Back in 1996, cola giant PEPSI created a television ad (below) that became the subject of a history-making court case.

The ad was part of a campaign centered on a promotional loyalty program where customers could earn PESPSI POINTS.

These points could, in turn, be traded for physical items such as t-shirts (75 points) sunglasses (175 points) and jackets (1450 points) all branded with the Pepsi logo.

Points could be earned through the purchase of cartons of Pepsi, with labels attached to the boxes of the cartons. The campaign was the largest in Pepsi’s history to that point.

To advertise the promotion, Pepsi released a series of television commercials; one of these commercials showcased a computer-generated Pepsi-branded AV-8 Harrier II jet, manufactured by McDonell Douglas.

In what was intended as exaggerated humour, the ad showed that if you amassed seven million points, you could earn yourself a Harrier Jump Jet (worth $37 million at the time).

The promotion caught the attention of enterprising 21-year-old business student John Leonard. In place of a label, the promotion allowed Pepsi Points to be directly purchased for 10ยข per point, a detail noticed by Leonard, who convinced five investors to lend him a total of $700,000.

 Leonard sent a check for $700,008.50, and 15 labels, per promotion rules to the cola giant. The offer was refused by Pepsi, who referred to the promotion of the Harrier jet in the commercial as “fanciful” and stated its inclusion was to create a “humorous and entertaining ad”.

A protracted court case ensued. This is the subject of the Netflix documentary PEPSI, WHERE’S MY JET?

Uppercase watchable, intriguing and entertaining.

American author and screenwriter Brett Easton Ellis (born 1964) has just released his first novel in 13 years. SHARDS is a story set in the world of 1981. It centers on the hunt for a serial killer named THE TRAWLER.


3 thoughts on “PEPSI, WHERE’S MY JET?

  1. Um…wow. I do not remember that AT ALL. Where was I? 1996… I had moved back to NYC (first time was 1989-1992) and I guess I had other things on my mind! It’s vaguely familiar, though…
    What a crazy story. I would think a guy like that would have ended up running Goldman Sachs or something–not working as a park ranger! Then again, if he’s THAT smart (which he was, evidently) he probably figured out the formula to happiness, which did not lay in corporations or big business or any other “golden cage” jobs. Good for him!
    As for Brett–that gives me hope! Haha. The fact that it’s been 13 years. I guess it’s not over till the fat lady sings. (referring to my lack of prolific writing, which is an understatement and a half).
    He does like the dark topics, though, doesn’t he? Jeez, Brett, lighten up! lol
    And once again, Glen, thanks so much for the great supportive comments you left in The Chamber Mag.
    Have you joined any contests or sent in anything lately…?


  2. Hi Stacey,

    I thought the same regarding the 21 year old John Leonard, that he might go on to work for Goldman Sachs or something, but definitely NOT a park ranger!? As you say, maybe after the early years ‘grab for cash’ mindset he did find something more… what’s the word… grounded?

    Did someone ask about my recent publishing success?
    Oh goodie! I get to list them!
    Two so far for this month – (120 word micro-fiction) (600 word flash fiction)

    Unfortunately, with the 2nd link (EVERYWRITER) you won’t find my story any more. Even though it was put on there in the 2nd week of January, it’s already been replaced by someone else’s work and it appears like they have no archives.

    All my publishing history can be found at –


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh, you’ve been busy! CONGRATS!
    Hey, this won’t surprise you, but I’m not finding the first link–I don’t think. They want me to do some kind of add-on which is probably fine but I’m not thrilled about.
    Can you send me your two latest writings directly in email? I’m so so so so so sorry to be a Luddite……….! But that would be great. I always like reading your stuff.
    OR… you could repost both here, since they’re both relatively short…and maybe someone else’ll be tempted for a look-see besides me…….. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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