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No Harrier Jet for Pepsi Points 494

XDG writes "The guy who sued Pepsi for failing to deliver a Harrier jump jet after he raised money the buy the requisite amount of Pepsi points has just lost the first round of his court case. According to the judge, "no objective person could reasonably have concluded that the commercial actually offered consumers a Harrier jet." More details are at CNN. " The worse part is that Rob and I had already booked it for the flight out to LWCE.
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No Harrier Jet for Pepsi Points

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  • It's not that ridicious. Assuming pepsi sales 20 cents on every can they sell. (would have lower) 7million points is 1.4m doughts. Giving away an award (police car-crashing harrier jet) at the 6% of it's value is not that outratgous.

    Memorex keep giving away blank 10pack cd-r for free after rebate. How's that different from giving away a harrier jet. Assuming you government allow you to obtain a harrier jet and Pepsi would have to give the guy a functional jet according to the commercial (which I doubt it). Pepsi just have to buy a beat up old harrier which can barely lift the ground for 5 million or so. That's pretty good publicity stung. I'm pretty sure it will make nytimes first page. Now tell me why is this such a dumb joke everybody can see?
  • >No, clearly from context, one knows that comedians in
    >a club or on TV are telling jokes and are not to be taken seriously.

    Exactly... And from the conext of a Harrier Jet next to a Baseball cap, one knows that it is not to be taken seriously.

    The other major point you made was that PepsiCo was offering prizes, hence it was a promotion... The spot on TV is still a commercial, and I still think that companies have the right to use humour in their ad. It is unreasonable to make every promotion exclude any sort of humour... I'm just a little fed up with the amount of litigation in todays society.

    Oh well... not like we can do anything about it anyway... Thanks for the rational response though... :-)

  • So, what you are telling us is that if we show it in a commercial, we have to make available. Air freshiners have to actually turn your livingroom into a field of flowers on a bright sunny day? That if I use this soap, I'll be magically transported to Ireland to suds up under a waterfall? That if I buy these gortty tires, a little thing will come out of the ground and ask my what kind of road I want to drive on?

    NO! Get real folks, such things don't happen. It's an add gimick. I buy products based on the quality of the item, my need for the item, or the preference for the item. If all things are equal between items, I'll pick the one that has the catchy add.

    Example: I was in need of a cooler for to take to the beach. Wal-Mart had three coolerr brands. All were of the same size, all had wheels, all were the same cost, and I knew the quality was equal. What got me to buy the one I did was a little sticker on the cooler. "Think of it as a SUV for bologna sandwiches". I knew that it wasn't really an SUV, but I bought it because the company had a sense of humor. Pepsi had a sense of humor and it's being shoved in thier face by some smart-ass, snot-nosed twerp with friends who have more money than brain cells.

    All that Pepsi should have to do is to reimburse the kid for the points that the kid actually bought, not earned. I had 1300 points and didn't use them, but you don't see me suing
  • Well, perhaps he shouldn't get the jet (at least not unless they took out the missle lauchers, etc.). I *do* think, however, that it would be reasonable that he get a refund, plus a time & materials invested payback. After all, it WAS false advertising. Even if they intended it as humor, he appears to have taken it seriously.. so he shouldn't loose on the deal.

    And if a jet is unreasonable, where, exactly, does the line get drawn? What about a computer? A TerraByte disk drive? A lifetime supply of Windows operating system upgrades?
  • You are a true idiot. Apparently your brain can't comprehend humor. Are you honestly telling us all that you really thought Pepsi would give away a warplane to some schmoe who came up with that many points?
    Maybe it's time mother nature starts eliminating the stupid ones. They can start with this guy and then you. What a doofus....
  • And despite the fact that this woman un-covered a cup of scalding hot coffee she deliberately placed between her legs, you seem to sympathize with the lawyer's view, that McDonald's is responsible for her damages. (He's probably an ATLA member.)

    Pardon me if I disagree. Violently.

    Some people want their coffee at 190 F, so that they can add sugar and creamer and still have it be warm enough to taste good after sitting for a while. Sure, you get worse scalds from 190 degree coffee than 160 degree coffee; that's the tradeoff. If that's how McDonald's customers want their coffee, they should have no right to complain if they mis-handle it and hurt themselves. If you want cooler coffee, you can always buy it somewhere else.

  • Some labels are needed, like "This is poison, don't drink", but it gets stupid. Some power mowers say something to the effect of "Don't pick this up, while it is running, and try to cut your shrubs". We have to start taking some responsibility for ourselves, or the nanny-state will continue to grow.
  • You drink the beer the commercial told you to drink, what? you're not suddenly surrounded by bikini models?

    Nothing in the commercial ever makes the claim that women will appear for you. The commercial simply shows women appearing. It's a story, not a promise.

    You buy that new SUV and try to drive it to the summit of your nearest snow capped mountain, you don't make it?

    This one's admittedly a little tricker. There are several commercials of this type. One that I recall in particular has the guys on the mountain top asking each other "How are we gonna get back down?" I thought that was clever. Others have disclaimers. Still others simply show a vehicle on a mountain top, without showing it having been driven at all. I'd have to watch the whole commercial in question and then get back to you with my opinion. For the record, I don't recall ever seeing any that promised you that you could drive your SUV in that fashion. They may make you think you can do it, but unless they actually say so, they haven't crossed the line into false advertising.

    You use that shampoo, but don't achieve orgasm in the shower.

    You're way off base with this one. The commercial promises you an "organic" experience. That's "organic", not "orgasmic". Yes, there's a pun here -- the words are similar, and this is certainly not accidental. Also note that there's nothing in the commercial which states that the woman in question is having an orgasm. She's merely expressing pleasure. Finally, note that there's nothing which promises that the shampoo will cause you to have an orgasm. Maybe the woman in the commercial was having an orgasm, and maybe she wasn't -- but again, it's just a story, not a claim.

