Pepsi, Where's My Jet? is a documentary that covers the story of one teenager's determination to claim his prize of an AV-8 Harrier II jump jet.
The military-grade jet was advertised in a Pepsi commercial as a prize for collecting 7 million points. The cola company never expected anyone to actually claim it; after all, the prize was just a joke! Or was it?
What's Pepsi, Where's My Jet About?
The tale of corporate duplicity begins with PepsiCo's campaign to promote its products via a points system. Customers were urged to collect points by purchasing Pepsi cola and exchanging their points for a variety of merchandise. You could claim sunglasses, t-shirts, bags and leather jackets.
A nationwide TV campaign accompanied the promotion, it featured all the merch you could get with points, and the TV Commerical ended with a kid arriving at school in the Harrier Jump Jet that he had claimed as a prize.
The commercial stated that the jet was available for 7 million points, but there was no disclaimer on the TV advert. Pepsi executives claimed that the prize was so obviously a joke that no disclaimer was necessary.
The Netflix documentary Pepsi, Where's my Jet? tells the story of John Leonard, an ambitious high schooler who attempted to claim the plane.
Is Pepsi, Where's My Jet Worth Watching?
Yes! It's worth watching. This is no ordinary dry documentary: it's a heart-warming story of how one teen took on the corporate giant.
The documentary takes you back to the mid-1990s and follows John's journey from collecting points to filing a lawsuit. It features interviews with PepsiCo employees, news clips from back in the day and even celebrities who appeared in Pepsi commercials at the time.
What I liked about this series is the even-handed approach it takes to the story. It looks at both sides of the argument. The most interesting aspect for me was the interviews with the creative team behind the Pepsi commercial.
How did a TV commercial for a major international brand go live without a disclaimer? It seems impossible, but that's what happened! The creative team reveal the truth behind the story.
Along with the tale of corporate shenanigans, the series also chronicles the teenager's friendship with businessman Todd Hoffman. Together they embark on a journey to fight for justice and try to claim John's prize of the Harrier Jump Jet. Ultimately it's the friendship between these two that makes this series highly watchable.
The ‘Pepsi Points' court case became a legal landmark, and this Netflix series captures the story in an entertaining and engaging way.
In short, Pepsi, Where's my Jet? is a captivating series that looks at the power of consumer culture and how one little commercial can cause so much trouble.
It makes for an entertaining watch. So if you're looking for something fun and informative to watch this weekend – give it a go!
Pepsi Number Fever Philippines
The Pepsi jet fiasco was not the only example of Pepsi’s promotional antics. In the Philippines, in 1992, a massive craze ensued over a game called “Pepsi Number Fever”.
This game involved buying Pepsi Cola to collect caps with special numbers. If the number on the cap was drawn in a daily lottery, the holders of those caps would win a big cash prize.
Unfortunately, a mix-up in the competition resulted in 500,000 people believing they had won the top prize.
Thousands of Filipinos rushed to Pepsi bottling plants to claim their prizes, and riots broke out when Pepsi refused to honour the winner's caps. The unrest even led to the death of five people, including a five-year-old girl and a school teacher.
The ‘Pepsi Number Fever' fiasco serves as a cautionary tale for companies engaging in marketing promotions. The incident highlighted the importance of being transparent with consumers and having proper regulations in place.