Man sued Pepsi after he wasn't given $23 million fighter jet he 'won' from company
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A man who sued Pepsi for not giving him a $23 million fighter jet in the 1990s spoke out about the drama in a 2022 Netflix documentary about the case.
In that time, Pepsi introduced the concept of Pepsi Points, which were earned by buying bottles of Pepsi.
With the purchase of a fountain drink, you could get one point, a two-litre bottle would be two points, and a 12-pack would bag you five points.
These points could be redeemed on Pepsi merch items such as baseball caps (60 points) and T-shirts (80 points).
Some of the prizes were a bit harder to earn such as a mountain bike, which was thousands of Pepsi points.
But one prize that was advertised in a TV ad claimed a military-style fighter jet could be won for a staggering 7,000,000 points.
The commercial was intended as a joke by Pepsi, but there was seemingly no disclaimer from the company in the advert that the jet wasn't a real prize.
In 1995, 20-year-old student John Leonard was intent on getting enough points to obtain the jet.
Speaking in the Netflix doc Pepsi, Where's My Jet? about his ambitions, Leonard said: "I started thinking, geez, how could you actually make this work?
"But I can’t make it happen. And I have had to find a crazy partner in the deal. And luckily, I happen to know somebody that fit the bill."
Leonard's plan was a well-thought-out business where the pair would lease out the plane they had won for air shows and film shoots.
To help with this, Leonard teamed up with Todd Hoffman, a man who had considerable success in business.
But it was quite easy for Leonard to rack up the points, as after scratching his head over how he would complete the feat, he noticed in the fine print that Pepsi Points could be purchased for ten cents a pop.
So, Hoffman happily wrote the check to hit the magic jet number and sent off the points to Pepsi.
But Pepsi turned down the request, citing that the advert was a joke, and the pair were given some coupons for soda for their troubles.
But Hoffman and Leonard were not accepting it, so a full-blown trial followed.
This led to the judge ruling in Pepsi's favour, citing that no reasonable person would think the jet reward was real.
This came after Pepsi offered the duo a settlement of $750,000, which Hoffman and Leonard rejected.
"Now, sure, [I would have settled],” Leonard said, admitting in hindsight he probably should have taken the money.
“But I still get a kick out of the fact that I had the chutzpah at that time to actually come to that conclusion. Probably wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve ever made in my life.”
Pepsi, Where's My Jet? is streaming on Netflix now.