    At the risk of sounding repetitive, it's about honesty. You can deceive with illusion; you can imply; you can tempt; you can entice; you can be as creative, clever and funny as you want. But you cannot lie with impunity.

  • Howcome americans insist on putting disclaimers on everything?

    Not on everything. Only on the things that need them. You see, we have this naughty personal habit called honesty. It seems a senseless anachronism in today's fast-paced world, but we kinda like it.

    Do you people really think it's reasonable that companies should people who hurt themselves because the act stupid? McDonalds and the coffee woman comes to mind!

    That's a totally different case from the one this article discusses. One of them involves labeling laws for dangerous substances. The other involves truth in advertising. They have nothing in common!

    HTH. HAND.

  • Before teh "average person" decides to go out and raise $700k for jet, maybe he should do a little research on the product he's investing in, hmm? Do you by a car without finding out a little about it first? This guy assumed that he either A) get a jet dirt cheap so he could resell it and make a profit or B) he could sue the pants off of Pepsi for false advertising when this failed. I find it amusing that, for once, the justice system is actually displaying some common freakin' sense.
  • You would think the guy would have easily racked up $700,000 in legal fees by now. I don't know what fuels Americans penchants for lawsuits - like, what kind of justice is there to be gained?

    An important factor is that the US doesn't have "loser pays" laws. In Canada and Britain, if you tried a stunt like that, not only would you be thrown out, you'd have to pay the other guy's legal fees.

  • You use that shampoo, but don't achieve orgasm in the shower. Go sue..

    you have to do it in the middle of the road.

  • Actually, they did put a disclaimer. In the commercial, it actually said:

    Harrier Jet 7,000,000 pepsi points
    (Just Kidding)

    Although, I'd heard the commercial was different in Canada and the U.S. (I guess Pepsi Canada is a little smarter than Pepsi U.S.A. =) )

  • If you can figure out a way to make an AV-8 go supersonic (without strapping on 30 JATO rockets) i will buy you one* :)

    see aft/air-av8.html

    keep in mind that even at the harriers max ceiling at FL50 the speed of sound is still 660 mph, and the harrier is a low-level aircraft. therefore its engines are designed to have their max performance around sea level. Above that the engine is no longer performing on-design.

    btw some newer business jets can go supersonic; I don't know what kind of licenses are required, but I have seen some advertisements about them. Here is a link to a story about one of Dassault's planned a/c: psto3.htm

    this is more aircraft than I was talking about, however-- i remember seeing an article about a cessna citation-class business aircraft capable of reaching Mach 1. Anyone else see this? I think it was in a trade mag of some sort.

    * any reasonable person knows this is a joke. laugh.
  • I would drop the harrier jet and sue them for a helicopter. Just show that the commercial inferred the prize would be an aircraft of any type. He might actually get it.
  • Hey wankers, this dude has $700,000 and he's famous. I bet he's got more cash than most of us and is getting laid more than most of us. Hats off dude.
  • by Swamp ( 19020 )

    I got it slightly wrong: it was a Hawk jet (still made by BAe though), and it was four women (not two). Still, it's a nice story, David & Goliath writ very large. Read it here [].


    Moderate this moron out of exsistance . Trace the IP and DoS it.

    Don't you read *diet coke* ?

  • GIVE ME A BREAK!!! What the hell has happened to intelligence in this country? I remember this commercial very well and laughed when the kid showed up at school in a Harrier jet. I GOT THE JOKE. This 24-year-old should be taken out back nd shot. So should the rest of you dips who think he's RIGHT!! Are you all now going to say everything you see in commercials is supposed to be 100% truth? They are about grabbing your attention, making you laugh, whatever. but to think I could get a Harrier jet for drinking soda is beyond absurd. I think my parents would send me to a shrink if I acted like this jerk.
    He should be throun in jail for filing a frivolous lawsuit. And fined. And then have the judge beat him over the head with the heaviest Bible he can find. And you dopes who AGREE with him, should get in line behind him.
    Where is a plague when you need it?
  • AC go home.

    Nothing quite as futile as carrying on an argument with an AC, but I've pretty much decided to make this a /. Fri., so here goes...

    You're stupid. (oh wait, that was your argument...)

    Yea I guess we should let advertisers say pretty much anything, and then pull the "just kidding" when they have to pay up. Then we could get marketers selling all sorts of wondrous things by saying "It's faster, more stable, plays more games, and works better" when in fact they are selling smoke and mirrors. Lets put the burden of proof on the consumer, it's not like they are paying for anything right?

  • Since when is reasonability required in the law? I see unreasonable things upheld by the courts all the time.
  • You say they are prohibited by custom from advertising on TV. I take that to mean that there is nothing other than the view's of their peers that keeps them from doing it. Technically that's how it is here too. Except that there's a large number of lawyers who are just in it for a quick buck and have as little respect for their profession as the rest of the population does. These are the ones you see on TV
  • It's silly, it's ludicrous, and Pepsi's marketing department is full of idiots. At least, that's one way of looking at it.
    The other way of looking at it is this. Pepsi advertised a jet, however unrealistically, to whomever comes up with a certain number of Pepsi Points. The short sighted moron who came up with this aspect of the contest was at fault. Since he was working for Pepsi (under contract or whatever the hell), Pepsi then becomes responsible. Breach of contract. False advertising. And a slew of other things I'll never have to fight in court.
    This is going to sound hick-ish, but bear with me. When I was young my dad warned me about not being able to bite off more than you could chew. Don't pick fights with bullies much larger than yourself. And don't make promises you can't or don't intend on keeping. These are all good lessons, common sense tidbits of knowledge, but I guess an army of Super Lawyers© change all that. Bottom line, Pepsi made a promise with their ad campaign, and they owe this nimrod SOMETHING.
  • They give you a piece of paper when you try to buy the midtower system that compUSA advertises in ther flyer, huh?
  • Sure, lets argue that when they planted that flag a part of the moon became US-territory. But to say the 'the moon', i.e. all of it is US, is, to say the least, dumb. When the first person to land in, say america, planted his flag I am villing to bet no one single land would have agreed (including his own) that the entire continent was his. The planting-the-flag-makes-the-land-mine thing is restricted by geografical, or other, borders of some sort.

