Documentaries on Netflix are a dime a dozen, but a new trailer has caught our attention. Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? chronicles a college student’s battle with the soda empire over a sweepstakes commercial that promises a customer could – in theory – win a $US23 ($32) million Harrier fighter jet, just by buying a whole bunch of Pepsi.
A 1996 Pepsi TV commercial promised if you collected 7,000,000 “Pepsi Points,” you’d win your Harrier. It was part of the marketing campaign for the “Drink Pepsi Get Stuff” initiative launched by the company at the time. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Buy enough Pepsi, get an incredibly advanced military fighter jet. Pepsi probably wasn’t expecting anyone to take up an offer like that, but one college student and his rich buddy decided to give it a go.
Seven million Pepsi points is a lot of soda – too much for any one person to drink without passing away in a very painful manner. John Leonard, our hero in this documentary, did the maths and realised he’d need to buy 1.4 million 12-packs of the soda. That would cost millions of dollars to pull off.
But the duo noticed a loophole in Pepsi’s point system. You could buy Pepsi points directly, rather than amassing them through soda purchases. That meant – in theory – the Harrier could be had for just $US700,000 ($971,740). That’s a steal when compared to the $US23 ($32) million asking price for a jet capable of vertical landing.
As you may have imagined, this saga ended in a lawsuit between the Harrier-wanters and the soda company. Pepsi contested that the ad was clearly a joke; the jet-wanters point out, correctly, that there’s no fine print claiming the Harrier offer as such. The trailer doesn’t give away who wins this battle. For that you’ll have to head over to Netflix, the doco series is streaming now. Who doesn’t love a David and Goliath story?