar water to buy (I don’t think Clear Pepsi was a thing yet), where to store it, and even who to hire. However, the total he came up with was 4.3 million dollars. Leonard and his investor backed out because they might fall short of their goal before the rules changed or the contest ended.

That’s when Leonard discovered you could purchase Pepsi points for .10 cents each as long as you bought a minimum of 15 points. This dropped the overhead and cost to $700,000. And that’s what Leonard and Hoffman did. They filled out the form, attached a check, and drew in their box, then check-marked it with the words “Harrier Jet” to the right.

What does John Leonard do for a living?

At the time of the Pepsi commercial, John Leonard was a college student. Today, he is 48 years old and works as a Park Ranger in Talkeetna, Alaska. He is currently married and has two children.

What is a Harriet jet?

The AV-8 Harrier II Jump Jet is a single-engine aircraft that constitutes the second generation of the Harrier family, capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing. The Harrier Jet’s well-documented function is in attacking and destroying surface and air targets, armed reconnaissance, air interdiction, and offensive and defensive anti-aircraft warfare.

Did anyone get the Harrier jet from Pepsi?

No, Pepsi refused to give Leonard and Hoffman the jet. They wisely didn’t cash the check and tried to provide the students with coupons for two free cases of Pepsi. After trying to negotiate with the pair, a lawsuit was initiated. Unfortunately, the judge sided with big business. Under the Restatement (Second) of Contracts, the commercial did not constitute a legitimate offer. It was not considered a reasonable offer because winning a multi-million-dollar jet for $700,000 was “mere puffery.” The court ruled that this fell under “the provision of the Statute of Frauds,” but state laws required a written agreement beforehand.

The kicker was the judge’s interpretation that this was a commercial “jest” and since the “notion” of going to school in such a vehicle is an “exaggerated adolescent fantasy.” They even cited, get this, schools do not offer landing spots for jets, the teenager’s attitude was dangerous about landing such a vehicle in a residential area, and the “youth” in the commercials could never land such a vehicle, let alone a car. The group appealed, but the United States Court of Appeals upheld it for the second circuit.

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