    Perhaps a bit long, of topic thing, but hey - the US better start understanding that they do not rule the world and everyone that walks it :)
  • No, clearly from context, one knows that comedians in a club or on TV are telling jokes and are not to be taken seriously.
    And this wasn't clear from context? I mean, did you honestly think that a Harrier Jumpjet is a reasonable promotional prize for buying Pepsi in the same way that a baseball cap or T-shirt is?

    This looks to me like a typical American combination of personal greed and stupidity.


  • This is one of the many reasons I do not subject myself to the idiocy that is television. I find it very disturbing that someone who is capable of coming up with $700,000 would also be stupid enough to think that Pepsi was really giving away a harrier jet. Of course, I still think Pepsi could be sued for violating some sort of truth in advertising law. But that is not the point. I just find it hard to believe that this is an actual event, and not some joke news item. Are people really this stupid? I need to contact this guy, I have some great ideas for other things he could do with that $700,000.

    Swamp land, Moon acreage, SPAM in space, or a big lot of virtual acreage in CyberYuga. I wonder if he would go for any of these things?

  • First, how many of you can legally bring guns to school? Why would you be allowed to land a FIGHTER in the parking lot?

    By that rationale, since that Volkswagon comercial shows the car doing all sorts of illegal maneuvers, you can't reasonably assume they're actually selling the car. Examples abound of real products being portrayed as doing unreasonable things.

    And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record. Pepsi realized they screwed up after about a week and changed the commercial. Sounds like even they knew they were in a grey area.
  • I think it would probably be the other way round.
  • by radius ( 35278 )
    no reasonable person would like they could get the jet. maybe he isn't a reasonable man, hell, who is reasonable these days... i hope he appeals on the grounds the judge was irrational.
  • The Citadel wanted the benefits of tax dollars without incurring the associated obligations. Shannon Faulkner made sure that if women were going to pay for the Citadel, that women could attend.

  • That was not a joke, but Hoover assumed that most buyers would not take up the offer (because of restrictions on the flights, I think). In fact, large numbers of people bought Hoover appliances mainly so that they could get the free flights!
  • he should lose all rights associated with maturity and intelligence such as voting, drinking, etc.

    Hey, cool! So, like, those of us with above-average IQs get extra votes? All right! How do I go about registering to get my extra votes?

    Old people get more votes, too? Excellent! I'm 29 now, and I get 1 vote. So, when I'm 58, I should get two votes! This rocks!

    You're absolutely wrong. The right to vote is guaranteed to all citizens 18 years of age or older. It's in the Constitution (the age limit having been lowered to 18 in a recent amendment). The right to drink alcohol is also guaranteed (the US government tried prohibition for a while, discovered that it led to an incredible increase in crime, and then changed back). The drinking age is 21 in most states because they've been blackmailed by federal money -- before that, many states (including Ohio, where I live) had lower drinking ages (18 in Ohio's case).

    There are no rights which are granted based on maturity, although you do gain some rights with age. Additionally, there are absolutely no rights awarded based on intelligence.

    (I'm obviously discussing only the USA. Other countries may or may not have such rights -- I wouldn't know.)

    he's obviously just looking for a quick buck

    I fail to see the problem.

  • You said it. "The whole thing is basically a scam..."

    But what you write about the guy playing by the rules PEPSI set up, we say about the Pepsi for making contest rules then refusing to abide by them.

    I got a couple t-shirts and a gym bag from the same promotion. It also took many months, as I recall. But nevertheless Pepsi honored its promotion.

    What about the expensive jackets? Had I sent in a check for $100+ for a jacket, wouldn't I have a reasonable expectation of getting that jacket? I don't know anyone who got one, but neither do I know anyone who *didn't* despite meeting the terms of the offer.

    So what's different about the Harrier jet? The ads treated it in a humorous fashion, but that isn't an indication that the offer wasn't serious. The very fact that Pepsi changed the point value from 7 million to 700 million after this guy made his claim says that Pepsi recognized that the claim was not completely unreasonable.

    Why is it so unreasonable for him to take up Pepsi on what appears to be a bona fide offer?

    To tell you the truth, Pepsi is getting a lot of negative PR from this mess. It could have offered to quietly settle the case for under $2M, enough to make the investors happy enough to back out of the suit, but instead they're trying to go back on their word. I see little difference between this and Microsoft vaporware.

    (Could Pepsi had made a reasonable offer that the investors refused? I doubt it, since this was such a speculative investment to begin with. Better to accept a 100% return than gamble that a court won't uphold a 2000% return.)
  • That's absolutely untrue. She sued to get in with every intention of going, but dropped out because she was ostracized and couldn't handle the additional social isolation of being the sole female (at the time) over the standard rigors of Citadel training.
  • False advertising.

    You're kidding, right?

    Just like any negative statement about a person that is obviously false and satirical is not libel, any promise in advertising that is obviously false and satirical is not false advertising.

    I am sure it is obvious to you that pepsi isn't in the business of giving away warplanes with the capacity to bomb and strafe small countries. :)

  • I don't think that it's reasonable for the guy to own a harrier jet any more that it would be for an individual to own field artillery or air to air missiles.

    However, Pepsi should be forced to compensate the person with something of equivalent value to the advertised jet. They have made a promise, they screwed up the amounts and now they have to pay up. Tough. They should be careful about promising things.

    The only other possible settlement would be for Pepsi not to have to pay the man but to be severly fined for false advertising. Pepsi presumably gained increased sales by having the jet in the advert so it should be fined to nullify this gain and discourage this sort of lying in the future.

