And now, the most 90s thing that the 90s ever produced, aside from those AOL CDs.

August 5 is an important anniversary in the worlds of military aircraft, soft drinks, and the law.

Who knew those three things went together?

It’s the day in 1999 a court had to rule on whether a guy could use rewards points from soda to get a fighter jet.

It said he could not.

Back in 1995, Pepsi was running a rewards campaign involving Pepsi Stuff.

You bought Pepsi drinks, you got Pepsi Points, you could use Pepsi Points to buy Pepsi Stuff.

The TV commercial showed a t-shirt was worth 75 points, sunglasses 175, and a jacket 1,450 points.

Then it showed a Harrier jet, which was listed at 7,000,000 Pepsi points.

This was intended to be a joke, but a guy called John Leonard tried to take Pepsi up on that offer, and took advantage of a part of the Pepsi Stuff campaign that let people purchase Pepsi Points for 10 cents apiece.

He put $700,000 in a bank account and wrote to Pepsi, saying, I’d like to buy 7,000,000 Pepsi Points and could I have my fighter jet please.

When Pepsi said no, he went to court to say that it wasn’t his fault Pepsi offered a $20,000,000 jet for $700K in Pepsi points, he just took them up on that offer.

But the courts ruled that the ad wasn’t really offering a jet.

The court said this was evident because the commercial showed a high school student in the cockpit and had him fly the Harrier to school. How many schools, the opinion asked, are going to offer up a landing strip for a Pepsi-fueled high schooler trying to land a fighter jet so they don’t have to take the bus?

Still, Pepsi did slightly rework the ad.

There were still Pepsi Points, and there was still a fighter jet, but would-be pilots had to come up with 700 million points. Not really cost effective.

We don’t have a jet, but we do have some news that might resonate with bike enthusiasts.

Proteus contains ceramic spheres and aluminum foam, set up in such a way that if someone tried to cut into the stuff with a grinder, it would basically ruin the cutting disc before it could do any damage.

It might make for a good bike lock – or to put all our valuables underneath.

When a Man Took a Joke in a Pepsi Ad Seriously, Chaos Ensued (Lit Hub)

Proteus – new un-cuttable material promises to make bike thefts a thing of the past (Red Ferret Journal)

We don’t have jets, but we do have great rewards for our backers on Patreon