This speaks to what can happen when we don’t do a reasonable check on the math. Also a good example of arbitrage.
In 1995 Pepsi ran a promotion where people could collect Pepsi Points and then trade them in for Pepsi Stuff. A T‑shirt was 75 points, sunglasses were 175 points, and there was even a leather jacket for 1,450 points. Wearing all three at once would get you some serious 1990s points.
The TV commercial where they advertised the points‑for‑stuff concept featured someone doing exactly that.
But the people making the commercial wanted to end it on some zany bit of “classic Pepsi” craziness. So wearing the T‑shirt, shades, and leather jacket, the ad protagonist flies his Harrier Jet to school. Apparently, this military aircraft could be yours for 7 million Pepsi Points.
The joke is simple enough: they took the idea behind Pepsi Points and extrapolated it until it was ridiculous. Solid comedy writing. But then they seemingly didn’t do the math. Seven million sure does sound like a big number, but I don’t think the team creating the ad bothered to run the numbers and check that it was definitely big enough.By Matt Parker