  • Applying your standard, any add that uses humor is misleading and should be banned. What, if I let my dog eat tacos he's going to turn into a hideous, but bi-lingual, abomination? Clearly misleading! We have to enact a law to protect people from this sort of "advertising". While we're at it, why not make beepers available to the general population to remind them to breathe every second or two?
  • >you seem to sympathize with the lawyer's view

    Hardly. I never said that. I was originally arguing the point that someone sued McD because they were stupid and spilled hot coffee on themselves. I agree that most people have the good sense to keep something as hot as coffee away from their crotch. She didn't sue for millions, she tried to get compensation for medical expenses. The jury was pissed that McD seemed to not even care that they had 700 other complaints of injuries and were unwilling to do anything for a 79 yr old woman wo was obviously injured beyond a simple coffee burn 'scald' (did you read the link, she had to be hospitalized?).

    McDonalds' supposed motivation for using a higher temp was not so sugar would dissolve, it was to make more money on coffee by stretching the grounds. I'm not defending the lawyer. I don't think the woman who had 3rd degree burns and was hospitalized was 'stupid' for trying to get medical expenses reimbursed from Mickey D's.

    I like my coffee hot and I keep it away from my package. But, I would be pissed if my mom had to have surgery because a large company wanted to squeeze every cent out of a cup of coffee at the expense of reasonable safety (I'm sorry, coffee should be hot enough to blister my tongue, not dissolve the muscles in my leg) and then the bastards wouldn't make even a token settlement offer. That's what is stupid. When you deal with the public like a large company as this does, you have to be a little smarter than that.

    I don't care if you disagree, violently or otherwise. I just want to clarify my statement of opinion since you seemed to read things into it that I never intended.
  • Does anyone remember hearing about the two women who sneaked into the British Aerospace factory (where they make Harriers), climbed into the cockpit of a brand-new jet and smashed the dashboard up with hammers? They caused around £1,000,000 worth of damage, but when their case came to court they were let off on international human rights laws.

    They proved the jets were being shipped to Indonesia for President Suhato so that he could bomb the E. Timorean people.

    I guess Suharto should have bought some pepsi points instead!
  • It might have, if the U.S. hadn't signed the Outer Space Treaty. All the signatories of the Outer Space Treaty disavows claiming territory outsite Earth's atmosphere. The Antarctic Treaty provide a similar situation for Antarctica; in the latter case several countries had already made territorial claims which have been superceded by the Treaty.
  • You're allowed to make outrageous claims, but not unsubstanntiated claims. And keep in mind, this wasn't just a commericial, it was a contest. A commercial would say Drink Pepsi, whereas a contest states Drink pespsi if you collect enough points you can get a prize...

    Therefore, I think, Pepsi screwed up in a bigtime way. If it'd been the company i used to work for (Direct Marketing - YEP JUNK MAIL!!!), we'd have gotten nailed to the wall for something like that... But they screwed up on so many levels - advertising, the legal team, etc...

    They should be very thankful that they have the $$$ for a great legal team to bail them out of that.
  • 1. Most are -- there's little reason for the press to cover the saner folks all the time. "If it bleeds, it leads..."

    2. 'coz they figured that most people had a sense of humor?

    3. Detergents exist. It's a perfectly normal thing for a liquid to remove a *normal* stain if that's what it's advertised to do; if it's some weird chemical that was synthesized to bond with the shirt somehow, then no. E-mail programs also exist; now, if it claimed to be able to read your mail 5s after original transmission even if you were out near Bernard's Star, no. Shoes that protect your feet from stubbing or light objects falling on them, yes; shoes that save your feet if a wacko shoots them w/ a .50-cal anti-tank rifle, no.

    Corporate giveaways that deterministically reward unlimited numbers of civvies with aircraft not available to them for far less than their value don't, but it's well established for random clothing items and miscellanous trinkets to be sold at a slight premium. There's an important difference.

    4. Ads generally aren't good places for information, especially 30s spots. And heaven help us if humor flees to just the comics.
  • Okay, Pepsi meant it to be a joke, most people took it as a joke, but something like reason never stopped the US courts before, has it? You read every day about people getting money for absurd reasons, suing for absurd reasons, etc. A lot of times they win. (ie. It took 18 years before the Supreme Court finally judged and outlaw on dancing to be unconstitutional.) Pepsi could have easily said 70 billion pepsi points, and who ever spent 7 billion dollars on Pepsi could have the jet. If not knowing the law does not stop you from being prosecuted, shouldn't not being careful not be an excuse not to be prosecuted?
  • This thing is 50 points.

    This thing is 100 points.

    This thing is 250 points.

    This thing is 7,000,000 points.

    (Did you catch the joke? I missed it)

    If you're trying to get someone's attention in our over advertised state you have to go over the edge, giving away a Harrier is definitely over the edge. Saying you're giving away a Harrier, and then not doing it, is trying to get the benefit without the cost, i.e. cheating.

    (Sorry to be so argumentative, but it's Friday, been a long week, and this is cheaper and more fun than therapy)

  • I'm sick of multibillion international corporation running around laying false advertisement to us. Screw Pepsi, you choose to make"hip" commercial, you should PAY for it! (What's 23 million to pepsi anyway.)
  • Uh, speaking of intelligence... The average IQ, by definition, is 100. So where'd you get that "algorithm"?

    It's like that quote: "My god! Our educational system is terrible! Half of the students are performing below the median!"
  • Actually, you win money, with which you can buy blue dots... Hey, whatever you do with the money is probably okay with Sprite.
  • While the average reasonable person isn't expected to know that a Harrier normaly sells for US$23M, the average reasonable person can be expected to know that is costs much more.

    I would have guessed US$10M. My lowball guess is still an order of magnitude higher than $700K.

    I'd suspect that when he recruited investors he advised them that the value of the jet was much higher than $700K.

    Let's assume for the sake of argument that Pepsi really was offering the Harrier. Who's gonna drink 7M bottles of Pepsi?

