#TBT Mean what you sell.
Let’s face it. We live in an era of rules and regulations. Where a joke taken literally can quickly land you in court. Sometimes it feels like a good idea can only be saved by fine print and disclaimers. But if we’re so busy being clever that we end up selling a lie, shouldn’t we be held accountable?
Do you remember the 1996 Pepsi Stuff campaign? I remember it because it was the first huge marketing splash that I was old enough to really get caught up in. Everyone was collecting those darn points.
And who can forget the commercial selling a Harrier Jet for 7,000,000 points! It was only, like, the coolest thing ever. What you may not recall is that a 21-year-old college student, John Leonard, actually “won” the jet. Well, sort of. He read in the contest rules that points could be purchased for $.10 a piece. So, he did what any amazing business student would do. He found investors to give him $700,000 — I assume promising them a return of 34 times that investment, as Harrier Jets are valued around $24 Million. He sent Pepsi a few labels and the money and waited.
The Jet never came. But a lawsuit did. Pepsi tried to get his claim ruled frivolous. When Leonard counter sued, it was eventually thrown out by the judge citing, “no objective person could reasonably have concluded that the commercial actually offered consumers a Harrier Jet.”