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A marketing mare for PespsiCo, now on Netflix!

Here’s a fascinating tale of a fight between a massive corporation and a teenager who just wanted his plane….

Ah yes, the ’90s: an era before smartphones, social media and the algorithm. Television advertising was hitting its stride, and celebrity endorsement had more impact on what we consumed than ever before.

Enter Pepsi and its celeb-soaked advertisements, which were considered among the most groundbreaking, culture-making commercials of their time. Still, the brand couldn’t seem to compete with Coke, which consistently outperformed Pepsi in taste tests nationwide.

That’s when Pepsi decided to do something bigger than it had ever done before — and for a brand so powerful, what could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, quite a bit.

The new docuseries Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? tells the story of Pepsi’s ambitious campaign, a multimillion-dollar fighter jet and a teenage boy who decided to take on one of the largest corporations in America.

What happened in Leonard vs PepsiCo?

The story of Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? began in 1996 with the release of an unprecedented marketing campaign in which consumers could exchange labels ripped from purchased Pepsi products for “Pepsi Stuff,” including sunglasses, leather jackets and, one ill-conceived Super Bowl commercial later, a fighter jet.

Millions of people watching at home saw the advertisement, which claimed that for only seven million Pepsi points — the equivalent of $700,000 — you could win a Harrier Jump Jet (which costs $32-million). 

Did Pepsi actually offer a Harrier Jet for 7 million points?

Pepsi executives assumed the astronomical amount of points required to obtain the jet would make it impossible for anyone to actually drink that much Pepsi and win the prize.

However, they didn’t plan for one intrepid teenager named John Leonard to figure out a catch in their over-the-top offer, and Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? tells the twisty, thrilling story of what happened when he did.

When is Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? available to watch?

Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? Is a four-part series directed by Andrew Renzi and executive produced by Andrew Renzi, Andrew Corkin, Nick Boak, Theo James, Andrew Fried, Jordan Wynn, Dane Lillegard and Sarina Roma. The series premieres on November 17.

Source: Netflix

Related reading:

Pepsi, is that an offer? How an advertising bungle became a landmark law case

The court case at the centre of Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? is one of the most-taught cases in law schools today….read more here!

Three lessons for marketers from Netflix’s “Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?”

The popular Netflix docuseries on an infamous marketing mistake should be more than just a binge watch for CMOs and creative directors….

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