    Pepsi was making an absurd joke about the Harrier. Once they knew that someone was pretending to take it seriously, they amended their advertising. There no intent to make an offer on Pepsi's part. The plaintiff's raising of money for legal fees is evidence that he knew that there was no actual offer.
  • I'd hold out for the Ferrari Shumacher's not using.
  • By all the historical international laws of civilization, land was claimed by a representative planting his respective country's flag in the ground. Therefore, when the US flag was planted on the moon, that land became US territory as far as old international law is concerned. It may not be recognized as such today, however.
  • Think of the implications.

    You drink the beer the commercial told you to drink, what? you're not suddenly surrounded by bikini models? Go sue...

    You buy that new SUV and try to drive it to the summit of your nearest snow capped mountain, you don't make it? Go sue.

    You use that shampoo, but don't achieve orgasm in the shower. Go sue..
  • Yes, he shouldn't get the jet, but Pepsi shouldn't be allowed to blatantly advertise stuff like this either. I don't think the `average reasonable' person would know whether it's legal to own a Harrier jet or not. Also the idea that someone offering a $23 million jet for $700,000 is a clear indication that it's a joke is ridiculous. Firstly, the avg person does _not_ know that a Harrier is worth $23 million, maybe he thinks it's $2 million. Where do we draw the line? This judgement just says that it's fine for corporate America to put out whatever false ads they want, and nobody can do a damn thing about it.

    I don't see where you get the idea that the guy actually believed he would get the jet, anyway. Maybe he was calling Pepsi's bluff. Every time I see one of these overblown ads on TV I get the urge to do it, but I can't be bothered to get off my ass and collect the money etc to actually file a lawsuit.
  • I think I'm going to set up a Linux box and offer the person who can break into it 1 QUADRIlLLION DOLLARS* as a prize.

    * payable in $10 increments over the next 100 trillion years.
  • There are a lot of privately owned US military planes, jet or prop-driven. Foreign military planes are even more easily acquired, the Russians are willing to sell you a Su-27, arguably the best fighter aircraft on Earth, for about $10M. In case you are looking for good bargains on jet fighters; you might want to check You will see lots of people from Russia peddling flyable Migs/Sukhois. The last time I checked a Polish guy was offering non-flyable Mig-23s for $50K. A much better price for a lawn ornament. If you want something that can fly, you can buy a L-39 or heck, a flyable Mig-23 for about $100K. I can't wait until my stock options vest, and perhaps one day you can see a Mig-23 on a lawn on Sunnyvale or Cupertino and say, "hey, I know that Turkish guy, he posted at Slashdot about that!"
  • by ODiV ( 51631 )
    I should put a Harrier up for auction at eBay.

    I wonder what the consequences would be.
  • If he is stupid enough to believe Pepsi offered it, somebody should own up to the responsibility of seeing him safely isolated from society.
    Um, Pepsi did offer it. They didn't mean to offer it - but I didn't mean to type "=" instead of "==" in that buggy code I wrote. The fellow who bought all the point took advantage of Pepsi's mistake the same way a good hacker takes advantage of software misfeatures.

    In legal matters as in code, you're stuck with what you say or write, not with what you mean to say or write.

    I recall reading about a slightly similar case with the old Burma Shave company. For those who don't know, their gimmick was sets of roadside signs with advertizing poetry on them. One was "Free! Free! / A trip to Mars / For a thousand / Empty jars / -Burma Shave"

    Sure enough, someone collected a thousand empty jars. IIRC, Burma Shave ended up sending him and his family on a vacation to a city called Marz in Germany.

  • Why doesn't anyone have a sense of humor or irony anymore?
  • 103 Celsius = 217 Fahrenheit
    150 Celsius = 302 Fahrenheit

    Physics can be useful you know.... no matter what you thought in high school.
  • he called your bluff, now deal with it :)

    (can pepsi afford a harrier?)
  • Here are the "facts" of the McDonalds Coffee Lawsuit []

    I fart in your general direction. :P

  • regardless of the IQ of the person suing (as many of you pointed out, he might not be the brightest), pepsi f*cked up...when you see commertials with race cars and stunts that say "proffecional driver, don't try...". the responsible companies cover their asses against litigation. Pepsi didn''s the guy to know how much a jet costs??? even if he did, it sounded like a good deal if you had the $700K...this isn't about the jet, but about pepsi being responsible. the kid should appeal. he should have won. that would have taught pepsi a lesson... think of it as punitive damages for misleading the stupid and naive public :-)

    (maybe then they won't have enough money to pay that annoying girl with the voices in the ads...god i hate her!!!)

  • They should have given him what they REALLY used in the commercial -- a zip disk with the 3DStudio file of the Harrier.. For $700,000, I think it's well worth it! Maybe they didn't use 3DStudio, but you get the idea..
  • Applying your standard, any add that uses humor is misleading and should be banned. What, if I let my dog eat tacos he's going to turn into a hideous, but bi-lingual, abomination? Clearly misleading!

    This is _NOT_ the same thing; (I assume you're referring to the Taco Bell ads..) they don't say that YOUR dog will speak spanish after eating their product, they say that _A_ dog did (and they don't even say that.)

    Saying "this happened when we did x" is _NOT_ the same as saying "If you buy XXX of our product, we will give you XXX." The first one is a tall tale, the second is a promise.

    You couldn't take the Taco Bell people to court if your dog doesn't speak spanish, because they never said it would; pepsico said that if you accumulate 7,000,000 points, then you get a jet.

    Pepsi broke their promise, and they should have to pay.
  • Anyone who can afford it (and it is not really that expensive) can fly military aircraft.

    For example, see this site [].

