“Pepsi, where is my plane?”: The incredible story of John Leonard, the student who sued the company

Netflix just launched a new one documentary series called “Pepsi, where’s my plane?” Quite entertainingly, she portrays everything that led to the demand against Pepsi demanding the delivery of a fighter jet. Next, we will tell you what you need to know about this legal conflict that became famous at the time.

Pepsi is a soft drink that was created in 1893. It is produced by the PepsiCo company and is one of the most popular carbonated drinks to date, being one of Coca-Cola’s main competitors.

Despite being a multi-billion dollar company, they made a publicity mistake that would cost them dearly. The series premiered on November 17.. If you had trouble keeping up with the story, here we will explain it to you.

WHAT WAS THE PEPSI COMMERCIAL?

In 1996, PepsiCo launched a campaign known as “Pepsi Points”, which sought to encourage sales of its product. This consisted of customers being able to accumulate points by collecting drink labels with which they could redeem different products from a merchandise catalog.

For example, they might get a Pepsi logo T-shirt for 75 points, a leather jacket for 1450 points, and 175 for sunglasses.

In one of their advertisements, they made a mistake by include a fighter plane as part of the items that could be redeemed, which would cost a total of 7 million points. At no point in the commercial was it specified that this information was a joke.

This aroused the interest of John Leonard, a 21-year-old college student who set out to win the “Puntos Pesos” at any cost.

JOHN LEONARD’S STRATEGY FOR CLAIMING A FIGHTER PLANE

Technically, to get 7 million “Pepsi Points”, John Leonard would need more than 16 million cans of Pepsi, something that was practically impossible for him. However, when he called the company to inquire about his points policy, he was informed that he could also purchase them for 10 cents each.

This meant that he really only needed $700,000 to trade in a fighter jet, an unbeatable price for a million-dollar technology. However, the young student did not have that amount of money, so he turned to five investors, including Todd Hoffman, with a business proposal that convinced them to invest that amount.

Leonard sent the minimum of 15 “Pepsi Points” required by the company and a check for $700,008.05 to redeem the points.

Promotional poster for the documentary series "Pepsi, where is my plane?"  (Photo: Netflix)

Promotional poster for the documentary series “Pepsi, where is my plane?” (Photo: Netflix)

HOW DID PEPSI RESPOND TO THE LAWSUIT?

Pepsi immediately responded to Leonard’s request, enclosing the check he had sent and claiming that segment of the ad was a joke. In addition, they gave him a coupon to redeem three cases of soft drinks.

The young man with the help of his attorney, Larry Schantz. They sued PepsiCo to comply with their advertising in which they promised to deliver an AV-8 Harrier II valued at 23 million for a total of 7 million points.

Of course, the company used a whole team of lawyers to face the case and try to prove that the ad was obviously a joke, so they did not have to deliver said prize. In addition, they demanded that Leonard reimburse the cost of the company’s legal defense.

WHAT WERE JOHN LEONARD’S ARGUMENTS IN HIS LAWSUIT AGAINST PEPSICO?

For their part, John Leonard and his team had to prove that PepsiCo’s ad could be interpreted as a credible promise of a very expensive gift to customers. Cases were used in which other brands had already offered prizes such as cars, vacations and even houses.

The controversy between Pepsi and John Leonard began in 1996 (Photo: YouTube)

The controversy between Pepsi and John Leonard began in 1996 (Photo: YouTube)

WHO WON THE LAWSUIT AGAINST PEPSI THAT REQUESTED A FIGHTER PLANE?

Finally, the court, chaired by Judge Kimba Wood, and determined that the announcement was “patently a joke” and that no reasonable person would really believe they would get a fighter jet.

The but then Judge Wood’s ruling was upheld.

Although PepsiCo did not have to deliver the plane or deliver a sum of money, this would have greatly damaged its image, since it was a brand that is characterized by targeting a youthful audience, such as John Leonard. As a result, they lost a bit of their brand branding, which focused on “being cool”.

John was a young American. He was from the Pepsi generation. And that is also somewhat ironic. Pepsi wasted a great opportunity to tie this kid up and say, ‘Look, we’re going to fly you across the country in the Harrier jet for the next year, we’re going to pay you a million bucks.’ Instead of hiring lawyers and suing us, they could have done the right thing and said, ‘This guy put together the deal. He rang the bell and he gets the prize, you know?”, said Todd Hoffman, one of the investors, to .

WATCH HERE THE TRAILER OF “PEPSI, WHERE IS MY PLANE?”

TECHNICAL SHEET OF “PEPSI, WHERE IS MY PLANE?”

  • Original title: “Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?”
  • Gender: documentary series
  • Country of origin: USA
  • Address: Andrew Renzi
  • Script: Jeremiah Murphy
  • Music: Chase Deso
  • Photography: jeff louis peterman
  • Distributor: Netflix

WHAT IS “PEPSI, WHERE IS MY PLANE” ABOUT?

“Pepsi, where is my plane?” It is composed of 4 episodes. It has with Leonard Hoffman, the creative team of the advertisement and a cast of public figures, indirectly involved in the case. The production is steeped in the music and culture of the mid-nineties.

“The entertaining ‘Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?’ it not only playfully unravels the details of what went wrong, but digs deeper to get to the core of why false advertising matters. .

Leave a Comment