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Coming up on Netflix …. ‘Pepsi, where’s my jet?’

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If you’re looking for your next Netflix binge watch, we have the programme for you.

“Pepsi, where’s my jet?”

OK, hear me out. Here’s the trailer (clicks through to YouTube):

The year was 1996, and the cola wars were raging. Pepsi needed something huge to compete with Coke so they rolled out their biggest campaign ever: “Pepsi Stuff” It featured a soon-to-be infamous commercial that claimed for 7,000,000 Pepsi points you could win a Harrier Jet (one of the most advanced military jets of the time).

Pepsi execs assumed the astronomical “price” of the military plane was set high enough to indicate it was a joke, but ambitious & cunning college student John Leonard saw it as a challenge. Enlisting the help (and funding) of mountaineering buddy Todd Hoffman, the 21-year old hashed out a plan to score the grandest prize of all.

What ensues is an outrageous goose chase for the infamous Harrier Jet and a legal battle with Pepsi that changed advertising forever.

It is a four part series and is available to watch from 17th November.

Comments (26)

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  • NigelthePensionerr says:

    A timely article following on from whether to “buy” points or not! The cost of Europcar compared with Budget for the same thng and whether the euro cents you get covers the extra you pay…..

  • Nick says:

    Not really the same, but it reminded me of Hoover in 1992! Or, in this case, ‘hover’! (Gets coat!).

    • tony says:

      And let’s not forget the superb piece of guerrilla marketing that took place off the back of this, where – I think it was flight centre – started offering a free hoover for every 2 flights booked to the US. Inspired.

      (Disappointed to read that the Netflix gig isn’t a “Drive to Survive” docu-drama type affair about the bitter wars between travel bloggers as they jet around the world, battling to land column inches in the Sunday Times, grab soundbites on Radio 2 and win those prized professional journalism awards – whatever the cost….)

    • AJA says:

      I remember that promo. With the Hoover promo you were supposed to get 2 free return flights to the USA in return for spending £100 on Hoover products. Ended up costing Hoover a lot of money as they thought people wouldn’t bother claiming the flight vouchers but it was way over subscribed. It was effectively seen as get two return flights to the USA for £100 and get a free vacuum cleaner. I think the flights were worth something like £600 so Hoover lost £500 for each item it sold. A marketing and reputational and financial disaster.

      • RussellH says:

        I had no idea about the Harrier promotion – maybe because I think that cola (of any sort) is one of the most disgusting things ever dreamed up, but I remember the Hoover one well and the article reminded me of it immediately.
        My cousin and her pal had a great holiday in the USA out of it.

  • Manya says:

    I’m more of a Grand Designs type of guy but watching ch4 isn’t all that fashionable nowadays.

    • AJA says:

      The only decent thing on C4 these days is the endlessly repeating Frasier which is still funny no matter how many times you watch. My favourite episode is the ski lodge farce with Niles exclaiming “I’m not gay Guy!”and Frasier lamenting “Let me get this straight, all the lust coursing through the lodge and none of it was aimed at me???”

      • RussellH says:

        That is funny? Frasier?? Really???

        Wonderful though to see some re-runs of Yes Minister/Prime Minister on BBC4. Fantastic acting and wonderful wordplay.

        • AJA says:

          I find Frasier funny, YMMV. Agree with you re Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister.

        • BSI1978 says:

          That was a great episode; Niles’ comment has to seen/read in the context of the story. He wasn’t being offensive (which would have been ridiculous given David Hyde Pierce is himself gay).

        • CarpalTravel says:

          YM/YPM has to be one of the most perfectly scripted and cast comedy TV shows, ever. I never tire of listening to the episodes.

          Is also as painfully accurate now as it was then.

      • Lady London says:

        I liked the one where Frasier, woozy from painkillers, accidentally told Daphne how keen Niles was on her.

        And Lilith was an excellent character.

    • RussellH says:

      Still probably the best TV news.

    • Charles Martel says:

      You mean watching Andrew Neil on Sundays isn’t cool?

  • The Streets says:

    For a fascinating read try Humble Pi: a Comedy of Maths Errors by Matt Parker. Picks up on how reliant we are on maths working smoothly in the background!

  • Dirtyneedlebluesky says:

    I don’t recall the promo at all despite being a fan of collecting coke/pepsi cans of that time (i wonder how much they would be worth now??) Sounds like an interesting watch but why do netflix drag these things out (i.e. trainwreck) 4 episodes seems quite an investment of time.

  • Hbommie says:

    Not a Netflix watcher, (I’m sure they are devastated) but caught the chessy one and it was rather good.

  • Lady London says:

    Interesting as Pepsi owns many different brands these days. Wonder which channels get their advertising spend.

  • John says:

    That hoover promotion! It was The Winter of 93/94. How do know this?…….Well……I was a captain for Monarch airlines at the time and we were one of the airlines contracted by Maytag (the US parent of Hoover) to help clear up the mess. In February of 94 I was on leave as we were expecting the imminent arrival of our 5th child (now a 28 year old police officer!) The phone rang as the company were short of a crew and needed someone to fly from Manchester to Orlando the following day to operate one of these ad hoc Hoover rescue flights. I agreed, as long as they flew me straight home afterwards. The flight was pretty uneventful until about 500 miles of the coast of Newfoundland, when a chime went off to indicate an incoming message on the Long range (HF) radio system. Meanwhile, at home, my daughter had decided to make a sudden arrival into the world and while my wife was waiting for the ambulance to arrive she decided to call BT’s Portishead operator and demand in what I can only assume were “assertive” terms that she be instantly connected with me in flight! I believe the operator attempted to explain to her the inherent difficulties of contacting an aircraft in flight without a whole raft of additional details and a reasonably compelling reason. Possibly, it was when she screamed “I’M HAVING A BABY!” That he was heroically motivated into the not inconsiderable task of attempting to make a connection. Some short time later my daughter was delivered by paramedics onto the kitchen floor (next to the Hoover washing machine, with a soupçon of irony!) So it came to pass that I received a message at Flight level 360 from a clearly stressed Portishead operator that “my wife was having a baby at home!” I’m not entirely sure what anybody thought I was going to do with this information at that particular point. (The Sun Newspaper erroneously but enthusiastically reported that I got on the “Tannoy” and told the passengers that “I had just become a dad!”) Anyway, it all proved to be an exciting weekend and for nearly 3 decades now I have dined out on the story of the great Hoover fiasco!

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