  • 103?

    what are you smoking?
  • This has always bothered me. It seems that *some* laws need to be followed to the letter, others are sort of wishy washy and the judge can decide if it should be applied or not. What's the deal with this? The whole reason adds have reams of small print is to protect the companies from sillyness like this. But Pepsi screwed up, so now they should pay up.
    I agree that it is opportunistic litigation, but companies do it all the time (eg. Record companies vs. Diamond; private firms vs. AOL to find out private names; etc...), so why shouldn't individuals?
  • Whether I believe they were really going to do it or not is beside the point. They offered a plane for 7 million points and didn't give it away. Did I think so no. They should not have made a false claim in their advertising. That is what false advertising IS. Or are you too stupid to comprehend that. Whats the difference if I say I'm giving away a new car for some stupid soda promotion and I don't follow through? Just because the cost of the Jet is considerably more then they shouldn't have to give away the prize? That is idiotic thinking. It comes down to this. If you don't want to honor your advertising claims then don't make them. End of story. And if they want to keep on doing it then the courts SHOULD rule against them. Maybe next time they'll do a better job of not bullshitting the consumer. And yes I'm a big "doofus" you fucking 3rd grader...and your a big poopyhead. I'm so offended
  • "Oh and expect several hundred bucks an hour to keep it in the air if you could get past those hurdles. Jets drink fuel like their is no tomorrow."

    My friend that is in the Navy got to fly in the back seat of an F14, and he said the fuel alone burned during his 2 hour flight was $2k. So your estimate of a few hundred dollars an hour is a bit low.

    But if someone has $700,000 to throw away without confirmation of his purchase the $1k/year fuel fee is nothing.

    This guy will probably turn and sell the Harrier to some 3rd world country for $5 mill and be in serious hot water.

  • If he got the jet, everyone with $700k would want one as well. Heck, I'll take one for that price! I could turn around and sell it for 25x that easily.
  • Okay thats like totally screwed. Oh Sure a normal person really has no need for e jet.. but don't OFFER it if yer not gonna follow your promise.

    ...and if your real estate agent accidentally writes down $15,000 instead of $150,000 as the selling price for your home, I'll demand that you sell it to me for that price too.

    Pepsi made a mistake. The only question is the cost of the consequence of that mistake. Giving the jet or cash equivalent is not a reasonable cost, especially since the guy could have checked with Pepsi that the offer was bonafide but did not -- because he expressly wanted to get to this point and win the case. He's a parasite, screw him.
  • Reminds me of that girl who sued to get into the Citadel (US Male-only military school). She was obviously not REALLY interested in going to the school, since she quit after her first day when she finally did get in.
  • Not flaming, just explaining:

    For an even number of samples, the median is the arithmetic average of the middle two samples in a sorted list. For an odd number of samples, the median is the middle value in the sorted list.

    So, in this case, the median is 50.

    The mode is the most commonly occuring value in the list. Again, this is 50.


  • I think the Harrier jet at the end of the commerical was really cool, however it shouldn't have said 7 million points on the screen. Pepsi should have written an amount of points that exceeded the retail price of the jet, like all the other Pepsi stuff. So, say they make it 240 million points. That way, either no one tries to call their bluff, or they can actually deliver on it with no complaints.

    However, the number would seem a bit extreme for a commercial :)
  • As other people have pointed out, if this guy can raise $700,000 from private investors for something this ludicrous, he can't be that stupid. So that rules out the possiblity that he is a childish little brat that doesn't get it that he can't get the jet. The other possiblity is that he knew all along (or at least pretty much all along) that you couldn't get the jet, and that it was just a joke.

    In that case, the whole thing is basically a scam. What do you think he has done with that 700 grand? There's a good possibility that he is making a pretty penny off the interest. As far as him suing Pepsi, he's trying to make a point and/or an ass of himself. I think he made his point when he filed the lawsuit in the first place. I doubt Pepsi or Marlboro or any other company that does the points thing will make such a mistake again. The only reason for continuing the suit is to try and make some more money by making an ass out of yourself.

    I'll bet you that when he went to those investors, he didn't say "I'm gonna make a 100 to 1 profit on this by selling the jet and you'll be even richer than you already are!" He probably went to them and said something along the lines of, "We can sue Pepsi for lots of money for this, so I need you to at least pretend to pony up that 700 grand, and to pay my legal fees, and we'll split the settlement and all be even richer, and who cares if we make ourselves look like noxious smelling assholes in the process!"

    Making a living by suing other people is one of the most unrespectable employments possible. More so if you're filing ludicrous lawsuits, and even more so if you're not a friggin' lawyer.
  • That lost a similar case, where the company was offering expensive holidays, etc, if you bought their merchandise. A lot of customers bought, and didn't get anything, so sued. The judge ruled there, that what was offered was offered, joke or no joke.
  • >Did he really believe that pepsi would give him a harrier jet?

    God, I hope not. I find it a little easier to beleive that he just wants to play games with Pepsi and see if he can get some kind of settlement. It's easier to imagine that this guy is independently (sp?) wealthy, has a spare $700 K and some 'lawyer friends' who have nothing better to do than mess with a huge conglomerate than to beleive some twit who is stupid enough to think that a $23 million military jet could be had by collecting Pepsi points and that this moron could actually raise 700,000.

    I remember when I first saw that ad and I got the 'joke' but I also reacted that it was kind of stupid to show a kid taking off from his lawn in a harrier, show a point value, and not have a disclaimer. I remember thinking, "I bet some idiot sues because they saw this ad and think its real". This guy might have thought the same thing and decided to go rattle someone's cage over at Pepsi hoping to get some stupid settlement.

  • Military vehicles sold to the public have to be "demilitarized" (e.g., your MIG fighter won't come with cannon or cannon mounts). I believe some vehicles, by their nature, are considered impossible to render demilitarized and can't be sold to the public.

    It's similar to the logic that allows you to buy surplus small arms (since they can be used for non-military purposes), but not surplus artillery pieces. Although it would be interesting to go deer hunting with a small cannon... :-)

    A classic example is probably tanks and perhaps armored personnel carriers. A tank can do a *lot* of damage even if it lacks a functional gun, as a rogue tank in San Diego(?) showed, and the cops find it impossible to stop. When's the last time you saw a tank for sale?

