Seven million points is quite alot of soda to consume. That never phased John Leonard. He was determined to get a free Harrier jet.
The Harrier Jet first devolved in the 1960’s as a joint project between the United States and the United Kingdom. The Harrier was later redesigned and produced by McDonnell Douglas. It had its faults but it brought about a new era of aviation with the ability to be a vertical takeoff and landing fighter jet. A Rolls Royce engine, the ability to take off vertically, the ability to carry several thousand pounds, and advanced equipment meant the jet fit a niche role in each nation’s defense. The jet isn’t cheap though. At $30M a copy, Harriers are national assets, definitely not a prize giveaway for a soda company…wait, what? Check this story.
Back in the late 90s, Pepsi positioned itself as the ‘un-cola’. The cool, hip soda company tp counter the ‘lame’, stodgy, old-people Coca-Cola company. As part of their advertising campaign, Pepsi was touting a Harrier Jet in a commercial advertisement for their “Pepsi Points” program. It was shown that one could acquire the aircraft for 7 million points. That’s quite alot of soda to consume. Here’s the commercial:
Enter John Leonard and your daily dose of aircraft humor. After some quick thinking and a little math, Leonard had intended to get himself a real Harrier jet. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go as planned. Even after he got the points, Pepsi didn’t pay up. Leonard even took Pepsico to court. He lost the case. It certainly does make for a good story and a laugh today though. Take a look at the video and see how John Leonard attempted to acquire the aircraft. If only it could be that easy… and cheap.
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