Over the years, we have seen many companies hold contests and sweepstakes. A common way to win a prize is to collect points, usually by buying a large quantity of whatever the product is. But what happens if a prize worth $23 million is on the table? What happens if someone actually collects enough points in order to redeem that prize?
That’s exactly what happened in 1996 when a young American man decided to take a major soda company up on their offer, and you can learn more about it in the new Netflix series Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?
The charming story of a man taking on one of the biggest brands in the world to claim his beloved *checks notes* Harrier Fighter Jet.— Netflix (@netflix) October 24, 2022
Pepsi, Where's My Jet? is coming to Netflix on November 17. pic.twitter.com/nb1iLP6wt9
The Plot of Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?
Since their foundings in the late 1800s, The Coca-Cola Company and Pepsi-Cola Company have been in serious competition, so much so that the back-and-forth between them has been referred to as the Cola Wars. The companies have employed tactics such as redesigning their bottles, creating mascots, and enlisting celebrities for endorsements. On March 28, 1996, Pepsi launched its loyalty program, Pepsi Stuff. The new slogan, “Drink Pepsi, Get Stuff,” encouraged customers to collect points on packages and cups, which then could be redeemed for prizes, mostly consisting of Pepsi merchandise.
In the same year, Pepsi aired a commercial for Pepsi Stuff in which three high school boys are sitting in front of a school building, drinking Pepsi and flipping through a Pepsi Stuff catalog. Suddenly, extreme winds disrupt an otherwise boring classroom, sending papers flying through the air. The Harrier Jet then lands next to a bicycle rack on the side of the school building, and another teenager opens the cockpit of the jet, commenting, “Sure beats the bus.” The words “HARRIER FIGHTER 7,000,000 PEPSI POINTS” appear on the screen before the commercial ends.
Then 21-year-old John Leonard of Florida saw this commercial, and with it, an opportunity to obtain his very own Harrier Jet. The AV-8 Harrier II jump jet was the prize aircraft of the United States Marine Corps at the time, and it was valued at approximately $23 million – the equivalent of $37.4 million in 2021. Not seeing a disclaimer on the supposed offer, he and his friend Todd Hoffman, an investor, did the unthinkable. Pepsi Points could be collected by purchasing products or purchased separately for $0.10 each. Leonard collected 15 points and paid for the other 699,985 points, sending a check to Pepsi in the amount of $700,008.50, including a $10 shipping and handling fee. When PepsiCo. did not provide Leonard with his very own fighter jet, he sued the company for breach of contract and fraud in 1999. The lawsuit Leonard v Pepsico, Inc., also known as the Pepsi Points Case, is the subject of Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?, and we are beyond excited to learn more about its absurdity.
The Cast of Pepsi, Where’s My Jet
Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? is directed by Andrew Renzi, who also headed Hulu’s docuseries The Curse of Von Dutch. The series mainly focuses on the story as told by John Leonard and Todd Hoffman, but it also features interviews with some of the Pepsi employees who were behind the campaign and commercial. Model Cindy Crawford makes an appearance, as well, since she was the star of many Pepsi ads.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Renzi talked about the importance of having Cindy Crawford be a part of this series, saying, “This is the person that, if we were gonna try to encapsulate what the ’90s felt like, especially when you think about young people like the John Leonards of the world, Cindy Crawford was the icon.”
When and Where Can You Watch Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?
The four-part documentary series is closer than you think and only a few days away! Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? will be available to stream on the 17th of November, exclusively on Netflix. It almost seems like every great documentary has been streaming on Netflix lately, and this one will be an interesting addition and a good change of pace from all the serial killers and murders. This will be a limited series, but here’s hoping we see more such documentaries where big conglomerations are sued for their mistakes!
Is There a Trailer for Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?
The official trailer of Pepsi, Where’s My Jet is upbeat and exciting. Usually, when people think of documentaries, they immediately think it might be boring, but we can assure you by just looking at this trailer that there won’t be a single dull moment in Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? Contests, court cases, chasing ambitions, there’s something for everyone in this upcoming documentary!
Renzi’s docuseries is one we’ve already added to our watchlist. This true story about how a 20-something took on one of the biggest corporations in the world is inspiring and, frankly, hilarious. In a way, it shows what little people can do when they have big imaginations. Between the recent nostalgia for the 1990s and the need for some levity in today’s world, Dude, Where’s My Jet? is bound to become a fast favorite of documentary fans and pop culture lovers alike.
Deepti is a prolific content writer for OpenMediaHub who specializes in movies, tv shows, and web series, along with occasional reviews. Her interests lie in watching different genres and reading comics books, although her main passion is writing for as long as she remembers.