    A Harrier jet probably falls under the same restrictions. It's a fighter in active use, unlike the aircraft popular among high-tech CEOs, and on top of that it's a VTOL. The jet wash alone might be considered a weapon.
  • Wasn't saying they should give everyone a jet... this guy is the only one who tried to claim a Harrier during the period they were running that commercial, no? So give one to him and him only... everyone else missed their chance. And if they decide to advertise that they're giving away Harriers again, they might want to jack the Pepsi-point value up to 250 million or whatever...
  • B.S. Pepsi should have said specifically "this is a joke". They didn't. After I saw that commercial there was definitely some question as to whether or not it was real (No I am not an idiot, just saying "reasonable doubt", were it to apply to this case, exists). Advertisers take too many liberties in establishing their hooks, Pepsi should cough up the prize or it's cash equivelent, just for being so stupid. Expecting "Joe" to know how much a jump jet costs is ludicrous. My guess is that Pepsi has much better lawyers.

  • I beg to differ. My 80 dollar Nikes most certainly DID make me do something:

    I cried when I got the credit card statement. :)
  • If Pepsi intended this as a joke, they should either have had an asterisk and an explicit disclaimer announcing this fact, or have made the number of pepsi points be something equivalent to the cost of a jet. If they had said "get a Harrier for only 250 million pepsi points" rather than a mere 7 million, they wouldn't have had this problem.
  • I don't see what's so unreasonable about it... sure, jets are expensive, but the guy had to get seven million points for it. Anyone that dedicated deserves the thing. If Pepsi didn't want to give away a Harrier, they shouldn't have offered one. If I was them, I'd get him the jet and write it off as an advertising expense... I know if they did, I'd be buying all the Pepsi I could get my hands on next time they offered to give away a Harrier... I really want a Harrier. They rock.

    How much does a Harrier cost, anyway? And what's Pepsi's annual net?
  • Well if that is indeed what the ad says, then I agree, this guy has no case. I was under the assumption that they had listed the Harrier as a real prize, just with the assumption that nobody would actually get that many Pepsi points to be able to claim it, in which event he would have a case.
  • When a man offered a car for 3,000 bananas, and someone offered REAL bananas to him, he refused them.

    The judge ruled that what you advertise is what you sell. The man was forced to part with the car for fruit.

    The moral of the story? Jokes in advertising are fine, but don't put them in the price tag.

  • drinken? Cokeocola?

    No, you don't. Don't read much either by the looks of things...

    I believe the word "methinks" appears in a play by William Shakespeare! Though I don't think the Bard ever used "drinken" or "Cokeocola".

  • >How much does a Harrier cost, anyway?

    $23 million

    >And what's Pepsi's annual net?

    You really want to know? 1998 operating profit was about $2.5 billion.

    pepsico annual report for 1998 []

    With numbers like this, I think this guy is just yanking their chain looking for a tidy little settlement to drop down.

  • Sigh. Another reason you should not watch TV. False advertising. I think Pepsi should lose this one. There are disclaimers on *everything* these days. If Pepsi was too lazy to put one in their contest rules, they should be held liable. They made a contract with this person - now they're trying to get out? The moral of this story is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • On the one hand, I agree that no reasonable person could expect delivery of the jet since it's restricted military hardware.

    On the other hand, I'm getting very tired of the hyperbole in current ads. It seems that the current cycle of hyperbole started with the Pepsi ad promising a Harrier jet.

    I also think that the fact that the prize was a Harrier jet has muddled the judge's thinking. To draw an analogy, consider a Taco Bell ad that promised 10 tacos for $5, 100 tacos for $30, and 100,000 tacos for $1000. No reasonable person would ever buy 100k tacos, right? Wrong; it could be used as a promotion on large college campuses. (Free tacos for everyone if you come by our kiosk for information on time-share long distance calling!)

    So, while I think the first guy was a bit opportunistic, I hope that he wins the cash equivalence just so the ad agencies will be more careful about making "just possible" claims. As countless other people have pointed out, Pepsi could have chosen a different point value of the jet -- and in fact later ads did show a much higher point value.
  • Right. No "objective person" would believe that they had won the Publisher's Clearinghouse jackpot after receiving bulk-rate junk mail with a lot of "if's" in it either, but PC got sued and changed some tactics. I don't know the outcome of the suit, but this one is different. They literally said exactly how many points it takes to win a Harrier. The point total, being a very large number, was intended to sound real.

    This sounds like a simple case of Marketroid screw-up followed by Lawyerbot cover-up.
  • > Howcome americans insist on putting disclaimers on everything? Oh, that's right, your legal system sucks! ;-) In most other contries people don't even attempt these kinds of lawsuits because the jugde will laugh them out of the courtroom.

    To put it as succinctly as possible - it's because our society values money above most anything else. So as a side-effect we get large numbers of what I call the "something for nothing" crowd. That in turn causes corporations to seek a legal remedy to protect their assets, which comes in the form of excessively dense legal precidents.

    Capitalism is built on the premise that enlightened self-interest will lead to the highest possible productivity. Our legal and social systems are heavily influenced by that idea. Hence, our legal system does not "suck" any more so than your legal system sucks. It's tailored for a specific purpose.

    Now, whether you think this is right or not is another story...

  • I don't drink Pepsi. In truth, I don't drink any carbonated drink. (Of course, that's not really an important point for you to know as part of my rant).

    However, I'd like to reiterate what I've read in other comments:

    1. If you can't legally, logistically, or realistically offer something, don't
    2. Honesty should be a part of advertising. (I realize it isn't, but it should be... those scammers)
    3. If you do offer something, be aware that there is probably going to be at least _one_ person who's going to take you up on that offer. I mean, there should be. To call your bluff, if nothing else.
    4. If you do offer something wierd, whacky, or unrealistic, and you cater the thought that someone might take you up on it, make the qualifications for obtaining that something very difficult, to make it worth your while offering it, and/or to discourage people from actually taking you up on it.

