Pepsi, where’s my plane? S01E01: Entertaining but unnecessarily long
Image credits: Netflix
In the 1990s, in the United States it was possible to provide the so-called “Pepsi Points”. Those who purchased products from the Cola brand received coupons with which to purchase hats, jackets and other paraphernalia – with the company’s logo on them, of course -. In an insane advertisement — documentarian Andrew Renzi showed in the first episode just how adept Pepsi was at making funny commercials — the Cola brand pledged in 1996 that Pepsi fans could buy a Harrier fighter jet for seven million points. 20-year-old John Leonard immediately started calculating and came up with a business plan.
For several million dollars—which includes purchase and storage costs—he could accumulate points and buy the plane, which was worth $32 million at the time. Leonard finds an ally in investor Todd Hoffman. Especially if it turns out that points can also be bought for 10 cents each. The rest is history: Leonard’s foolish operation culminated in a legendary lawsuit. Because when the daredevil finally knocks on the door of a brand of cola, Leonard’s wish is not fulfilled.
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Renzi takes a big spin – with all sorts of irrelevant side turns, such as Pepsi’s history and the company’s battle with rival Coca Cola – before he really gets to the point in the first episode. This is directly the problem Pepsi, where’s my plane?: This story doesn’t fit for four episodes, and it could have been told in an hour. Although it is very interesting to watch the men of those days – Hoffman and Leonard – talk, they still have a good laugh about this episode in their lives.
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