The ’90s were really not Pepsi’s decade. In conjunction with the Crystal Pepsi debacle were two promotional contests that each ended up having disastrous consequences.
The first was in 1992, when Pepsi introduced its bottle cap lottery to the Philippines. Basically, if someone bought a bottle of Pepsi (or a Pepsi product) with the winning number on the cap, they were eligible to receive a monetary prize. It went smoothly until Pepsi mistakenly printed hundreds of thousands of winning bottle caps, resulting in way too many winners. In a bid to avoid bankruptcy, Pepsi declined to award the promised amount to the winners, which then led to violent riots in which several people were killed. Pepsi was hit with lawsuits, but somehow managed to walk away relatively unscathed.
...Until the company headed to court due to another contest-related mishap. In 1996, Pepsi launched Pepsi Stuff, a promotion in which purchases of Pepsi awarded customers “Pepsi Points” which could then be redeemed for prizes. The TV commercial explained that 75 Pepsi Points gets you a T-shirt, while jokingly adding that a cool 7 million Pepsi Points can be redeemed for a Harrier fighter jet. Since the latter was a gag, Pepsi never anticipated someone like John Leonard taking them up on it. The college student accumulated the necessary points to receive the jet and then took legal action against Pepsi when the advertised offer wasn’t honored. Although Pepsi won the case, it was a giant mess that has now been immortalized in a Netflix series.