John Leonard, up to no good,
Shut down by District Judge Kimba Wood.
Pardon me if I ramble, but Leonard v. PepsiCo is my favorite court case.
Now the thing of the matter that I must point out at first is that it was not pop-tops, but “Pepsi Points.” The ruling of Leonard v. PepsiCo (2nd. District Court, dated August 5, 1999; all quotations come from this ruling) tells us that the idea was to “collect ‘Pepsi Points’ from specially marked packages of Pepsi or Diet Pepsi and redeem these points for merchandise featuring the Pepsi logo.” John Leonard, Seattle resident, was among the number of Americans who viewed a commercial featuring the products. To a military sort of theme, a boy prepares for school, with various Pepsimobilia on his body. The name of product and number of points needed to obtain such appears as well. Boy appears at end of commercial landing a Harrier jet emblazoned with Pepsi logos near a schoolyard, jokingly saying, “Sure beats the bus.” HARRIER FIGHTER 7,000,000 PEPSI POINTS
And now the fun begins…
Leonard sent in 15 original Pepsi Points along with a check for $700,008.50 for additional Points (10 cents each, as per rules) and, not being fazed by the fact The Jet didn’t appear in the catalog, wrote in the item column “1 Harrier Jet.” Pepsi sent back a letter stating it was only meant to be humorous, and gave him some free product coupons to boot. Although BBDO, the agency responsible, stated “no reasonable person” would take the ad seriously, Leonard sued in the state of Florida. The case was moved to the Second District Court, since it had nothing to do with Florida (good thing, too-the Florida court found in favor of Leonard). Wood ruled that advertisements are not contracts signed between two parties and that the commerical was intended to be humorous. She also found that The Jet could not be obtained for $700,000; and its main use is for military bombing. It was also discovered the commercial was modified twice-once to change the amount of points to 700 million, and again to add “JUST KIDDING.” It’s not an offer, it’s humorous, there’s no contract between the two parties, Pepsi wins, case closed, so ordered, signed Kimba Wood.