    IMHO, I think the guy should be able to get his jet. I realize the ridiculous nature of the instance that he own the thing, but I also realize that, they did advertise it, and if he has met the qualifications, he should get it. It'll teach Pepsi to stop being so foolish, and hopefully other corporations will learn too. If he is restricted from obtaining such a vehicle/item, I think that some sort of prize/compensation be awarded him (although, seemingly contrary to the thought carried by this comment, I don't think he needs to be award the $73M [yes, I realize that, if he gets the jet, he'll have it anyway], b/c I don't think anyone needs $73M [yes, I also realize that many in this world have much more than $73M])
  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    And this is why companies are such tight-asses about advertising these days. It's why you see an asterik by everything even remotely intended to be amusing in advertisements. Because stupid people will sue them.

    Take Nintendo for example. I was looking at the box for the game Pokémon Snap []. As you can see, the box features the lens of the camera with various game characters around it. If you look at the back of the box, you'll see a disclaimer: "This is a game pak, not a camera".

    Well, DUH.

  • A $23M jet for $700,000. I'm sure that the IRS would be all over him for that especially if it's considered a prize.

    Even still, I'm sure that he would not be able to afford to fly the thing, with fuel, maintanence, what not.
  • I don't disagree, just wanted to point out the flaw in your McDonalds coffee example. IIRC, the McDonalds in question got repeated complaints that the coffee they served was so hot that it was melting through the styrofoam cups, and they did nothing. This woman did not spill coffee on herself because she was stupid. The coffee melted through her cup and caused 3rd degree burns on her legs. Little bit different from the "woman burns self with hot coffee, McD pays $$million" sound bite that ended up on the nightly news.
  • So, what if I had no intention of flying it? Maybe I want to use it as a lawn ornament, or sell tickets to have your picture taken sitting in the cockpit at the state fair, or sell it to an aviation museum?

    I know this is all silly, but no more silly than a company like Pepsico leaving themselves exposed to this kind of lawsuit, when there would have been really easy ways to avoid it (disclaimer, point value much greater than 7 million).

    Pepsico cleared $2.5 billion last year. They could easily shed $20 million to make this guy go away. But it creates a precedent. Plus, this is probably good free advertising for Pepsi (don't think they wouldn't cut their losses and hush this up if they thought it would really hurt them publicly).

    I bet he is left high-and-dry with something less than $700,000 worth of useless pepsi stuff. Something tells me that he won't get much continued support from his backers after this setback and Pepsi won't be much inclined to offer a settlement to avoid an appeal that may not happen. Schmuck.

  • hm, looks fine to me, the link works, thought I had HTML mode as my default anyway. i';ll check it out, thanks.

  • Hah. Nice try, but since the melting point of a styrofoam cup is about 150 degrees (IIRC) and the hottest a coffee could ever get is, ooh, maybe 103 absolute tops, it's hardly likely to be the truth now, is it?

    This a 'Merkin site, we use 'Merkin units. Find yourself a fahrenheit-celsius converter and come back.
  • Let me rebut these one at a time...

    1) Companies have a right to use humour in their commercials. Pepsi hats, jackets, bags, skateboards, etc are OBVIOUSLY not the on the same level as a FREAKIN JET. Any moron can see that. Yes. ANY MORON.

    Well, yes, except this wasn't simply a commercial. It was a promotion with points redemable for prizes. The laws tend to be strict in such cases to make it difficult for the company to say, "we were kidding". The underlying principle here is that the expense of a disclaimer in such a case is trivial to the overall cost of the promotion, so why not the disclaimer?

    2) You people are the reason people who make pet shampoo have to put warning like "Don't microwave pet to dry" and their bottles. "But it didn't say!" Hey! I got this knife, and it didn't say not to stab anyone! I'm gonna sue!

    Again, the purpose of a promotion is to give things away or offered in redemption for some premium. It is reasonable the presume that the things depicted as being given away actually will be. It would not be reasonable to presume that one could actually FLY the jet.

    3) You're supporting frivolous law suits. This man KNEW it was a joke. Do you HONESTLY BELIEVE that he thought he was going to get the plane? Hell no, he even raised money for the law suit BEFORE TRYING TO GET THE PLANE!

    Here,you may have a point. If Pepsico can show that he THOUGHT it was a joke, they can call him on it. However, I see nothing wrong in raising money for a suit to collect something that Pepsico could reasonably be expected to DENY having offered. This is not the same as thinking it was a joke, just an error in Pepsico's judgement.

    4) If you guys had your way every comedian would have to stop at the end of each joke and explain that it was just a joke.

    No, clearly from context, one knows that comedians in a club or on TV are telling jokes and are not to be taken seriously.

    5) I'm going to go sue segfault for their articles!!! Who cares if they're obviously bogus, I'm too stupid to realize it!

    Except they're not offering you anything. Pepsico was.

    6) The taco bell comercial where the dog is having a lawn sale where everything is $.39.... I mailed in $.39 for the Baby Grand piano.. I didn't get it!! LAWYER!!!

    Here there is a depiction of a lawn sale, but no indication that it is open to YOU.

    Obviously I think Pepsico goofed on this one, and should cough up the valye of the Jet, if they can't produce the jet itself.

    Oh, and regarding the lady who was too "stupid" to know not to hold a cup of coffee between her legs in a moving car... apparantly she first tried to collect medical expenses, and when McD brushed her off she sued on the grounds that the coffee was too hot to consume. Apparantly, in the state where the event took place, food and beverages sold in a restaurant must be fit for immediate consumption, and had this been the case, here burns would not have been so severe. Perhaps she was willing to risk a minor burn, but not 3rd degree burns.

  • Oh, I see what you mean, the paragraph tags have break tags in front of them, not sure how I managed to do that, maybe I hit POT mode by accident.

System restarting, wait...